The 49ers pulled out a 15-10 victory in their second preseason game of the year against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. It was an ugly football game from both sides, giving both coaching staffs plenty of material to focus on heading into the regular season.
With several notable players on both teams sitting out, there weren’t many signature performances from the big names. Still, there were several 49ers on the fringes of the roster that impacted their stock.
Stock Unchanged: Jimmy Garoppolo & Trey Lance
There were plusses and minuses from both Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance’s performances, but not enough to move either’s stock in any direction. Shanahan was unwilling to name a Week 1 starter at the end of the game.
As I mentioned in my stock report from the 49ers preseason opener, it’s hard to convince me that Lance’s arm strength and running ability don’t more than make up for any shortcomings he has compared to Jimmy G. However, I’d still guess that Garoppolo is going to get the nod to start the year.
Stock Up: Zach Kerr, DL
The 49ers' defensive line will cut some players that will end up on other rosters heading into the regular season. So it wouldn’t be shocking to pull off a minor trade or two to recoup some draft capital from the group.
As the Niners line took advantage of an already weak Chargers offensive line, Zach Kerr was one of several players consistently overpowering opposing blockers. However, Kerr has appeared in 88 NFL games over his seven-year career, and the front office might lean towards the more youthful options given the unit’s strength, which could leave Kerr on the outside looking in.
Still, Kerr has played well enough to earn a spot on someone’s 53-man roster, even if it’s not in San Francisco.
Stock Down: Nate Sudfeld, QB
Sudfeld was solidified as the third quarterback on the depth chart behind Lance and Garoppolo when Josh Rosen was released earlier this week. However, it’s far from certain that Shanahan will be as willing to retain three signal callers on the roster now that he has two viable options.
Given the Niners' surplus of talent, Sudfeld has to convince the front office that he has enough long-term value to justify releasing a player at a different position who could contribute this season. Sudfeld’s never been known for any standout tools, but it feels like he’ll need to make some big-time plays to avoid being released. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to do that on Sunday.
Stock Up: Alex Barrett, DL
If Kerr is let go, it could very well be in favor of Barrett, who has been in the organization, mostly on the practice squad, since 2019. Barrett appeared in seven games for the 49ers last year when their line was decimated by injuries, and he’s been all over the backfield through their first two preseason games. He only recorded one tackle in Sunday’s win, but there were multiple tackles for loss where Barrett’s pressure clearly impacted the play.
Stock Down: Jaylon Moore, LT
It has been a difficult preseason for the 49ers rookie offensive line class. Second-round pick Aaron Banks missed some big blocks last week before suffering a shoulder injury, and Moore hasn’t faired much better in either preseason affair.
Moore got beat around the edge on the 49ers' two-point conversion attempt and negated Lance’s score with a holding penalty, and whiffed on a run block that led running back Wayne Gallman to get absolutely blown up in the backfield.
Moore was considered a projection prospect when he was drafted, and it’s becoming apparent that the 49ers will have problems on the left side of their offensive line if Trent Williams and Shon Coleman are unable to play by the start of the regular season.
Stock Up: Jared Mayden, S
While the 49ers' cornerback depth remains a question, the play of their safeties up-and-down the depth chart has alleviated some concerns about their secondary. Talanoa Hufanga was once again all over the field, making another tackle in the opposing backfield, but Mayden had a signature performance of his own, recording an assisted tackle and an interception.
Mayden showed good anticipation and hands to step in front of a bad pass from Chase Daniel in stride and head the other way. Given the notoriously bad hands of 49ers safeties Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt, Mayden flashed the ability to generate some big plays for the defense when the opportunity arises.
Stock Down; Dakoda Shepley, C
Sudfeld and Shepley had some obvious struggles in the second half. For example, on the same drive, Shepley held off on a snap that resulted in a delay of game penalty before seeming to hesitate again on a snap a couple of plays later that resulted in a fumble.
To be fair to the Canadian Football veteran, Sudfeld could have been at fault for both mistakes, but given Shepley’s extensive pro experience up north, he’s likely expected to find chemistry with quarterbacks quicker than younger players. With a bevy of recent draft picks competing for a spot on the 53-man roster as a backup lineman, Shepley didn’t do himself any favors against the Chargers.