The San Francisco 49ers have signed 14 undrafted free agents since the 2018 NFL Draft came to a close. We could see some more UDFAs swapped in before training camp, but for the most part we know what the UDFA class looks like.
Over the next three months, through the end of training camp, we’ll be trying to figure out which of the UDFAs might surprise us and grab a roster spot. There are fewer opportunities available this year, but there is a decent chance at least one of the UDFAs ends up snagging a roster spot.
We started with UDFA quarterback Jack Heneghan and moved on to running back Jeff Wilson. Today, we’re moving on to wide receiver Steven Dunbar. However, since the 49ers also spent a seventh round pick on Richie James, I have decided to include him as well.
The 49ers have overhauled their wide receiver depth chart over the past two offseasons. Last year, we saw them add Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, and Aldrick Robinson in free agency. They then added Trent Taylor in the 2017 NFL Draft, and then Kendrick Bourne and Victor Bolden, Jr. in undrafted free agency. The lone notable holdover from the previous year was Aaron Burbridge who ended up spending this past season on injured reserve.
This year, the 49ers were quiet in free agency at the wide receiver position, but then traded up in the second round to select Washington wide receiver and return man Dante Pettis at No. 44 overall. He can make an immediate impact as a return man, but it seems like the team thinks they can find more ways to use him in year one than just as a return.
Dunbar and James would seem to face a significant uphill climb to claim a job on this depth chart. Garçon, Goodwin, Taylor, and Pettis are locks to make the roster. That leaves one, maybe two roster spots for receivers. Bourne is getting a lot of praise, while Robinson brings some veteran experience. Bolden will open the season suspended, while Burbridge brings special team skills, but not much as a pass catcher at this point.
It would seem like at best, one of Dunbar or James makes the roster, but there is a decent chance both could end up on the practice squad. I think we end up seeing one or both there, with neither making this 53-man roster.