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Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports


Quick Reaction: 49ers Final 53-Man Roster

Justin Wong
Aug 31, 2019 at 1:36 PM1


With today being the deadline for NFL teams to cut their rosters from 90 to the final 53-players, here are a couple of quick reactions for the San Francisco 49ers.

Wow, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was true to his word when asked about keeping three quarterbacks on the roster. Personally, between Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard, I would've swallowed my pride and sided with Mullens. The 49ers seem persistent to get value for their quarterbacks and perhaps that could still happen via trade. Nonetheless, it's problematic when you consider the 49ers have other positions of need.

It was a long time coming for the oft-injured guard. Former General Manager Trent Baalke traded back into the first round to draft guard Joshua Garnett in 2016. Since then, Garnett has failed to stay healthy and was sidelined the majority of this preseason with a hand injury. The 49ers gave him every opportunity to compete for the roster; especially with interior linemen being one of their weakest spots.

The 49ers presumably gave the keys to Adrian Colbert at the starting free safety spot last season after a promising rookie year. Unfortunately, he was unable to recapture that level of play before subsequently going on IR. Injuries once again hampered Colbert this preseason (hamstring). 49ers fans have been split over Colbert this offseason--I wish all the best for Colbert as I too was a fan of him.

The bigger surprise is actually strong safety Marcell Harris, who had a strong finish last season and showed flashes of potential similar to Colbert in his rookie year. Harris is a strong tackler but needed refinement in pass coverage. Combine this with the release of veteran safety Antone Exum and you get the full vote of confidence in Tarvarius Moore and D.J. Reed entering their sophomore seasons.

Jordan Matthews was one of the few veteran wide receivers on this roster as it really came down to Matthews and Kendrick Bourne to round out the group. Both are similar in stature, but the 49ers decided to go with the higher upside player in Bourne. I've always been a fan of Matthews' game and would've liked to have seen the 49ers keep him.


After placing swing tackle Shone Coleman on IR with an ACL injury, the 49ers picked up Sam Young mid-preseason to compete with rookie Justin Skule for the spot. With his release, I would assume the 49ers are planning to find low-hanging fruit via waivers with other prospective offensive tackles on the market.

Tight end Daniel Helm was an interesting prospect heading into training camp. Helm has versatility at fullback in a similar role to Kyle Juszczyk; it wouldn't surprise me if the 49ers try to get him on the practice squad.

Defensive end Damontre Moore probably had one the most productive performances out of all defensive ends this preseason but I guess it didn't matter. The journeyman pass rusher was a victim of the numbers as the 49ers were already deep at defensive line. I know many 49ers fans are upset over this decision but given the depth chart, it's understandable.


The same goes for undrafted free agent defensive tackle Kevin Givens. Givens had a strong preseason but they just couldn't make room for him on the final 53-man roster. I would hope they retain him on the practice squad--unless a defensive lineman-needy team like the Seahawks swoop him up.

With the 49ers placing running back Jerick McKinnon on season-ending IR, there was optimism that the 49ers would retain four running backs on the roster with Jeff Wilson Jr. in the mix. Wilson finished strong in the last preseason game with a 41-yard touchdown run.


The strong play of rookie linebackers Dre Greenlaw and Azeez Al-Shaair this offseason is a big reason why the 49ers decided to part ways with veterans Malcolm Smith, Elijah Lee, and David Mayo. Greenlaw is a fifth-round pick while Al-Shaair was an undrafted free agent entering this offseason. Huge props to Al-Shaair for taking advantage of his opportunities and earning himself a roster spot. The 49ers had just signed Mayo as a free agent to a two-year, $2.5 million contract this offseason. Conversely, it looks like Greenlaw will be the new starting SAM linebacker.

Keep in mind that the roster is still subject to change. The next 24 hours will be interesting as teams can make a claim via waivers on recently released players. Released players are subject to waivers; if multiple teams are vying for the same player, the team with the highest waiver priority will be the winner. However, veteran players with four seasons or more of experience are exempt and become free agents. If a player remains unclaimed after the 24-hour waiver period, the player becomes a free agent.
  • Justin Wong
  • Written by:
    Justin Wong has been writing for the 49ers Webzone since 2017 while also running an NFC West blog and podcast called Just The West. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to @JustTheWest on Twitter.
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

  • CJ Gish
    I am sorry, but letting D. Moore go was not a good idea. I would have left one of the 4 tight ends off. You can never NEVER have enough good pass rushers. The more pass-rushers you have, the more pressure you put on the QB, the better the defense operates, the more turnovers you produce, the more you can cover up any holes in your secondary. Out of all the cuts, this is the only one I wish we would have reconsidered.
    Sep 1, 2019 at 6:06 PM
    0

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