The 49ers got more playing time out of their rookie class than any team in the league. And it was not even close.
According to Pro Football Focus, 49ers rookies combined for 5,033 snaps on offense and defense during the 2017 regular season. The New Orleans Saints were second at 4,267 snaps.
Within the NFC West, the Los Angeles Rams were second with 2,975 rookie snaps, followed by Seattle (2,242) and Arizona (1,515).
In all, 17 rookies played on offense and defense for the 49ers last season. All but one of those players (Lorenzo Jerome) remains with the organization.
* * *
Rookie snaps: 2,313
TE George Kittle
591 snaps (15 games, 7 starts)
Kittle, a fifth-round draft pick from Iowa, caught at least one pass in every game in which he appeared. Garrett Celek replaced him as the starter in the second half of the season, but Kittle still led 49ers tight ends with 43 receptions for 515 yards and two touchdowns.
WR Trent Taylor
493 snaps (15 games, 2 starts)
Taylor proved to be reliable in the slot, as well as in the return game. The fifth-round pick from Louisiana Tech caught 43 passes for 430 yards and two touchdowns, while also averaging 9.4 yards on 30 punt returns.
QB C.J. Beathard
390 snaps (7 games, 5 starts)
A third-round pick from Iowa, Beathard showed signs of being a reliable backup during his five-game stint as the starter. He replaced struggling Brian Hoyer as the starter before he stepped aside for Jimmy Garoppolo.
RB Matt Breida
309 snaps (16 games, 0 starts)
The undrafted rookie from Georgia Southern proved to be a nice complementary piece behind starter Carlos Hyde. Breida flashed some big-play ability in his role. He gained 465 yards and two touchdowns on 105 rushing attempts, while catching 21 passes for 180 yards.
WR Kendrick Bourne
282 snaps (11 games, no starts)
He made the team after signing as a free agent out of Eastern Washington. After not being allowed to participate in the offseason program, Bourne showed enough promise to make the team. He caught 16 passes for 257 yards and has a chance to make a big jump in his second season with a full offseason program.
OL Erik Magnuson
186 snaps (4 games, 2 starts)
Signed as an undrafted player from Michigan, Magnuson showed enough as an interior lineman during training camp to win a roster spot. He played right tackle after injuries to Trent Brown and Garry Gilliam. But Magnuson sustained a severe foot sprain and went on injured reserve after two starts.
TE Cole Hikutini
32 snaps (4 games, 0 starts)
An undrafted rookie from Louisville, Hikutini’s strength is as a receiver. After opening the season on the practice squad, Hikutini was promoted after five games. He caught two passes for 15 yards before sustaining a knee sprain that ended his season.
WR Victor Bolden
27 snaps (9 games, 0 starts)
Bolden, an undrafted player from Oregon State, made the team in large part due to his return skills. He averaged 20.8 yards on 19 kickoff returns and 5.8 yards on four punt returns. He finished the season on injured reserve due to an ankle injury.
OL Darrell Williams
3 snaps (7 games, 0 starts)
Williams opened the season on the practice squad after signing with the 49ers as an undrafted rookie from Western Kentucky. He was promoted to the active roster for the final eight games of the season. Williams is considered extremely raw but will compete for a roster spot in training camp.
* * *
Rookie snaps: 2,720
DL Solomon Thomas
696 snaps (14 games, 12 starts)
The 49ers had Thomas rated behind only Myles Garrett on their draft board. The 49ers selected the Stanford product with the third overall pick. Thomas recorded 41 tackles and three sacks. With the experience gained as a rookie, the 49ers expect his production to take a big leap in his second year.
CB Ahkello Witherspoon
660 snaps (12 games, 9 starts)
Witherspoon, a third-round draft pick from Colorado, took over for Rashard Robinson, whom the club deemed as unreliable and shipped off to the N.Y. Jets in a trade. Witherspoon made tremendous strides from looking overmatched at times in training camp. He recorded two interceptions and ended up being one of the bright spots on defense.
LB Reuben Foster
553 snaps (10 games, 10 starts)
Foster battled injuries to his ankle and ribs, but performed at a high level when he was on the field. He was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for November. The 49ers had Foster rated as the No. 3 prospect on their draft board and obtained him at No. 31 overall, after a trade with Seattle. There are already concerns about the 2018 season, however, after Foster was arrested this offseason on marijuana possession in Alabama, as well as alleged domestic violence, threats and possession of an assault weapon in Los Gatos. The 49ers have given no indication they plan to release him as the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office determines whether to pursue charges.
DB Adrian Colbert
530 snaps (14 games, 6 starts)
Colbert proved to be one of the bright spots from the rookie class. After he was forced into the lineup after injuries to Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt, the seventh-round pick from Miami played at a high level. He also showed his toughness when he got back into the lineup after missing just one game following thumb surgery in November.
DL D.J. Jones
147 snaps (9 games, 0 starts)
Jones, a true nose tackle, was selected in the sixth round of the draft from Ole Miss. He had a spot in the defensive line rotation to open the season but was inactive for the final six games.
DB Lorenzo Jerome
72 snaps (4 games, 0 starts)
After being one of the stories of training camp, Jerome quickly fell out of favor with the 49ers due to his inability to perform special teams at a high level. The 49ers waived him after claiming safety Dexter McCoil off waivers from the L.A. Chargers.
CB Greg Mabin
44 snaps (6 games, 0 starts)
Mabin originally signed with Tampa Bay as an undrafted rookie from Iowa. The Buccaneers and Buffalo waived him before he ended up on the 49ers’ practice squad. He was promoted to the 53-man roster at the beginning of November due to a rash of injuries to the 49ers' defensive backs.
LB Elijah Lee
18 snaps (14 games, 0 starts)
The 49ers had their eye on Elijah Lee, a seventh-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings from Kansas State. The club signed him off the Vikings’ practice squad on Sept. 13, and he played a role primarily on special teams.