The San Francisco 49ers benched most of their starters for Thursday's preseason finale against the Houston Texans, which resulted in some extensive playing time for reserves. The playing time does not tell us everything we want to know about the 53-man roster, but it does give us some ideas about how things might shake out.
Perrish Cox, Michael Wilhoite and Dan Skuta were two guys who played zero defensive snaps on Thursday. Skuta seems like a lock to make the roster, unless Chase Thomas's strong Thursday performance gives the 49ers pause. Michael Wilhoite is also a lock to make the roster, and seems set to play next to Patrick Willis on Sundays. Perrish Cox however, is the interesting one. Not getting defensive work might seem to indicate he's set to make the roster, but it is also possible the 49ers figure they know everything there is to know about Cox. I've had Cox on the wrong side of the bubble in my last two roster projections, but given that he is the only experienced nickel on the team, that could very well be enough for him to stick around.
Carter Bykowski played every single snap on offense, with 72 total, while Ryan Seymour finished with 60 snaps. Bykowski and Seymour could be competing for a roster spot. They also are competing for practice squad consideration, but that is assuming they clear waivers.Their performances allowed them to provide film for the other 31 teams to consider. Teams have until 9 a.m. PT on Sunday to place claims for waived players.
The Houston Texans have the No. 1 waiver priority, and I imagine they were paying particularly close attention to the 49ers reserves on Thursday. It is my understanding the Texans remain at the top of the waiver wire no matter how many players they claim. It will be interesting to see how many 49ers they claim, if any at all.
Nick Moody led the defensive snap count, with his 46 snaps accounting for 90 percent of total defensive snaps. Chase Thomas and Aaron Lynch both had 38 snaps. Both looked good, with Thomas in particular standing out early on. Thomas actually finished with zero tackles, but he made his presence felt. He had a pass deflection and a hit on the quarterback. He also had a great play on run plays, forcing a back outside and into the waiting arms of another defender. I think the roster crunch will keep him off, but I could see someone claiming him before he gets a chance to join the 49ers practice squad.