When you look at the roster for the 2019 San Francisco 49ers, you notice a few things different in Kyle Shanahan/John Lynch’s third year. For one thing, they kept seven wide receivers as opposed to their usual six. They also kept four tight ends as opposed to their usual two (plus one that plays roster musical chairs).
The wide receivers was something expected, just not for these reasons. I said a few weeks back that keeping seven wide receivers, given the offense the 49ers run and the talent in the group made sense. Well, the 49ers kept seven, but for different reasons. Both Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd are questionable for Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being the main reason. There could be some adjustments when Taylor and Hurd return to the team, but for now it looks like the 49ers are a bit cautious.
So then there’s the tight ends. The 49ers have four tight ends. Ross Dwelley had a couple frustrating drops, but he also showed more good than bad. Behind him they have Kaden Smith who they drafted and then Levine Toilolo. Don’t be surprised if you see this position have a bit of fluctuation with roster decisions. Especially spot No. 4.
In 2018, the 49ers third tight end was in a state of flux. It would make sense to think the fourth one for 2019 would be in the same position. If there is any position that is the sacrificial lamb for 2019, it’s going to be tight end.
Is it a lot of tight ends? Sure, but the 49ers use their tight ends an awful lot and George Kittle is going to need someone to take the edge off over the middle. In fact the whole reason the 49ers did this is for George Kittle to have some of the weight taken off him. The 49ers are going to need him and adding unnecessary tread to his tires through the season is less than ideal.
It’s a bit unorthodox, but the roster makes sense and it’s nothing too crazy. If you want to know crazy, you could be the Atlanta Falcons. They have more running backs than the 49ers. Not one, not two more. The Atlanta Falcons have six running backs on the active roster. Just as many wide receivers.
I don’t know what any team can do with six running backs but my guess is there’s some special teams value for some of those guys. Regardless, the 49ers moves aren’t crazy. If you want crazy, look at what the Falcons did.