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2017 49ers 90-man roster ranking: players 31-40

We begin the countdown of our 49ers’ roster ranking today, looking at players ranked 31-40. This is mostly practice squad candidates and camp fodder, but a couple could surprise us.

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!

40. Ray-Ray Armstrong, LB (High: 19, Low: 65, Fooch: 54)

Trent Baalke signed Armstrong to an extension last December, but he faces a serious challenge with the new coaching staff and front office. The 49ers made some big moves at linebacker, signing Malcolm Smith to a sizable deal, and then trading into the end of the first round to select Reuben Foster. Armstrong is solid in coverage, while that has been a weakness for Smith. However, Smith has previous experience in the kind of defense Robert Saleh is implementing. That and Smith’s sizable contract would seem to not bode too well for Armstrong.

39. Bradley Pinion, P (High: 23, Low: 54, Fooch: 45)

Pinion led the NFL with 100 punts last season, thanks to a bad offense. Pinion is a perfectly solid, albeit unspectacular punter. I doubt I’ll ever get over the Andy Lee trade.

38. Keith Reaser, CB (High: 26, Low: 66, Fooch: 35)

The first of the three competitors for the starting job opposite Rashard Robinson. Reaser was one of Baalke’s ACL all stars, and while he gained more and more playing time, he’s never really broken out. Dontae Johnson has the better build for the press coverage the 49ers are implementing, but there seems to be more aggression to Reaser’s game. And both are simply trying to hold off rookie Ahkello Witherspoon.

37. K’Waun Williams, CB (High: 17, Low: 76, Fooch: 26)

John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan’s very first free agent signing. Williams dealt with an ankle injury in Cleveland last year that resulted in his release. He is competing with Will Redmond for the nickel back role, although Keith Reaser or Dontae Johnson could also get in the mix for that third corner role depending on how their competition shakes out.

36. Zane Beadles, OG (High: 16, Low: 69, Fooch: 24)

Opinions vary wildly on Beadles. He is a jack of all five offensive line positions, but certainly not a master of any of them. I think for the purposes of the 49ers offensive line right now, he is a useful versatile option. Until they start really pushing to get younger and better, he’s helpful as a reserve. The team brought in Brandon Fusco to compete with him and Joshua Garnett, but Beadles does offer more versatility than all of them.

35. Vance McDonald, TE (High: 18, Low: 66, Fooch: 40)

I wasn’t sure how far to “drop” McDonald. The team tried to trade him this offseason, and then drafted George Kittle. They also signed veteran Logan Paulsen and rookie Cole Hikutini. Clearly the team is looking to make some changes. If they can’t get a deal done by the end of the preseason, do they keep McDonald or cut him?

34. Trent Taylor, WR (High: 16, Low: 57, Fooch: 55)

The short, white, prolific Louisiana Tech wide receiver is not surprisingly compared to Wes Welker. By all accounts he caught everything thrown his way in the offseason workout program. Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, and Jeremy Kerley would appear to be the top three receivers, but it’s wide open after that. Add in return skills, and Taylor could be busy as a rookie.

33. Robbie Gould, K (High: 15, Low: 62, Fooch: 34)

The 49ers replaced Uncle Phil with another veteran from the midwest. I have continually waited for the team to invest a draft pick in a kicker, but I suppose this is one position where you can just go veteran to veteran and not worry about having a “long-term solution” like you want at most other positions.

32. Ronald Blair, DL (High: 22, Low: 48, Fooch: 30)

A fifth round pick last year, Blair is a versatile guy who can play at defensive end and also kick inside. The 49ers have added more and more depth to the line however, which limits his opportunities. His best chance to earn a spot could be as an interior lineman in the sub packages.

31. Tim Hightower, RB (High: 20, Low: 58, Fooch: 33)

The 49ers are looking for options to both complement Carlos Hyde, and replace him as needed if he gets hurt. Joe Williams and Matt Breida will likely be looked to as long-term replacements, but Hightower is a strong complement, particularly in the passing game.

41. Eli Harold, OLB
42. Aldrick Robinson, WR
43. Logan Paulsen, TE
44. Matt Barkley, QB
45. Tank Carradine, DE
46. Brandon Fusco, OG
47. Will Redmond, CB
48. Garry Gilliam, OT
49. Chris Jones, DT
50. Garrett Celek, TE

51. Matt Breida, RB
52. Kyle Nelson, LS
53. Dekoda Watson, LB
54. C.J. Beathard, QB
55. Bruce Ellington, WR
56. Kapri Bibbs, RB
57. Pita Taumoepenu, DE
58. Brock Coyle, LB
59. D.J. Jones, DT
60. Lorenzo Jerome, S

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