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49ers mailbag: What is going on with Nick Bosa? Is depth a concern for SF? Which rookie makes the biggest impact?

Marc Adams
Aug 30, 2023 at 10:05 AM--

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Last week was a wild one for the 49ers. The craziness extended into the weekend. And now that we can catch our breath, we can start to see how the 2023 San Francisco 49ers roster is taking shape.

On Tuesday, the 49ers released their roster cuts and initial 53-man roster. Some of the notable cuts included: Jack Colletto, D'Shawn Jamison, Qwuantrezz Knight, Ilm Manning, Tay Martin, Marcelino McCrary-Ball, Austin Bryant, Chris Conley, Troy Fumagalli, Kerry Hyder Jr., T.Y. McGill, Willie Snead IV, and Leroy Watson. I'm still a little shocked that Nick Zakelj made the roster, but I trust the coaching staff. Also, even though Bryant and Hyder, Jr. were cut, these moves were more procedural, according to Matt Barrows, and both players will be brought back on Wednesday.

Unfortunately for the 49ers, Carolina claimed Jamison, and Arizona claimed Manning and Keith Ismael. So these players will not be ending up on the 49ers practice squad.

The 49ers also placed Darrell Luter, Jr. on PUP, and placed four other players on IR, including rookie Cameron Latu.

Here's a look at the initial 53-man roster.

Alright, let's jump into our mailbag and see what's on your mind this week.

Which rookie do you think will make the biggest impact (aside from kicker)? - Justin W.

Since I can't choose rookie kicker, Jake Moody, I'll go with either Ji'Ayir Brown or Ronnie Bell. I would just go ahead and pick Bell, but I don't know what's going to happen with Ray-Ray McCloud and Danny Gray. So if McCloud misses any games, I might give the edge to Bell. But Brown is going to play a lot. And he's a playmaker.

It sounds like McCloud may not miss any games, or he may miss just one, so I'm going to go with Brown. But I think Bell will play. The question is, will he play more than Gray?

Will the defense need some time to adjust to the new schemes in place? - Niner Jim

Maybe a little. But I don't expect Steve Wilks to venture too far away from what the 49ers have done in recent years. I'm sure he's leaned on his defensive assistants to help him stay true to what has made this defense so great. And Wilks is a respected defensive coach and leader. I think he'll be fine. Maybe he'll blitz more, but I don't think that will be much of an adjustment for the players.

The biggest concern for Wilks has to be number 97, who still hasn't signed his new contract. Speaking of which...

What the heck is going on with Nick Bosa, and why is Lynch not having this done yesterday? - Adam

Good question. I expected Nick Bosa to be signed a few weeks ago. That still hasn't happened, and it's becoming a little concerning. But there is a ray of hope. Keep reading to see it!

Earlier this week, Ian Rapoport went on the "Pat McAfee Show" and said, "They're not there yet, and I don't get the sense they're close at all, so I don't get the sense anything is imminent. But at least it sounds like there's been some level of conversation, I guess, which is as there should be. It's like there's been at least some touching base.

"They are not there yet. And I know this probably doesn't make anyone feel better, but there still is a lot of time. I mean, Bosa, I'm sure, keeps himself in unbelievable shape. I don't think he's going to need a lot of an acclimation period. So even if he shows up five days from now, I'm sure he'll be ready for the season."

No one wants to hear (from the guy who seems to know all the 49ers' innermost thoughts) that a deal isn't close. So this was discouraging to hear.

Then there was someone on Reddit on Tuesday who was stirring things up by saying the 49ers were about to trade Bosa to an AFC team. This person claims to be the one who broke the news that Christian McCaffrey was headed to the 49ers. I have no idea who this is, or what sources they have, but I'm skeptical to believe A) This person has any inside knowledge and B) The 49ers will be dumb enough to trade their best player in a season they are one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl.

Here's the ray of hope: Wednesday morning, Jason Dumas tweeted, "Source: Nick Bosa will be with the team and available to play Week One in Pittsburgh. The two sides plan to get a deal done 'within the next few days.'" So this is great news. Let's hope it's very soon. Aren't you glad you kept reading?

With already concerning CB depth, do you think Lenoir at NB is in their best interest? - Justin W.

I'm not crazy about Deommodore Lenoir having to play Nickel Corner. Mainly because it sounds like that would put Ambry Thomas at the corner opposite Charvarious Ward. I don't really trust Thomas. I think he will get picked on. I know some were high on him late in 2021, especially after Thomas made the game-clinching interception that put the 49ers in the postseason, but I was nervous with him out there even after that. I remember thinking he may have been beat on that play, and that if Matthew Stafford hadn't underthrown Odell Beckham Jr., the game could have turned out differently.

But I do give Thomas credit. He made the play. He held up in the playoffs against some good receivers. And he's had a really good training camp and preseason. Maybe he's turned things around.

Last season, the 49ers had two of the better starting corners in the league, with Ward and Emmanuel Moseley. And they had some quality backups. This year, they are thinner. And with Luter, Jr. on PUP, he's not available for the first four games of the season. Even when he's removed from PUP, I doubt he'll be ready anytime soon after.

How much of a concern is depth and how it affects special teams? - Niner Jim

Depth is a bigger concern for the 49ers this season than it has been in the past four seasons. This is one of the most talented rosters in the league, but the depth just isn't what it used to be. My biggest areas of concern, regarding depth are:

  • Cornerback- see previous response.
  • Offensive line- what happens if Trent Williams goes down, or Colton McKivitz struggles?
  • Edge rusher- Assuming Bosa is back, there's still not much depth to be excited about. We don't even know who will be starting on the opposite side yet. Will it be Drake Jackson? Clelin Ferrell?

So depth is a concern. And as Niner Jim suggests, a lack of depth can have huge implications on special teams. When you have a lot of depth, you have players on special teams that could be starting for some teams. So there's a lot of talent on kick/punt coverage and returns. But when you lack depth, the players who are now blocking on returns, or covering kicks and punts, are not as talented. How will the 49ers depth affect the special teams? We will find out soon.

That's all we have for this week. Next Monday, we'll open the mailbag again. By then, the 49ers will be well into their preparation for a week one battle in Pittsburgh!
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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