The San Francisco 49ers return to training camp in nine days, and that means it is time for what will hopefully continue to be a regular annual feature. A year ago, we put together a consensus ranking of the 49ers 90-man roster. It included rankings from myself and ten of our writers. You can look at last year’s full rankings here.
We’re back again, this time with 13 people voting. Since this is entirely subjective, I did not provide a specific framework for voting. I could have said “the best,” or “the most important,” or a whole host of other possible ideas. The Instead, I just told people to rank the 90-man roster heading into 2017. It’s not an exact science, but none of this is!
Thanks to Greg Valerio, Billy Kerr, Oscar Aparicio, Tracy Sandler, James Brady, Jennifer Chan, Pat Holloway, Steve Busichio, Scott Geelan, Mark Saltveit, TryAndCatchVD, and Joe The Wizard.
I’ve included the high and low ranking for each player, and then also my own ranking. On to the next ten players!
60. Lorenzo Jerome, S (High: 35, Low: 86, Fooch: 44)
Today’s ten players includes two high profile UDFAs. Jerome was ranked as one of the ten best UDFA signings, although he was on the bottom end of the guaranteed money list, getting $16,000 total guaranteed money. By all accounts he impressed in the offseason workout program. After showing off his ball-hawking skills in the college all star games, he made plays in OTAs and minicamp, and stands an excellent chance of securing the backup role behind Jimmie Ward.
59. D.J. Jones, DT (High: 23, Low: 88, Fooch: 46)
A sixth round pick does not come with huge expectations, but Jones is an intriguing option to develop behind Earl Mitchell. Quinton Dial is the front-runner for work behind Mitchell, but Jones will get plenty of chances in the preseason to prove himself. Opinions varied wildly, and I might have overrated him a little bit, but he’s an intriguing piece of the base defense puzzle.
58. Brock Coyle, LB (High: 32, Low: 81, Fooch: 52)
We have another special teamer, although Coyle has the benefit of having played in the Seahawks defense. He got a little bit of work when K.J. Wright missed some snaps, and knows some of what Robert Saleh is bringing to the table. I could see him getting a decent amount of preseason playing time, but his best bet for a roster spot is on special teams.
57. Pita Taumoepenu, DE (High: 22, Low: 87, Fooch: 57)
Another rookie with widely disparate votes. He is undersized for a traditional defensive end, but the 49ers are looking at him to bring speed off the edge. He has limited football experience having moved to the US during high school, but he brings impressive athleticism. His best chance at a roster spot is through special teams, but he could get some rotation coming off the edge.
56. Kapri Bibbs, RB (High: 23, Low: 76, Fooch: 76)
This remains a head-scratcher trade from the draft, and I’m just not seeing him having much of a chance making the roster. The 49ers dealt a 2018 fourth round pick to the Denver Broncos for Bibbs and a pick that became Trent Taylor. We’ve heard nothing but good things about Taylor, and I’m feeling like it was more to get that done than to acquire a running back.
55. Bruce Ellington, WR (High: 38, Low: 71, Fooch: 61)
The oft-injured wide receiver and return man is entering training camp with one last chance to try and prove something. Ellington missed all of last season after a preseason hamstring injury. His first three season he was regularly listed as a breakout candidate. He’ll get a chance to claim the kick and punt return roles this year, but until he stays healthy, he remains a “what could have been” player.
54. C.J. Beathard, QB (High: 32, Low: 69, Fooch: 56)
The 49ers surprised most of us when they moved up into the back end of the third round to select Beathard. The 49ers did not address the long-term need at quarterback in free agency, instead signing a bridge option in Brian Hoyer. Kirk Cousins remains on the radar, but Beathard will get this season of development to prove he could be something. That won’t stop the team from adding a quarterback next year, but a strong year of development for Beathard could alter the team’s plans in some way.
53. Dekoda Watson, LB (High: 34, Low: 69, Fooch: 51)
And our final addition of the three potential core special teams additions. The 49ers added Watson to compete for the various coverage and return blocking duties. He played 44 defensive snaps last year, so he would only be called upon in an emergency. He will play some SAM in the preseason, but special teams is his ticket.
52. Kyle Nelson, LS (High: 28, Low: 89, Fooch: 66)
The long snapper is always a tough call for rankings like this. It’s not a job anybody can do, and you really just want somebody you can plug in and don’t have to think about. We might underrate Nelson a little bit in that sense because he generally just does his job and we don’t think about it. There’s something to be said for that in a long snapper.
51. Matt Breida, RB (High: 31, Low: 88, Fooch: 32)
Here is your highest ranked UDFA, although obviously there was some disparity in how people viewed him. But, most see him as a strong candidate for the 53-man roster. He and Joe Williams will compete along with Tim Hightower to initially serve as a complement to Carlos Hyde. With Hyde hitting free agency after this season, Williams and Breida very well could end up as the pairing of the future. Training camp will be fascinating to watch with this duo.
61. Cole Hikutini, TE
62. John Theus, OT
63. Blake Bell, TE
64. Will Davis, CB
65. Vinnie Sunseri, S
66. Tim Barnes, C
67. Don Jones, S
68. Prince Charles Iworah, CB
69. DeAndre Smelter, WR
70. Aaron Burbridge, WR
71. Adrian Colbert, DB
72. Raheem Mostert, RB
73. DeAndre Carter, WR
74. Victor Bolden Jr., WR
75. Kendrick Bourne, WR
76. B.J. Johnson III, WR
77. Norman Price, OL
78. Zach Franklin, CB
79. Donavin Newsom, LB
80. Jimmie Gilbert, LB
81. Chanceller James, S
82. Noble Nwachukwu, DE
83. Erik Magnuson, OL
84. Nick Mullens, QB
85. Andrew Lauderdale, OL
86. Richard Levy, OL
87. Tyler McCloskey, FB
88. John Flynn, OL
89. Darrell Williams Jr., OL
90. Nick Rose, K