Now that we’ve had the chance to watch the San Francisco 49ers play a preseason football game, I’ll be interested to see how these rankings are received. We are getting into the heart of the roster, as today we get to players ranked 31-40.
40. Mitch Wishnowsky, P(High: 28, Low: 45, KP: 45)
The rookie punter can really boom it. He’s flirted with five-second hang times consistently. Wishnowsky could be Andy Lee 2.0, and I’d still struggle to rank him higher than 30, or the fourth-best wide receiver on the roster.
39. Anton Exum, FS(High: 35, Low: 68, KP: 42)
This is a good spot for Exum. The veteran free safety may not have the upside as Tarvarius Moore, but he’s the type of wily veteran you want in the secondary that can help the young guys both on and off the field.
38. Malcolm Smith, LB(High: 34, Low: 85, KP: 53)
85. Dang. Smith was consistently in the ‘30s, save for three votes. He’s a veteran. Smith “knows” what to do in this defense. Does he execute? Eh. I’d go ceiling over safe in this case. Honestly, safe may not even be accurate. If I were to make a bingo card for practice, Smith being beat on a wheel route would be on there.
37. Mike Person, G(High: 21, Low: 37, KP: 22)
Person is going to be one of the more important players on the team. His value comes in his availability. The journeymen offensive linemen simply needs to be competent. You don’t need a “Mike Iupati” in this offense for success. Person proved his worth and received a new contract. It still feels like he has something to prove in 2019.
36. Richie James, WR(High: 36, Low: 85, KP: 85)
I can explain. This was off the heels of some terrible play during OTAs. James seemed like an afterthought with the added weapons this offseason.
I was wrong.
Judging by the first preseason game, it’s evident that Kyle Shanahan wants to see what he has in James. He passed the first test, but I wouldn’t call him a lock just yet.
35. Sheldon Day, DT(High: 35, Low: 52, KP: 35)
Day had four votes at No. 35. He is a solid rotational piece that will be vital in short-yardage situations. Day may not fill up the box score, but he has enough value to the defense where this feels like a fair ranking for the defensive tackle.
34. Jason Verrett, CB(High: 15, Low: 34, KP: 15)
I was setup! There hasn’t been any new news on Verrett’s ankle injury. All we know is that he will miss the preseason and be reevaluated at some point this month to see if Verrett will be ready for the season. Talent-wise, he belongs in the top-20. When you realize that it’s becoming more of a myth, he probably belongs in the ‘60s.
33. K’Waun Williams, CB(High: 16, Low: 33, KP: 33)
The staff is high on Williams. I want more production out of my nickel cornerback. He doesn’t have to lead the league in interceptions, but there has to be more ball production than K’Waun has produced. The slot cornerback position is his until DJ Reed or Emmanuel Moseley become consistent.
32. Ronald Blair, Edge(High: 20, Low: 45, KP: 44)
Blair is good enough to be on the roster, but I’m not sure he’s the best option to be your third edge rusher. Robert Saleh speaks highly of Blair. He’s not going anywhere, nor should he. Blair hustles and could be the beneficiary of several “clean up sacks” this season.
31. Kendrick Bourne, WR(High: 26, Low: 52, KP: 34)
Bourne struggled in a preseason game. He also showed he could be an asset to the Niners in 2018. Like many of the younger players on the roster, consistency is critical. Shanahan gave him an opportunity to shine Week 1, and Bourne didn’t come through. He’ll have plenty more chances to cement himself on the roster during August.