The San Francisco 49ers starting offense and defense showed they have some work to do, but players further down the depth chart shined on Friday in the preseason opener. Kendrick Bourne led the team in receiving, Aaron lynch had a pair of sacks off the bench, and the team came back in the fourth quarter to notch the win.
The performances of Bourne, running back Matt Breida, and offensive lineman Erik Magnuson were enough to land them on Pro Football Focus’ “Team of the Week” for preseason Week 1.
Kendrick Bourne, WR
Bourne finished with four receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown. C.J. Beathard and Matt Barkley had a combined 141.4 pass rating when targeting Bourne, and he finished with a robust 6.29 yards per route run on 14 routes.
Bourne brings some size to a 49ers receiver depth chart that is severely lacking in it. They have some decent sized receivers, but many of their potential impact players are 6’0 or less. If he can produce with his size, he gives himself a huge chance at landing the sixth wide receiver spot.
Matt Breida, RB
PFF included Breida in a “flex” position. They had him down for six missed tackles, 25 yards after contact, two receptions for 14 yards, and did not allow a pressure on three pass block snaps. His missed tackles were impressive because they came on runs between the guards.
Breida was the first running back off the bench after Carlos Hyde. He came on ahead of Joe Williams, but both running backs showed a combination that could be deadly down the road. We’ve heard plenty of Thunder & Lightning references for power and speed running back duos. It could end up applying to these two. Breida rumbled between the tackles most of the time, while Williams showed tremendous speed hitting the edge.
Erik Magnuson, OL
PFF graded Magnuson well in run blocking, with his overall graded was the highest on the 49ers offensive line. The 49ers got big yards from their reserve running backs, and on 13 pass block snaps, Magnuson did not allow a quarterback pressure.
Third and fourth string players can only perform based on what is in front of them. Magnuson in particular is further down the depth chart. He was facing a lower level of competition, but he can only perform based on the opportunity he earns. Given his relatively solid performance, it will be interesting to see if he gets a bump up the offensive line depth chart this week.
Magnuson has gotten praise during camp, but it has not reflected in the depth chart. Now that he has put some good film together, maybe it earns him a camp promotion.