Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports


Josh Rosen among five bubble players fighting to earn spot on 49ers roster

Jun 10, 2021 at 4:00 PM1



With a new NFL season around the corner, coaching staffs are starting to get a feel for the teams they will be marching into battle with. The San Francisco 49ers have spent the last few months solidifying their roster from top to bottom. With many key players returning from injury, the 49ers have a strong group, with most of the starting positions locked up.

There will be several depth positions available for grabs. After a disastrous 2020 season, the 49ers learned that quality depth at all position groups is critical. Here are a few players who find themselves on the roster bubble and will all need to stand out in training camp if they want to earn a roster spot.

Josh Rosen, QB

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports


Josh Rosen has had a rough start to his NFL career. He was the number ten overall draft pick in 2018 and was chosen to be the franchise quarterback for the rebuilding Arizona Cardinals. One year later, he was dealt to the Miami Dolphins, who were also in complete rebuild mode. In 2020, he was exiled to the Buccaneers practice squad before being a late-season signing by the depleted San Francisco 49ers.

In 502 career attempts, Rosen has passed for 2,845 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. He has an average passing grade of 47.6 and a QBR of 21.9. Rosen is often careless when throwing into coverage and forces balls into windows that are closed. However, it is difficult to judge his ability by looking at stats. Rosen has only played behind awful offensive lines and a significant lack of skill players around him. At just 24-years old, there is still room for improvement and optimism for the former UCLA Bruin.

His competition will be against free agent addition Nate Sudfeld. Sudfeld has played four NFL seasons and moved from a practice squad player to backup quarterback during his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles. He has 27 career passing attempts for 188 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Despite his lack of experience, the 49ers see potential in the 27-year old quarterback, as they signed him to a one-year contract with $252,000 guaranteed this offseason. He is also being reunited with 49ers quarterback coach Rich Scangarello, who was on the Eagles staff in 2020.

JaMycal Hasty, RB


Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports


JaMycal Hasty became an interesting underdog story last season as he went from undrafted free agent to starting running back. This impressive move up the depth chart was mainly due to injuries, but Hasty showed flashes of being an explosive back, with two runs of 10+ yards in limited action. Unfortunately, his season ended in Week 8 vs. the New Orleans Saints when he broke his collarbone, forcing him to miss the rest of the season.

This season, Hasty once again finds himself towards the bottom of the depth chart and will need to prove that he deserves a roster spot. The 49ers spent the offseason strengthening their running back group by signing Wayne Gallman to a contract in free agency, then drafting two running backs. The offseason injury to Jeff Wilson Jr. will allow for a window of opportunity for all the running backs, but Hasty will have his work cut out for him.

During OTAs, Hasty has been splitting time as the number two running back with rookie Elijah Mitchell. According to reports, he showed up bigger and stronger than he was during his rookie season.

Mohamed Sanu


Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports


Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk occupy the first two wide receiver spots. After that, things get concerning. The number three receiver spot is open, and it will be interesting to see which current 49ers receiver will be able to take advantage of the situation and win this key position.

Mohamed Sanu is hoping his second stint with the 49ers will be a more productive one. In 2020, Sanu played three games for the 49ers, catching one pass for nine yards before being released. In March 2021, the 49ers signed him again to a one-year contract. The signing was an attempt to add depth to the 49ers receiving corps.

At age 31, the nine-year vet should bring a leadership presence that will be helpful to a young receiving corps. In OTAs, he's stood out as the best receiver on the field and appears to be motivated to not only make the team, but to fight to be the number three receiver.


Marcell Harris, S


Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


On the defensive side, the secondary is another position group that was hit hard with injuries last season, and the 49ers were scrambling to find competent defenders to field on gamedays. One player who was thrown into the fire was safety Marcell Harris. In 2020, Harris played 348 snaps on which he mostly struggled, especially in coverage. According to Pro Football Focus, Harris had a 36.6 coverage grade and 40.6 overall grade, which ranked 92nd out of 94 eligible players.

Harris was drafted by the 49ers in the sixth round in 2018 and had a solid sophomore season in 2019. The 49ers extended his contract this offseason for one year in an effort to provide much-needed depth. After the extension, however, the 49ers drafted safety Talanoa Hufanga in the fifth round and signed Tony Jefferson to add to the current safety pool. Harris will need to have a strong training camp if he wants to make a case for a roster spot.

Kentavius Street, DI


Kentavius Street


Kentavius Street was a 4th-round selection in 2018 for the 49ers. He has racked up a total of 15 tackles in 18 games. Last season, he played 380 total snaps in 15 appearances. Pro Football Focus had him ranked as the 125th interior defender with an overall defensive grade of 32.6. Street struggled in run defense with a 29.1 grade but had more success as a pass rusher with a 58.5 grade.

The defensive line is fairly stacked, and it's a major question mark whether Dee Ford will be healthy enough to be active. Depth is key with this position group, so there are plenty of backup spots available. The 49ers used free agency to address the defensive line by signing Arden Key and Zach Kerr, who should secure their spots. Street has a tough fight ahead of him and will need to stand out and impress 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans if he wants to carve out a role on this line.

A team is only as strong as its depth players, and with the injury history the 49ers have, these positions are critical if they want a chance to get back to Super Bowl contention. There will be plenty of competition for these backup roles in training camp and it will be interesting to see who steps up and earns their places among the final 53.
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

  • Bill Bruneau
    When Shanahan took over and the roster was humble, he said basically, "We will know when we are really competitive when other teams start to pick up our cuts." They are over the NFC West and the league.
    Jun 10, 2021 at 4:51 PM
    0

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



49ers' Fred Warner, Nick Bosa listed among PFF's top 25 players under 25

By David Bonilla
Jun 15, 2021

Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus created a list of the top 25 players under 25 years old, and two young defenders represent the San Francisco 49ers. All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner (age 24) tops the ranking at No. 1 overall. "At a position that has become ever-more difficult to play, given how good NFL offenses have become at attacking defensive weaknesses, Warner has become arguably the game's best linebacker," wrote Monson. "The former third-round pick earned a PFF coverage grade of 91.1 in 2020, allowing a passer rating of just 81.9 into his coverage, some 25 points lower than the average at the position." San Francisco made Warner a third-round selection out of BYU in



Four 49ers players named to NFL.com's ultimate 53-man roster

By David Bonilla
Jun 14, 2021

Four San Francisco 49ers players were named to NFL.com's "ultimate 53-man roster." Like any honorary roster, this one consists of some of the top names in the game — with one caveat. The roster must be constructed using the 2021 salary cap of $182.5 million and each player's salary for the upcoming season. That means the roster can't be stuffed with Pro Bowlers and All-Pros as backups. Anthony Holzman-Escareno created the roster, and he had some tough decisions to make. It's still an impressive collection of players, though. The starting lineup has big names like Patrick Mahomes at quarterback and defensive tackle Aaron



Josh Hokit explains why playing fullback for the 49ers is different than the rest of the NFL

By David Bonilla
Jun 14, 2021

Josh Hokit played running back for the Fresno State Bulldogs, rushing for 1,260 yards and 17 touchdowns on 303 carries in his four collegiate seasons. He also hauled in 38 receptions for 260 yards, showing off some versatility. Hokit is learning to play fullback for the San Francisco 49ers after signing as an undrafted free agent last year. While the transition from running back to fullback for the 6-foot-1 and 225-pound player might not seem like too big of a stretch, the 49ers don't utilize typical fullbacks. Just look at Kyle Juszczyk, who is viewed as a versatile piece on head coach Kyle Shanahan's chessboard. He can run, catch, block, and do it all from multiple spots on the field. "There's many things about this fullback position,"



Frelund lists 49ers' Trey Sermon among rookie running backs who will thrive in 2021

By David Bonilla
Jun 7, 2021

NFL Network analyst Cynthia Frelund predicted which rookie running backs are most likely to thrive during the 2021 season. "Using contextualized play-calling data from each team and factoring in every rookie RB's skill set, my model believes the following five newbies will provide the biggest returns in 2021," wrote Frelund. On the list were Najee Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Javonte Williams of the Denver Broncos, Travis Etienne of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Michael Carter of the New York Jets. Sandwiched in the list at No. 3 was San Francisco 49ers rookie running back Trey Sermon. "Next Gen Stats reveal regression on San Francisco's offensive line this past season, at least in the ground game," wrote Frelund. "The 49ers averaged 4.1


Featured

More by Allan McBride

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone