We’re at the part of the roster where there are key contributors that the San Francisco 49ers will be relying on. For some, it might be for a game here and there. For others, if the Niners can’t get a season worth on contribution, the season won’t go as we all hope. Here are the roster rankings for players 11-20.
20. Tarvarius Moore, S(High: 20, Low: 36, KP: 20)
I’m ashamed. I should have dropped the zero off my ranking. Moore received quite a few votes in the 20s. I imagine we’re all ready for a change at safety, and Moore oozes with upside, so he’s easy to root for. Deep down, I believe Robert Saleh will name Moore the starter for Week 1.
19. Jerick McKinnon, RB(High: 15, Low: 49, KP: 21)
Somebody is not a fan of McKinnon. Wow. I understand the frustration, though. McKinnon was signed to be “the guy,” and injuries have robbed us from seeing the speedy running back. In his absence, did Matt Breida make McKinnon an afterthought?
18. Ahkello Witherspoon, CB(High: 17, Low: 49, KP:19)
Witherspoon had a down season, and some of the staff showed that in our rankings. I’m a little more forgiving, as I don’t think he was as bad as it seemed. Witherspoon’s surroundings will be much better. From the pass rush to the safety help he gets. Witherspoon will be much-improved in fans’ eyes this season.
17. Tevin Coleman, RB(High: 5, Low: 26, KP: 14)
Coleman is going to be a big part of the offense; it’s just figuring out how important he will be. Coleman has always been a big-play threat. He only had a few carries against Denver, but you could see how his speed can turn a three-yard run into a seven-yard run. Those few yards will make a significant difference. They haven’t shown it yet, but Coleman is going to motion out of the backfield, run down the seam against the linebacker, and score. It’s going to happen, and hopefully often.
16. Matt Breida, RB(High: 7, Low: 30, KP: 7)
I have never been a guy that believes you have to weigh a certain amount to get a certain amount of touches. Breida was impressive in 2018. Breida tied for the tenth-most explosive runs last year. His ability in space makes him a valuable asset in the passing game. An asset that I’d like to see get 15-20 touches a game.
15. Jaquiski Tartt, S(High: 7, Low: 25, KP: 20)
Tartt is such a good football player. Health hurts him, and he’s not flashy, so there isn’t much league-wide recognition. When he is on the field, the defense is different. It’s that simple. If you guaranteed me Tartt would play even 13 games, I’d probably have him in the single-digits. We’ve already seen Tartt play more free safety, and I like that change as well.
14. Kwon Alexander, LB(High: 9, Low: 29, KP: 17)
Alexander will make his debut on Saturday, and it’ll be fun to watch him play alongside Fred Warner. Alexander’s impact goes well beyond what he does inside of the white lines. He’ll still need to make plays and cause havoc, though.
13. Dante Pettis, WR(High: 5, Low: 13, KP: 5)
In terms of the ceiling of the 49ers offense, if Pettis gets to where I know he’s capable of, they will be special. That is a lot of projection, though. Pettis probably deserves to be closer to 13 than he does five in the rankings. He hasn’t had a strong training camp, but if he has a strong September, nobody will remember how many drops he had in August.
12. Deebo Samuel, WR(High: 11, Low: 50, KP: 13)
A rookie being higher than Pettis isn’t right. We are talking about Deebo Samuel, and 50 is a slap in the face, but I get that you may want Samuel to prove it during the regular season before you anoint him. Early returns suggest that Samuel is a walking big play. Would you be surprised if Samuel outperformed Pettis this year?
11. Kyle Juszczyk, FB(High: 7, Low: 18, KP: 18)
Juszczyk’s importance in this offense cannot be understated. Because he can line up as a wide receiver, in addition to a tight end, that allows the Niners to get mismatches elsewhere, because defenses have to stay in their base defense. So while the defenses best cornerback may be on Juszczyk, you have Pettis lined up on a linebacker. I’ll be interested to see if Juszczyk is involved in the passing game, even more, this season.