The San Francisco 49ers were in high hopes last year when landing a top quarterback who sat behind as someone would say the G.O.A.T of football Tom Brady. But that hope fell short when Jimmy Garoppolo got injured early in the season and had to put future plans on the back burner but with the backup quarterback, Nick Mullens, who took charge of the offense and showed that they were only missing one piece.

With a young 1,000 yard receiving tight end at the tight end position and many young core pieces on the offense, the future is bright. Add a veteran and Super Bowl-winning safety teaching the young defensive core, you could see the uprise in the organization.

With the preseason cuts officially completed and the 53-man roster is set (for now), here are my thoughts on the roster heading into the 2019 season.


Credit: Denny Medley/USA Today Sports
  • Starter: Jimmy Garoppolo
  • Backups: Nick Mullens, C.J. Beathard

Garoppolo was labeled as the next big quarterback to come to save the 49ers organization. After sitting behind Tom Brady for the majority of his career, you could say he was learning from the best in the game. With his injury last season, it put a damper on the expectations of them getting back to being a Super Bowl-caliber team. Mullens has separated himself as the primary backup QB. Beathard is the third QB.

Running Backs

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  • Starters: Matt Breida (RB), Kyle Juszczyk (FB)
  • Backups: Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert

With Jerrick McKinnon having a setback on his knee injury from last season, the explosive duo of Breida and Coleman have taken over as the feature backs. Mostert had an impressive training camp and preseason while Juszczyk is back as the teams starting fullback.

Wide Receivers

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  • Starters: Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel
  • Backups: Jalen Hurd, Richie James Jr., Trent Taylor, Kendrick Bourne

The speedy veteran Goodwin, the do-it-all youngster Pettis, and the rookie Samuel look to be locked in the starting lineup. There was a battle throughout the preseason for the last couple of spots at the receiver position and with the release of Jordan Mathews, the backups look to make an impression early now that the regular season rolls around.

An overall solid young group that looks to form early connections with Garoppolo.

Tight Ends

Credit: John Hefti/Associated Press
  • Starter: George Kittle
  • Backups: Levine Toilolo, Kaden Smith, Ross Dwelley

After coming off a tremendous season this past year, we look for Kittle to excel more this year. It’s very rare for a tight end to have a thousand-yard season and with as many career-high games. Kittle has established himself as one of the best and most complete tight ends in the league. Toilolo is a solid backup who is a very good blocker. Smith is a solid blocker as well as a sixth-round pick who seemed underutilized in the passing game at Stanford. We look for Kittle to take the majority of the snaps this upcoming season and with Garoppolo coming back, we hope they find an immediate connection when it comes to being a dominating duo.

Offensive Line

Credit: San Francisco 49ers Website
  • Starters: Joe Staley, Laken Tomlinson, Ben Garland, Mike Person, Mike McGlinchey
  • Backups: Weston Richburg, Justin Skule, Daniel Brunskill

A solid overall group here to protect Garaoppolo. No major surprises here except for the release of former 2016 first-round pick Joshua Garnett.

Defensive Line

Credit: USA Today Sports
  • Starters: Dee Ford, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa
  • Backups: Solomon Thomas, Sheldon Day, D.J. Jones, Ronald Blair III, Kentavius Street, Kevin Givens

San Francisco already had a pretty good line, but the additions of this offseason make this defensive line outright scary. They already had very good players in Buckner in Armstead while Day is a solid veteran player as well. They were able to add excellent speed on the edge by trading for Ford. Bosa has looked every bit the part of the second overall pick when he has been healthy.


Credit: Kim Klement/USA Today Sports
  • Starters: Dre Greenlaw, Fred Warner, Kwon Alexander
  • Backups: Mark Nzeocha, Azeez Al-Shaair

Warner will look to build off his impressive rookie season from a year ago while Alexander will help solidify the weakside linebacker position. The excellent play of Greenlaw has made Malcolm Smith expendable, who the 49ers already cut earlier this week. Nzeocha and Al-Shaair will provide depth while also helping on Special Teams.


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  • Starters: Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon
  • Backups: K’Waun Williams, Jason Verrett, DJ Reed Jr., Emmanuel Moseley

Sherman will look to bounce back after a disappointing and injury-hampered first season in San Francisco. The long, raw, and athletic Witherspoon will look to continue to improve opposite Sherman. Williams is a versatile veteran who can play inside or outside. Verrett rarely seems to be healthy but has been a very good cornerback when on the field. Reed provides depth as a prototypical nickel cornerback while Jimmie Ward is actually a safety with very good cover skills to play corner as well.


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  • Starters: Jaquiski Tartt, Tarvarius Moore
  • Backups: Jimmie Ward

Tartt and Moore will provide a physical presence on the back end of the defense. As stated before, Ward is mainly a safety that is the only backup right now. Look for San Francisco to add another safety before the season starts.


Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
  • Kicker: Robbie Gould
  • Punter: Mitch Wishnowsky
  • Long Snapper: Colin Holba
  • Suspended: Kyle Nelson

Robbie Gould has been one of the best kickers in the game for quite some time now. Wishnowsky was the best punter prospect in the draft this year, hence the 49ers picking him in the fourth round. The younger Holba is the long snapper for now but it’ll be interesting to see what they plan to do with Nelson, who is set to serve the remaining six games from a 10 game suspension he received last season.

As the preseason ends and the regular season starts, you can’t tell Jimmy is still working off the rust from sitting out of the majority of last season and getting back into football shape. Of course, you’re going to see a few errors here and there from somebody who sat out that long, but who would not go through those troubles when coming back from an injury?

As Kyle Shanahan comes back for his second season, you can see he’s still trying to figure out his place as the head coach. Look for him to adjust a little bit more and feel more comfortable at his new role.

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