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Who has the best shot at a promotion from the 49ers practice squad

Last season, the 49ers promoted six players from their practice squad, and signed three more from other practice squads.

The San Francisco 49ers announced nine practice squad signings on Sunday and a tenth on Monday, The first nine players below all spent the entirety of training camp with the 49ers. Zach Golditch spent camp with the Los Angeles Chargers.

WR Steven Dunbar Jr.
TE Ross Dwelley
CB Emmanuel Moseley
QB Nick Mullens
DB Tyvis Powell
DL Niles Scott
LB Pita Taumoepenu
OL Najee Toran
RB Jeff Wilson Jr.
OL Zach Golditch

The practice squad provides released players with a chance to continue their development and work to earn a spot on the 53-man roster this season or into the future. Pita Taumoepenu is the best example right now of a player who did not play much football prior to college, and thus could use a little more development time before he is expected to make an impact on game day.

On the other hand, Nick Mullens is more of an emergency option in case something happens to Jimmy Garoppolo and/or C.J. Beathard. He has shown some things in training camp and the preseason, and will be able to continue developing his craft, but given the 49ers current situation, it’s more about an emergency need.

A year ago, the 49ers practice squad was as follows the first week of the season, followed by their length on the practice squad and/or 53-man roster:

WR DeAndre Carter — all season on PS
OL JP Flynn — all season (last 6 weeks on PS-IR)
TE Cole Hikutini — 5 weeks on PS, 4 weeks on 53-man roster, 7 weeks on IR
CB Asa Jackson — 1 week on PS, 4 weeks on 53-man roster, 11 weeks on IR
QB Nick Mullens — all season on PS
DL Noble Nwachukwu — 5 weeks on PS, off roster for 3 weeks, 3 weeks on PS, rest of season off roster
WR DeAndre Smelter — all season on PS
OL Darrell Williams — 8 weeks on PS, 8 weeks on 53-man roster
RB Jeremy McNichols — 11 weeks on PS, 5 weeks on 53-man roster
RB Ben Boulware — 1 week on practice squad, then released

Over the course of last season, the 49ers promoted five of those players, plus they signed Tyvis Powell to the practice squad and later promoted him. Additionally, they signed three players off other team’s practice squads to their active roster: linebackers Elijah Lee and Mark Nzeocha, and wide receiver Max McCaffrey. An extensive injury list provided numerous opportunities to the 53-man roster.

Looking through the current list of practice squad players, the obvious most likely to be promoted is defensive back Tyvis Powell. He played cornerback and safety in the preseason, provided some versatility the 49ers could use at some point in 2018. If a defensive back gets hurt at any point this season, Powell will get the promotion.

Ross Dwelley is also someone to watch if injury strikes at tight end. George Kittle has dealt with an assortment of bumps, bruises, sprains, and strains during his year and a half with the 49ers. And also, if Cole Wick struggles at some point, Dwelley could end up on the roster.