The San Francisco 49ers report for training camp on July 25, and with time ticking down, we’re back for our annual roster ranking feature. The past two years, we’ve put together a consensus ranking of the 49ers 90-man roster. It includes ranking from myself and other Niners Nation staff.
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 12 of our writers. You can look at last year’s full rankings here.
This year, we’ve got 18 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 2018. It’s not an exact science, but none of this is!
Thanks to Greg Valerio, Oscar Aparicio, Tracy Sandler, James Brady, Jennifer Chan, Pat Holloway, Steve Busichio, Scott Geelan, Mark Saltveit, TryAndCatchVD, Joe The Wizard, Scott Geelan, Josh Eccles, Josh Cootner, ak4niner, El Shorts, Alex Eisen, and Akash, Anavarathan.
I’ve included the high and low ranking for each player, and then also my own ranking. On to spots 51-60!
60. Jullian Taylor, DT (High: 48, Low: 76, Fooch: 65)
Potentially a diamond in the rough, the Temple product dealt with various injuries during his college career. Given his lack of extensive game-day experience in college, I see him as a practice squad candidate unless he can show some things in the preseason.
59. Tarvarus McFadden, CB (High: 28, Low: 87, Fooch: 60)
He got the biggest guarantee ($90,000) among the 49ers 2018 UDFAs. It doesn’t guarantee him a roster spot, but it is a clear indicator the 49ers think highly of him. The cornerback position is unsettled behind Ahkello Witherspoon and Richard Sherman, and if Sherman opens camp on the PUP list, it opens up another spot for competition. McFadden is a player to watch over the next six weeks.
58. Greg Mabin, CB (High: 41, Low: 83, Fooch: 58)
The 49ers signed Mabin to the practice squad last October, and promoted him to the 53-man roster in November. He got some work in place of Dontae Johnson when the latter started struggling, and was on track to earn a starting job before a calf injury cut that short. He faces much more competition this year, but he was impressing the team before he got hurt, so he would seem to have a fighting chance.
57. Marcell Harris, S (High: 34, Low: 77, Fooch: 68)
Harris suffered a torn Achilles during summer workouts last year. The 49ers spent a sixth round pick on him this year, and after missing the offseason workout program, he is expected to be ready for training camp. He is primarily a strong safety, which means Chanceller James could be his primary competition for a reserve safety role.
56. Victor Bolden, Jr., WR (High: 37, Low: 88, Fooch: 56)
This was a tough one to rank because he will open the season with a four-game suspension. Bolden made the 49ers roster last season as a UDFA, earning the kickoff returner job. He and Trent Taylor were the primary return men last year, but 2018 draft picks Dante Pettis and D.J. Reed could supplant both of them. Bolden saw no targets in 27 offensive snaps, so I’m not quite sure what will happen with him now that the return game has more competition.
55. Aaron Burbridge, WR (High: 33, Low: 80, Fooch: 41)
The 49ers spent a sixth round pick on Burbridge in 2016, and he emerged as a core special teams player. He looked like he would earn a special teams role last year before going on injured reserve during final roster cuts. If he makes the roster, it will be as a special teamer.
54. Korey Toomer, LB (High: 35, Low: 85, Fooch: 38)
The 49ers signed Korey Toomer on April 3rd, the same month they got some resolution on Reuben Foster’s court case. Foster will open the season on the suspended list, which increases Toomer’s chances of earning a roster spot. He will be competing with Brock Coyle, Mark Nzeocha, and Elijah Lee for one or two roster spots.
53. Richie James, WR (High: 34, Low: 79, Fooch: 54)
The second 2018 seventh round pick to show up on this grouping, James could be an intriguing slot option in the near future. His 2017 season was cut short by a broken collarbone, but when on the field, he has been an electric athlete. There will be some concern as to his durability given his size, but he’s the kind of weapon who could excel in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
52. Cole Hikutini, TE (High: 33, Low: 75, Fooch: 40)
The 49ers are likely expecting George Kittle and Garrett Celek to lock down their top two tight end spots, but that third one is wide open. Hikutini would seem to have the edge for a pass catching role, particularly given that the 49ers did not invest much in the position this offseason.
51. D.J. Jones, DT (High: 30, Low: 76, Fooch: 44)
A sixth round pick last year, Jones was active nine of the first ten games and then inactive the final seven games. He’s competing with Earl Mitchell for the nose tackle role, but it’s hard to assess just where he is in the eyes of the coaches and front office. Niles Scott is in the mix as well, but given the depth at the position, Jones is not a lock to make the team in his second season.