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49ers-Panthers: Which rookie had the biggest impact?

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George Kittle seemed to be the most effective. Will that remain the case going into Week 2?

Carolina Panthers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers 14 rookies on their 53-man player, and a handful of those players contributed in the Week 1 loss against the Carolina Panthers. Before the game, we asked you which rookies would have the biggest impact, and I strongly felt as though it would be linebacker Reuben Foster.

Unfortunately, Foster was injured after just 11 snaps. Others thought it would be defensive end Solomon Thomas, but he had his issues getting to the quarterback. Tight end George Kittle was a popular pick, and it might be the right one.

Of the 14 rookies, wide receiver Victor Bolden Jr, defensive end Pita Taumoepenu and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon were inactive. Backup quarterback C.J. Beathard and backup interior offensive lineman Erik Magnuson both did not play despite being inactive.

That leaves nine rookies who did contribute in some form or fashion. We can remove Foster due to the 11 snaps he played prior to his injury. Then you get to wide receiver Kendrick Bourne and safety Adrian Colbert, who logged most snaps on special teams and didn’t make any huge plays.

Safety Lorenzo Jerome played 12 defensive snaps as the third safety on the field. Jaquiski Tartt got the start in place of Jimmie Ward and really wasn’t good at all. Jerome didn’t make any huge mistakes, but he also didn’t make any big plays, like Tartt’s interception.

Defensive tackle D.J. Jones played 15 snaps in relief of Earl Mithcell and had one tackle, while also playing a few snaps on special teams. I didn’t notice him making any particularly impactful plays.

The same goes for running back Matt Breida, who played 12 snaps on offense and had a handful of carries despite the fact that Carlos Hyde didn’t get nearly enough. I said it before, but I’ll reiterate: Breida simply shouldn’t be getting snaps if Hyde isn’t getting the ball, either. You can’t have a change of pace running back when you haven’t established a pace.

Wide receiver Trent Taylor played 24 snaps on offense and was targeted a few times, but ultimately it’s hard to gauge his play given the issues keeping Brian Hoyer clean in the pocket.

Then we get to Thomas and Kittle. Thomas played 43 snaps on the defensive line and finished with two tackles, one for a loss. He didn’t pressure Newton, consistently lost his battles on passing downs and ultimately, I can’t see picking him for this post. Kittle, on the other hand, caught five of six passes thrown his way for 27 yards despite dealing with a hamstring injury. He wasn’t magnificent, but I thought he ran good routes and was solid in blocking.

So it looks, to me, like Kittle is the default pick here. But will that be the case going forward?