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49ers roster rankings 31-40: A few X-Factors that the Niners will rely on this season

We’re now into the part of the rankings where each player will be a contributor

Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

We only have a few more rankings left. Here are the players ranked from 90-81, from 80-71, 70-61, 60-51, and 50-41. Today, we’ll go a few X-factors, contributors, and role players, starting with a former top-five first-round pick.

40: DL Solomon Thomas; High: 36, Low: 51, KP: 43

I think all nine of us that participated struggled on where to put Thomas. The good news for Thomas’s 2019 season was when he did make a play; it was at or behind the line of scrimmage. His average depth of tackle against the run was the best on the team. As you may have guessed, the bad news was that Thomas simply didn’t make enough plays, especially in December, when San Francisco’s defensive line was depleted after injuries. Will this be the last season we see Thomas in the Bay Area?

39: QB Nick Mullens; High: 18, Low: 57, KP: 57

There were a few votes in the 50s for Mullens, but nobody was as low on BDN as I was. Mullens is a capable QB and proved to be one under Kyle Shanahan. I do think fans inflated his production after the Raiders game when Mullens was a starter. To me, last year showed us the type of player Mullens is, and he never stepped onto the field.

38: S Marcell Harris; High: 37, Low: 42, KP: 41

Harris was the player we agreed on the most out of the entire roster. Harris, in the right role, can be a productive player in the NFL. Harris needs to trust himself when he sees the play and learn to stay on his feet when tackling. He’s better in pass coverage than fans realize. At his best, Harris is playing in the middle of the field in the 49ers “eraser” role.

37: LB AzeezAl-Shaair; High: 41, Low: 52, KP: 42

Al-Shaair can play. He looked like a UDFA last year when he was thrown into the mix. Azeez was coming off a knee injury that he suffered in college, so 2020 will give us a better idea of what Al-Shaair can bring to the table. He’ll likely be a special teamer again this season, but if Kwon Alexander is released next offseason, Al-Shaair could slide into the role of SAM.

36: WR Dante Pettis; High: 27, Low: 44, KP: 38

Pettis not being able to assert himself last year was troubling. Contact was a big issue, and Pettis never made his way out of Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse. Pettis’s DVOA last season was -28.1%. He only caught 46% of his passes, and never was on the same page as Jimmy Garoppolo. Pettis put a lot of bad film on tape last season. Pettis needs the ball in his hands to regain confidence, and the best way to do that, in my opinion, would be to let him return punts.

35: OL Ben Garland; High: 28, Low: 44, KP: 32

Garland proved to be a lifesaver for the 49ers down the stretch. His season didn’t start well after a bad snap that led to Seattle’s points during the regular season. Garland only had four blown blocks in the nine games he appeared in. Bringing back the versatile veteran was a wise decision by San Francisco.

34: DL Jullian Taylor; High: 28, Low: 49, KP: 35

I love what Taylor brings to the table and feel like he’s the player the coaching staff wants Solly to be. Taylor has a brutal injury history and will begin the season on the PUP list. Taylor is strong, athletic, and has the length that’s coveted by the front office. He held his own inside in limited action last season and splashed more than I expected. Hopefully, he’s healthy down the stretch and can help out this year.

33: RB Jerick McKinnon; High: 22, Low: 45, KP: 36

McKinnon has received an overwhelming amount of support from his teammates this offseason. Shanahan as well. We have yet to see McKinnon during a regular-season game, but it’s hard not to fall for his offseason workouts. If healthy, McKinnon will be the team’s biggest X-Factor this season.

32: RB Tevin Coleman; High: 24, Low: 45, KP: 37

Coleman’s stats compared to Raheem Mostert’s paint a perfect picture: The two aren’t comparable. Coleman’s rushing DVOA was -15.3%. He left a lot, and I mean a lot of meat on the bone last year. He was supposed to have value in the receiving game, but Shanahan didn’t use him. I do think Coleman is a serviceable backup, but 2019 was a disappointment.

31: WR Trent Taylor; High: 28, Low: 47, KP: 29

Taylor should provide Garoppolo with a much-needed security blanket underneath. The two have obvious chemistry together, and that should go a long way in converting first downs next season. What I’m most curious to see, especially now that the 49ers have legitimate talent on the perimeter, is if Taylor has the same value as he did a couple of seasons ago. We’ll find out if Taylor has lost any quickness after five foot surgeries. If not, he’ll have a significant role on offense this season.