49ers snap count: First-round pick Garnett gets into the action

49ers snap count: First-round pick Garnett gets into the action

While one of the 49ers’ first-round draft picks was inactive due to a foot injury, the other saw his most extensive playing time of the regular season.

Guard Joshua Garnett, whom the 49ers traded up to select at No. 28 overall, replaced right guard Andrew Tiller for 18 snaps in the second half of the 49ers’ 33-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night.

The 49ers' No. 7 overall pick, defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, was inactive for the game due to a left foot injury.

Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, who was listed as questionable with an ankle injury entering the game, not only played – he played all 78 snaps in the game. Kerley has been more than twice as productive as any other wide receiver on the team. He leads the 49ers with 26 receptions for 304 yards and two TDs.

Linebacker Nick Bellore made his first NFL start, and he was one of four 49ers defensive players to play all 68 snaps on that side of the ball. He led the team with nine tackles and a half-sack.

Aaron Lynch made his season debut after serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on substances of abuse. He played 35 snaps, more than any other of the team’s outside linebackers, and recorded two tackles.

Here’s how the 49ers divided their playing time on offense, defense and special teams on Thursday in their 33-21 loss to the Cowboys:

78 snaps
78 -- QB Blaine Gabbert, WR Jeremy Kerley, LT Joe Staley, LG Zane Beadles, C Daniel Kilgore, RT Trent Brown
73 -- WR Torrey Smith
71 -- WR Quinton Patton
64 -- RB Carlos Hyde
61 -- TE Garrett Celek
60 -- RG Andrew Tiller
18 -- RG Joshua Garnett
14 -- TE Blake Bell
9 -- RB Shaun Draughn, WR Rod Streater
6 -- RB Mike Davis
5 -- WR Aaron Burbridge

68 snaps
68 -- LB Nick Bellore, CB Rashard Robinson, FS Eric Reid, SS Antoine Bethea
65 -- CB Tramaine Brock
62 -- DL Arik Armstead
54 -- LB Michael Wilhoite
42 -- S Jaquiski Tartt
40 -- DL Quinton Dial
35 -- LB Aaron Lynch
32 -- LB Eli Harold
29 -- NT Mike Purcell
28 -- LB Ahmad Brooks
25 -- DL Ronald Blair
20 -- DL Taylor Hart
15 -- CB Keith Reaser
10 -- LB Gerald Hodges
9 -- LB Tank Carradine
6 -- DL Tony Jerod-Eddie
2 -- CB Chris Davis
1 -- CB Dontae Johnson

Special teams
32 -- Shayne Skov, Johnson
26 -- Burbridge
21 -- Marcus Cromartie
20 -- Reaser
19 -- Bell, Tartt
17 -- Purcell
16 -- Celek
15 -- Bellore
14 -- Hodges
13 -- Patton, Draughn
11 -- Bradley Pinion, Kyle Nelson, Dial
10 -- C.Davis
9 -- Phil Dawson, Kerley, Robinson
8 -- Wilhoite
7 -- Lynch
6 -- Je’Ron Hamm, M.Davis, Reid, Brooks, Jerod-Eddie
5 -- Streater, Hart
4 -- Staley, Beadles, Tiller, Garnett
3 -- Brown
1 -- Armstead, Carradine

Did not play
QB Colin Kaepernick
C Marcus Martin

Not active
QB Christian Ponder
CB Jimmie Ward
WR Deshawn Martin
OT John Theus
TE Vance McDonald
DL Glenn Dorsey
DL DeForest Buckner

49ers set aside cap space with an eye to the future


49ers set aside cap space with an eye to the future

The first wave of free agency is over, and the 49ers struck quickly.

The club identified two players coach Kyle Shanahan tabbed as fits for his offense and they paid the money it took to get them.

General manager John Lynch said there were five teams seriously interested in free-agent running back Jerick McKinnon. Even more teams were going after center Weston Richburg, he said.

That drove up the prices on McKinnon and Richburg to the point that they rank behind only quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo ($37 million) as taking up the most cap space among the 72 players currently under contract to the 49ers.

McKinnon and Richburg account for $10.5 million and $9.26 million, respectively, on the 49ers' salary cap. Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman's deal takes up $6.175 million on the 49ers' cap this season.

The big spending to attract free agents to the team is likely over. The 49ers have $45.1 million in cap space, according to the NFL Players Association. That figure does not include a projected $8.3 million to sign their 2018 rookie class, according to overthecap.com.

The major spending for this offseason is over because the 49ers have apparently looked to the future and set aside cap space with the idea of retaining some of their own players whose contracts are winding down.

The first decisions for the future must occur by May 3, the deadline for picking up the fifth-year options on first-round picks from the 2015 draft. The 49ers have decisions to make on defensive lineman Arik Armstread and left guard Laken Tomlinson, who was acquired from Detroit in a trade just prior to the start of the 2017 regular season.

It is still unclear how or if Armstead’s skills fit into the 49ers’ defense. He opened last season at the team's pass-rush end before moving to the "big end," which also appears to be first-round pick Solomon Thomas' best position.

Tomlinson showed reasons for the 49ers to be optimistic about his future as his play got better as he acclimated to the offense. Among the guards already on the 49ers’ roster, Tomlinson appears to be the most likely to be a starter in 2018.

Presumptive starting safeties Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents next offseason. Ward’s fifth-year option deal of one-year, $8.526 million became fully guaranteed last Wednesday. But in order for the 49ers to make a multi-year commitment, Ward would likely have to prove he can remain healthy and available for a full season.

DeForest Buckner is likely the target for the next blockbuster contract extension. Buckner has emerged as one of the top young defensive linemen in the league. Next offseason will be the first time the 49ers are permitted to negotiate a multi-year extension with him.

With a scarcity of offensive linemen available in the draft and free agency, right tackle Trent Brown could be set to cash in with an enormous deal next offseason – either with the 49ers or some other team.

DL Arik Armstead
FS Jimmie Ward
SS Jaquiski Tartt
RT Trent Brown
LB Eli Harold
LG Laken Tomlinson
K Robbie Gould
P Bradley Pinion

DL DeForest Buckner
LT Joe Staley
OG Joshua Garnett
DL Ronald Blair
TE Garrett Celek
RB Matt Breida (RFA)
WR Kendrick Bourne (RFA)

Deepest position in the NFL Draft? 49ers VP of Player Personnel weighs in


Deepest position in the NFL Draft? 49ers VP of Player Personnel weighs in

The 49ers concluded the first wave of the free-agent signing period with the signings of players to fill the team’s biggest offseason needs.

--Cornerback. Aqib Talib would have been the answer in a trade with the Denver Broncos, but he wanted to play elsewhere. Instead, the 49ers signed veteran Richard Sherman, whom the Seattle Seahawks cut a day earlier.

--Interior offensive line. Center Weston Richburg was the player the team had rated as their top target in free agency, and they signed him to a lucrative five-year deal.

--Running back. The team decided Jerick McKinnon was a better fit than Carlos Hyde. They wrapped him up with a four-year contract.

--Edge rusher. Lacking many options in free agency, the 49ers signed Jeremiah Attaochu to a one-year contract in hopes he will earn a spot on the team and make a contribution at the “Leo” position.

The 49ers can still use more help at a number of different positions, including cornerback, wide receiver, offensive line, linebacker and edge rusher. While the 49ers might add some role players in the second wave of free agency, most of the major acquisitions at this point are likely to come in the draft.

On the 49ers Insider Podcast, 49ers vice president of player personnel Adam Peters addressed what positions he believes are strong in this year’s draft.

“I think running backs, absolutely. It’s a deep position,” Peters said. “Quarterbacks at the top is deeper than it was last year. Secondary, corners, it’s not deeper than it was last year, but it’s a strong class of corners. Those are the main ones. The offensive line class is a little better than last year, too.”

The 49ers got major contributions from their rookie class last season. Tight end George Kittle, receiver Trent Taylor, quarterback C.J. Beathard, running back Matt Breida, defensive lineman Solomom Thomas, cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, linebacker Reuben Foster and safety Adrian Colbert each played more than 300 snaps.

The 49ers feel good about Witherspoon, a third-round draft pick, as a starter with Sherman on the other side. Peters said a lot of the team’s rookies played larger roles than expected in 2017, but Witherspoon might have been at the top of the list.

“I don’t think he was active for the first four games,” Peters said of Witherspoon. “And he ended up playing at a high level at the end. Really driven, conscientious player who wants to be great. 

"We were lucky we got a chance to play a lot of rookies because that’ll help us moving forward.”