The first wave of free agency has passed. The San Francisco 49ers may add a veteran wide receiver or defensive tackle, but we’ve seen the extent of the “splash” moves. The 49ers are going to look different next year. They’ll have a new starting defensive tackle, wide receiver, as well as a starting right guard. The offense could have a new slot wideout as well. Let’s take a look at the Niners depth chart with the NFL Draft just over a month away.
The starters will be listed in bold.
Nick Mullens, C.J. Beathard
Thoughts: The Tom Brady circus is over, and we stopped the Kirk Cousins train before it got going. Jimmy G had a very good season in 2019. He also must improve if the 49ers are going to remain contenders.
Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, Jerick McKinnon, Jeff Wilson
Thoughts: Three million in 2020 for Breida is still steep, considering he fell out of favor. I prefer to keep cycling through late-round running backs. McKinnon was cleared to practice, per John Lynch. He will bring a different dynamic that’s not on this roster. Even after two years of not playing, I understand the move to keep Jet around.
We’ll see what happens with Coleman. No matter who is in the running back room come Week 1, Mostert showed that he deserves to lead the team in carries next season. Even if it’s for a season, it’s not out of the question to think Mostert can be in the top 7-10 rushers next season.
Kendrick Bourne, Dante Pettis, Trent Taylor, Jalen Hurd, Marquise Goodwin, Richie James
We can say with certainty that Deebo is the No. 1 receiver on the team now that Emmanuel Sanders signed a deal with the Saints. After that? Who knows. Bourne was the team’s No. 3 receiver this past season. A healthy Trent Taylor bumps Bourne out of the lineup. Just from a talent standpoint, Hurd is one of the top three options on the roster as of now. Assuming both Taylor and Hurd will be healthy is a projection at this point. The best-case scenario is the lightbulb comes on for Pettis, and the 49ers can count on the wideout to take a significant step in his third season.
James is a wildcard, but with the team linked to free agent Phillip Dorsett, that signals James will be nothing more than a returner/gadget player. While Goodwin remains on the roster, that will be a surprise if he still is a 49er come Week 1. There will be a lot of pressure on the rookie wide receiver the 49ers draft, especially if it’s with their first pick.
Joe Staley, Laken Tomlinson, Weston Richburg, Mike McGlinchey
Daniel Brunskill, Ben Garland, Justin Skule, Shon Coleman, Tom Compton
Brunskill should get the first crack at right guard if nothing else on the roster changes. Some mock drafts have the 49ers taking an interior lineman at No. 31; others have the Niners drafting Staley’s replacement in the first round and said player starting at guard for a season. To me, the offensive line is in a lot better shape than fans realize. Person was a hard-worker and loved in the locker room, but his limitations hurt the team at the most critical times.
The reason I’m obnoxiously high on Brunskill is that he played 475 snaps, and the only defender to “eat his lunch” was the best player in the NFL. He played well enough to compete for a spot. Now we’ll see if the 49ers bring anyone else in to challenge Brunskill other than Compton.