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Golden Nuggets: Which draft picks from the 49ers aren’t locks to make the roster?

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Sunday, July 18, 2021

Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

In today’s nuggets, you’ll read why Trey Lance is a good bet for OROY, which draft picks aren’t locked to make the roster, whether George Kittle will reach six touchdowns, Jimmie Ward on Matt Stafford, and the 49ers newest cheerleader.

Why Trey Lance is a Good Bet to be the Offensive Rookie of the Year

But nationally, lots of casual fans seem to think Lance will be the 49ers starting quarterback, as well as the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Lance is the most popular bet to win that award, according to BetMGM.

In this case, I believe the casual fans have it right.

The local die hards say Lance started only 17 games in at a Division 1-AA school, so the speed of the NFL game will be too much for him at first.

But Carson Wentz went to the same Division 1-AA school — North Dakota State — and he started 16 games as a rookie. The speed of the NFL wasn’t too much for him. He clearly was ready to start as a rookie, because he’s an elite athlete.

Lance is an even better athlete than Wentz. And Lance started only six fewer games than Wentz in college, and posted better numbers across the board. Which means Lance is the superior prospect.

49ers: 3 players from 2021 NFL Draft who aren’t locks to make roster

No. 2: 49ers Running Back Elijah Mitchell

Like Jaylon Moore, rookie running back Elijah Mitchell gets a little bit of a boost to his roster chances, thanks to the offseason injury to another veteran runner, Jeff Wilson Jr., who’ll be out four to six months with a meniscus tear.

But even with Wilson out of the picture in the immediate future, Mitchell still faces an uphill climb to crack the roster.

The Niners have essentially cemented Trey Sermon and Raheem Mostert in as RBs 1 and 2, and the pecking order is probably up to your preference right now. Both will make the cut, though, barring injury.

Assuming San Francisco keeps four running backs, however, that’ll leave Mitchell competing with one returning player, JaMycal Hasty, and one free-agent addition, Wayne Gallman, for the fourth and likely final spot on the depth chart by Week 1.

Will George Kittle Have Over or Under 5.5 Touchdowns in 2021?

But the one area that has plagued Kittle is scoring. He struggles to find the endzone. Kittle’s best output in touchdowns was in 2019 when he tallied five. For a superb talent like he is, that doesn’t do himself any justice. Part of the reason he doesn’t get as many touchdowns is because he misses time due to injury and because he doesn’t have a quarterback who can get him higher numbers. That is why Draftkings Sportsbook has set the over/under at 5.5 touchdowns for Kittle.

So will Kittle have over or under 5.5 touchdowns in 2021?

I’m going to have to go with the over.

I am saying over for two reasons. The first being because he HAS to generate more scoring. The 49ers are paying him all this money and so far he hasn’t been able to meet that, mainly due to health. 2021 needs to be a savage year for him where he just goes off. He is more than capable of doing it.

Ward calls out Stafford for career record in playoffs

“I like Stafford, but they still will have the same players that he’ll be throwing the ball to. He’s the same quarterback who was on the Detroit Lions and they still didn’t go to the playoffs, and they had Megatron (Calvin Johnson),” Ward told Cohn. ”What was the problem over there in Detroit? Are you going to blame the city? What was the problem? Was it the money? If they city didn’t have enough money to bring players over there, why even have an NFL team? That’s a big question mark.

Meet 49ers newest cheerleader: Air Force Lt. Haley McClain Hill

Gameday is pretty much every day for 26-year-old 1st Lt. Haley McClain Hill, having just been named to the 49ers Gold Rush squad for the upcoming season while also leading more than 300 airmen at Beale Air Force Base as a section commander.

“I correlate being an NFL cheerleader, it kind of brings the sassy, feminine side to the military. That is very rare,” McClain Hill said.

What also is rare is her passion and drive to bring both sides of her life together on a new clothing line called Torch.

“It’s for more modern-day women warriors,” McClain Hill explained. “At the end of the day, women nowadays want to feel feminine, they want to feel confident and sometimes it’s hard to do that when you are in a uniform that doesn’t accentuate, breed or inspire authenticity.”