When the San Francisco 49ers waived K Chase McLaughlin on Tuesday, they opened up a roster spot. With two defensive backs hobbled, there’s a chance that a player in the secondary could fill a roster spot. The Niners are also banged up along the offensive line. Julian Taylor will miss at least two weeks with a ligament issue, and D.J. Jones is day-to-day with an ankle injury. Due to the number of bodies the 49ers rotate upfront, the defensive line is probably a more pressing need. With that in mind, the team is opening the practice window for defensive end Kentavius Street today, per NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco.
Street hasn’t played in a regular-season NFL game after missing his rookie season because of a torn ACL he suffered during a pre-draft workout. This past preseason, Street was competing for a roster spot but underwent arthroscopic knee surgery towards the end of August, which forced the 49ers to place Street on injured reserve to start the season. By opening his practice window, Street can practice with the team for up to three weeks before the 49ers either activate him, release him, or leave him on injured reserve. If the team chooses not to activate Street, his season will be over.
Among the 41 players that stepped on the field this past preseason, Street played 108 snaps and had a 42.9 PFF grade, which would put him 39 out of 41. Street did have two sacks, but four defensive linemen created more pressure than him on far fewer snaps. The same can be said for stops. That’s preseason, though. You’re not game-planning for any opponent. If the Niners do activate Street, I wonder what is role may be. Maiocco said that Street could be active on Sunday. Of the 108 snaps Street played in the preseason, only nine of them came at defensive tackle.
Per The Athletic’s Matt Barrows, the 49ers will also sign S Antone Exum, who is a familiar face. Exum started seven games for the team in 2019 and was on the roster earlier this year for three games. The reason for adding Exum comes at the cost of losing Jaquiski Tartt, who fractured his ribs when he took a knee to his back against the Ravens. Technically, Tartt hasn’t been ruled out for Sunday’s game, but this move would indicate that Tartt won’t suit up. With a much different offense, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will need to decide which safety he wants to use against New Orleans. There will be some shuffling, either way.