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Jaquiski Tartt injury ends breakout season

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The 49ers lost a big piece of their defense with Jaquiski Tartt’s injury. We wait until next year to see what kind of opportunities arise.

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The San Francisco 49ers have lost yet another player to injured reserve, with safety Jaquiski Tartt suffering a broken arm in the team’s Week 9 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Reports indicate it is a similar forearm fracture that Jimmie Ward suffered last week. Tartt will be formally placed on IR this week, and Adrian Colbert will replace him in the starting lineup.

Tartt was having a breakout season for the 49ers prior to the injury. He was not a high profile turnover machine, but he had proven to be a strong run stopper, and incredibly versatile in moving between free and strong safety. He played free safety in place of Jimmie Ward early in the season, and then strong safety in place of Eric Reid. At the time of his injury, Tartt ranked No. 11 on Pro Football Focus’ list of safeties.

The 49ers rebuilding process is a lengthy work in progress, and this year has been about finding some potential cornerstone players to build around. With Eric Reid hitting free agency after this season, and Jimmie Ward continually getting hurt, the safety position remains a significant area of need. It is deep when Tartt, Reid, and Ward are all healthy, but the 49ers have only had a week or two of that.

Tartt is a guy they can build around on the back end, and given Reid’s uncertain status following this season, I imagine we’ll see Tartt back in the starting lineup when the offseason workout program begins next April. At the same time, it will be interesting to see what kind of additional depth they look for if Reid walks in free agency. Adrian Colbert will get a big opportunity the rest of this season. If he can provide a steadying presence, safety could move down the priority list to a certain extent.