49ers All-ACL Team Aiming for Strong Return

Sep 2, 2015 at 2:42 PM1


The San Francisco 49ers have a number of players attempting comebacks from ACL injuries. The most well known of the group is linebacker NaVorro Bowman. Here is a list of the remaining players on the roster, with some likely to make the team and others still fighting for a spot. Of course, this does not include players like wide receiver Chuck Jacobs, who was released on Monday.

ILB NaVorro Bowman
Tore ACL and MCL in January of 2014
Bowman's long road back from his devastating NFC Championship Game injury following the 2013 season is nearly complete. He has looked very good during the 49ers' preseason games and will rest against the San Diego Chargers on Thursday. Bowman has looked so good that it would be tough for anyone to not call him the team's best defensive player. Bowman will be ready to go on Monday, September 14 against the Minnesota Vikings.
Roster Chances: Guaranteed.

DE Darnell Dockett
Tore ACL during Cardinals training camp in August of 2014
Dockett missed all of last season with the Arizona Cardinals before being released in February. The 49ers quickly swooped in and signed the 11-year veteran. They were cautious with him during the offseason, holding him out of their offseason program and limiting him during training camp. Dockett figures to rotate into the defensive line on pass rushing downs. However, right now, he is a little banged up after suffering cracked cartilage in his ribcage on Saturday against the Denver Broncos.
Roster Chances: Very Likely. There are 2 million reasons (dollars) that Dockett makes the final roster. Of course, as Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area stated today, the defensive line is loaded so nothing is guaranteed.

CB Keith Reaser
Had surgeries to repair ACL in October of 2013 and February of 2014
The cornerback position within the depth chart remains a mystery. Tramaine Brock will likely begin the season as the starter, but head coach Jim Tomsula is being secretive on who the front-runner is to play opposite him. Reaser has been recently getting time with the defense's first unit, replacing veteran Shareece Wright. Kenneth Acker has also looked impressive.
Roster Chances: Likely. This is a young group and Reaser has been standing out in practices.

G Brandon Thomas
Tore ACL going through a pre-draft practice with the Saints in April of 2014
Thomas was predicted to compete for a starting guard position among the offensive line. When Tomsula announced the 49ers' starting offensive line lineup yesterday, Thomas' name was noticeably absent. The team has been struggling to put an offensive line together, but it looks as though Thomas was unable to crack the lineup. Jordan Devey, a player acquired via a trade with the New England Patriots, will start at right guard while Alex Boone will start at left guard.
Roster Chances: Likely. Thomas has so much upside and the team feels he is the future at guard.

RB Kendall Hunter
Tore ACL during second practice of training camp in July of 2014
Hunter is fighting for a roster spot and finally saw some game action against the Broncos. However, his return to the field was unremarkable with Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee saying, "Hunter seemed tentative on his carries on Saturday and does not appear fully recovered from last year's ACL tear." With Jarryd Hayne and Mike Davis showing flashes of potential, Hunter might need the 49ers to keep five running backs to stay on a roster that also includes Carlos Hyde and Reggie Bush at running back.
Roster Chances: 50/50. With Jarryd Hayne so inexperienced at the running back position and unlikely to make immediate contributions outside of special teams, it would be nice to keep an extra veteran running back like Hunter.

WR DeAndre Smelter
Tore ACL in December of 2014
Smelter has been called the next Anquan Boldin. Much has been said about his 11-inch hands, the largest in the 2015 NFL Draft and an inch larger than the New York Giants' Odell Beckham Jr. He is a great blocking wide receiver that 49ers fans will have to wait a bit to see. On Monday, he was placed on the NFI (non-football injury) list, making him eligible to return to the team following their game against the Baltimore Ravens. This was always the likely scenario for Smelter and the team may have gotten him at a bargain price in round four of the draft.
Roster Chances: N/A. He is on the NFI list.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


1 Comment

  • mbniner
    I think that Kendall and Dockett are in trouble as to making the final 53. Kendall is not completely back from his injury, maybe they put him on PUP or IR. Dockett is expendable. He's 34 years old and has not distinguished himself in his limited appearances in preseason. And he is injured. With all the young talent at DL, who would you cut to keep him? As Maiocco pointed out, yes you're wasting $2M in guaranteed money but you're saving the rest of his salary, $1.5M.
    Sep 2, 2015 at 10:11 PM
    0
    Response: Having practiced during training camp, Hunter is not eligible for the PUP. So that is out. As for Dockett, I can understand the argument. I just cannot see the team cutting a guy that they were so careful with during the offseason. Of course, the injury to his ribs, however minor it is, changes things a bit so it would not be a complete shock if they went Maiocco's route.

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