The 15-year-old in me thinks that Willie Beavers owns one of the best names to come through a San Francisco 49ers locker room since Dan Bunz. That name is all he has going for him though. A 2016 draft pick, Beavers was taken in the fourth round by the Minnesota Vikings. He didn’t make it through the season, instead getting released during roster cuts and going to the practice squad.
A fourth round pick, cut and sent to the practice squad. Even the 49ers running back blunder in Joe Williams didn’t get that treatment; the 49ers had the peace of mind to stash Williams on injured reserve.
So that’s a bad sign? Well, Beavers was promoted to the active roster that year and saw action in two games.
And that’s pretty much it for his active career in the National Football League.
Beavers was waived in 2017 and thus his incredible journey across the NFL began. First stop, the New England Patriots. Within the span of just over two weeks, he was released. In November of 2017, he returned to the Vikings, but was released again seven days later. Next was the Seattle Seahawks where he finished the 2017 season, signed a futures contract and was waived once more in final roster cuts of 2018.
He found his way to the Chicago Bears after leaving the Seahawks, but was again waived in early 2019. This led to him coming to Santa Clara.
So that many years, teams, waives, signings and two games to show for it. Yeah, you know how this may end. But maybe all this practice squad playtime has him developed into a competent backup guard?
Experience: 0 accrued seasons, four years on practice squads/brief roster call-ups
Weight: 324 pounds
He is in the first year of a two-year deal. His salary for 2019 is $570,000.
What to expect in 2019
While in 2018 the 49ers offensive line went leaps and bounds ahead of the subpar units we’ve been subjected to in prior years, they still could use some help on the interior. Mike Person and Laken Tomlinson have the positions locked down for now, but they are not in any way safe if someone were to impress. Unless if Kyle Shanahan makes decisions based on cool names, it’s hard to see Beavers impressing for a starting job. He could carve himself a backup role depending on how the other guard prospects turn out. Joshua Garnett in particular has to be on thin ice, and if Beavers beats him in anything, it might be indicative of his [Garnett’s] career.
But if we’re looking at reality, expect a practice squad veteran to show some things during camp and not much else.
Odds of making the roster
Beavers is a Game 4 preseason starter. Unless some catastrophe were to happen to the offensive line and the depth, that’s what he’s staring at. While there were not any guards taken in the 2019 NFL Draft, there is swing tackle depth and guards with experience in Kyle Shanahan’s system that Beavers doesn’t have.
Unless he’s learned a lot from the NFL bouncing around the league, he’s a camp body at the end of the day.