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49ers protect four veteran players on the practice squad from being signed to another team

One of them could very well start Week 1

Los Angeles Chargers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The NFL allows teams to protect four players from their 16-man practice squad every Tuesday during the season. The San Francisco 49ers protected veteran wide receiver Kevin White, edge rusher Dion Jordan, cornerback Dontae Johnson, and center Hroniss Grasu. We’ll know more about Ben Garland’s injury once the initial injury report is released on Wednesday, but he has yet to practice, and it’s been nearly a month since Garland has suited up. After the team did some more shuffling with their roster as injuries mounted, Grasu was the de facto starting center. If there were a game today, Grassu likely would start. The closer we get to Sunday, the more Grasu starting becomes a reality.

The lack of help/depth at edge makes it understandable as to why the team protected Jordan. I’d love to hear the reason for Johnson, who didn’t do much of anything at practice, but “knows the defense.”

I wonder if the offensive staff will turn White into their “project” and groom him. He’s big, fast, and strong. Health has been an issue throughout White’s career, but the 49ers will be thin at wideout in the future, so developing talent like White would make sense. I’ll be curious to see if he’s called up at some point during the season, and who else the team protects weekly.