Two weeks ago, shortly before the San Francisco 49ers had their first preseason game, we asked what you expect from the draft picks in the preseason opener. Now that we have two games completed, I thought we would take a look at where things stand, and what is next for the second half of the preseason schedule. I’ve included Week 1 and Week 2 snaps in parenthesis, as well as preseason statistics.
DT DeForest Buckner
Week 1: 20 defense, 1 special teams | 3 tackles
Week 2: 0
He got a lot of praise the first two weeks of camp. He did not get any pressures his first game, and he sat out Week 2 with a lower leg injury. Buckner was back in practice this week, and appears to be on track to play Friday vs. the Packers. Arik Armstead got back into practice, but it remains to be seen if he’ll play. That could determine where exactly Buckner will play on Friday. I would think he will see near starter reps this week, and some extra reps next week when the starters are normally sitting.
OG Joshua Garnett
Week 1: 31 offense, 3 special teams | No penalties
Week 2: 36 offense, 2 special teams | No penalties
Garnett opened camp with the third string offensive line, but climbed to the second line quickly. He opened at right guard, but has been focused on left guard for most of training camp. He has been getting first team reps in practice this week, so that will be something to watch. The first couple weeks of camp made it seem like Beadles and Tiller would be the starting guards Week 1. Suddenly, we see Garnett and Anthony Davis getting some first team reps in practice. Friday will be a big one for these two.
CB Will Redmond
Week 1: 0
Week 2: 0
Jim O’Neil said he does not think Redmond is all the way back, which would explain the lack of playing time these first two games. O’Neil said he thinks Redmond will play at some point this preseason, but the trainers will make that decision.
CB Rashard Robinson
Week 1: 6 defense, 6 special teams
Week 2: 49 defense, 4 special teams | 4 tackles, 1 pass deflection
The 49ers gave Robinson a whole lot of work last week. On Monday, Jim O’Neil was asked if he was prepared to say Jimmie Ward is one of the two starting cornerbacks. He said it’s looking that way, but then mentioned other competitors, starting with Robinson, and then Keith Reaser. Robinson is going to make the roster, but more importantly, he could be pushing to be the second or third corner off the bench. I suspect we see him get some decent run against the Packers, but then potentially starting type snaps next week against the Chargers.
DT Ronald Blair
Week 1: 23 defense, 7 special teams | 1 QB hit
Week 2: 51 defense, 4 special teams | 1 tackle
The 49ers have rotated all along the defensive line, including interior and on the edge. He is getting praise from multiple players and coaches. The other linemen injuries will impact his playing time against the Packers, but like Robinson, I could see him getting starter-type snaps in the preseason finale against the Chargers.
OT John Theus
Week 1: 31 offense, 2 special teams
Week 2: 9 offense, 4 special teams
OL Fahn Cooper
Week 1: 31 offense, 0 special teams
Week 2: 9 offense, 2 special teams
I combined these two previously, and they seem pretty much attached at the hip for the time being. They have been playing on the third string offensive line through the first two games. I’m looking to see if either or both gets any chance with the second string line this week or next week. If not, do both make the roster, or does one potentially end up destined for the practice squad (or claimed off waivers by another team at the end of camp)?
QB Jeff Driskel
Week 1: 24 offense | 4-of-12, 20 yards, 61 rushing yards
Week 2: 21 offense | 6-of-7, 66 yards, 9 rushing yards
The quarterbacks had struggles across the board in Week 1, but Driskel did flash his legs. In Week 2, he bounced back through the air with a much more effective performance. Week 3 is a tough call with Colin Kaepernick likely back in the mix. I am curious to see how they split up the snaps after Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert these final two games.
RB Kelvin Taylor
Week 1: 7 offense, 1 special teams | 2 rushes, 4 yards; 1 rec, 2 yards
Week 2: 16 offense, 2 special teams | 10 rushes, 47 yards; 1 rec, 2 yards
Shaun Draughn did not play on Saturday due to a rib injury, which might have helped Taylor get more snaps. Mike Davis and DuJuan Harris both bumped up the depth chart because of that, so it helped Taylor. Draughn was seen wearing a blue non-contact jersey in practice, so it would not be surprising if he sat out Friday’s game. Taylor has done some decent things, but nothing has really jumped out in a big way. Considering the Davis fumbles last week and Harris’s fumbles the last two weeks, will we see Taylor get some earlier run?
WR Aaron Burbridge
Week 1: 32 offense, 5 special teams
Week 2: 25 offense, 3 special teams | 2 rec, 7 yards
Burbridge got his first two catches in Week 2. Dres Anderson might be the only receiver to stand out in the two preseason games, while DeAndrew White has worked his way into the mix for slot work. There had been talk he would play in the slot, but he told Ryan Sakamoto he has focused on split end, and has not played in the slot since rookie minicamp. Wide receiver is tough to figure out after Torrey Smith, Quinton Patton, and Bruce Ellington, so Burbridge might need to show something these final two games.
CB Prince Charles Iworah
Week 1: 20 defense, 7 special teams | 1 pass deflection
Week 2: 26 defense, 11 special teams | 4 tackles
He’s playing plenty of snaps, so it would seem the team is not exactly trying to hide him and slide him to the practice squad. They might still want to get him to the practice squad, but they’re not concerned he’ll show so much as to get claimed off waivers. I’m guessing we see him continue with the third string these next two weeks.