49ers' new unofficial depth chart provides update on position battles

49ers' new unofficial depth chart provides update on position battles

Unofficial depth charts are exactly that. Unofficial.

There's usually very little truth you can glean from an unofficial preseason depth chart, but the one the 49ers released Tuesday offers an updated glimpse at some of the key position battles throughout the roster.

Backup Quarterback

The new unofficial depth chart lists an 'or' between C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens, meaning it's a dead heat for the backup QB job, or at least that's what they'd have you believe.

Beathard came on in relief of Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco's 24-15 win over the Broncos on Monday night, completing five of 11 passes for 81 yards. It's worth noting, however, that he likely would have had a long touchdown pass if not for a bad drop by Kendrick Bourne.

Still, while Mullens came on after Beathard, he didn't waste his opportunity. Mullens completed two of three passes for 27 yards and the 49ers' lone passing touchdown on the evening, an absolutely perfectly thrown fade to Bourne in the back right corner of the end zone. It's also worth noting Mullens started San Francisco's first preseason game.

Expect Garoppolo to play the majority of the first half of the 49ers' third preseason game against the Chiefs on Saturday, if not all of it. Keep an eye on who takes over for Jimmy G, as it may give the best clue yet as to which direction Kyle Shanahan is leaning.

Wide Receiver

Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis are still listed as the starters. No surprise there. They, along with Trent Taylor and rookies Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd, are absolute locks to make the roster. That leaves Bourne, Richie James Jr., Jordan Matthews and others battling it out for what will be two spots at most, but more likely just one.

Based on the new unofficial depth chart, it would seem like Bourne and James have the inside track to make the roster, as they're listed behind the starters, respectively. Hurd is listed behind James Jr., while Matthews and Samuel are listed behind Bourne.

James would seem to be too duplicative of Taylor, but given that Taylor will miss the start of the season after breaking a bone in his foot, that could open up room for James, particularly given his punt return ability.

Bourne's promise was on display on his receiving touchdown against the Broncos. But as nice as that catch was, his egregious drop of Beathard's deep ball was equally bad. San Francisco could use more size as the receiver position, which the 6-foot-1 Bourne offers. However, so does the 6-foot-3 Matthews.

Matthews was only targeted once against the Broncos and had zero receptions, but he did play 14 snaps on special teams, including one in which he took down the punt returner for a two-yard loss. Whoever makes the team as the last receiver is going to have to play special teams. Matthews definitely didn't hurt his case in that area, and the veteran stability he offers will most certainly be contrasted against Bourne's inconsistency.

[RELATED: Watching Jimmy G shows obvious hurdles he needs to clear]

Free Safety

The updated unofficial depth chart lists Adrian Colbert as the starter, albeit with the injured Jimmie Ward understood to be the starter upon his return. Behind Colbert, in order, are Tarvarius Moore and Antone Exum Jr.

In two professional seasons, Colbert has missed a total of 11 games due to injury. He suffered a hamstring injury against the Broncos, and has generally underwhelmed throughout training camp.

With Ward sidelined and Colbert not claiming the job in his absence, it's opened the door for Moore, who the 49ers -- in desperation -- were forced to switch to safety after being a cornerback his rookie season. Moore played safety in college and has shown some promise there recently, but it's not a good sign when arguably your best free safety option spent the entire previous year learning a different position.

Moore is obviously a lock to remain on the roster. Given Ward's lengthy injury history and the way the depth chart currently looks, one continues to wonder if San Francisco will come to regret not acquiring a single safety in what were loaded free-agent and draft classes at that position.

Dennis Brown to replace Tim Ryan on radio broadcast for 49ers-Saints

Dennis Brown to replace Tim Ryan on radio broadcast for 49ers-Saints

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The 49ers announced on Thursday that former player Dennis Brown will replace Tim Ryan as the team’s radio analyst for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

Ryan was suspended for one game after the organization said it was “disappointed” in his Monday comments on KNBR. Ryan referenced Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson’s skin color as a factor that contributed to the 49ers defense’s difficulty in defending the read option.

Ryan issued a public apology to Jackson for his choice of words.

[RELATED: How Jimmy G, 49ers are prepping for loud Superdome noise]

Brown, 52, played seven seasons for the 49ers as a defensive lineman from 1990 to ’96, and was a starter on the team’s Super Bowl-winning team after the 1994 season. He has served as an analyst on KNBR’s pre- and post-game 49ers coverage the past two seasons.

49ers' Marcell Harris, Mike McGlinchey make PFF's Team of the Week

49ers' Marcell Harris, Mike McGlinchey make PFF's Team of the Week

The 49ers lost just their second game of the season last Sunday in a battle against the Ravens in Baltimore, but they still landed two players on Pro Football Focus' Team of the Week. 

PFF awarded one San Francisco player on each side of the ball this past week. Right tackle Mike McGlinchey represented the offense, while safety Marcell Harris represented the defense. 

McGlinchey was phenomenal in the trenches against a stout Ravens defense. At 6-foot-8 and 310 pounds, the former first-round draft pick showed off his athleticism in the 49ers' outside run game, helping prompt running back Raheem Mostert to a career day. 

Mostert, who entered the season as more of a special teams star, rushed for 146 yards on 19 carries. He averaged 7.7 yards per carry, and scored a 40-yard touchdown

McGlinchey earned an 88.4 run-blocking grade from PFF as the 49ers as a whole ran for 174 yards on 29 carries, good for an average of 6.0 yards per carry. The second-year pro had an 88.9 overall grade as he also kept QB Jimmy Garoppolo on his feet all game long. 

While McGlinchey is a former top draft pick, Harris is a whole different story. Taken by the 49ers in the sixth round of the 2018 draft, Harris replaced an injured Jaquiski Tartt and made an immediate impact. 

With Ravens QB Lamar Jackson racing down the field, Harris tackled the speedster, ripped the ball out of his hands and recovered the fumble. It was Jackson's first recovered fumble of the year. 

[RELATED: Warner named NFC Defensive Player of Month for November]

Harris ended the game with two solo tackles, one assist and the forced/recovered fumble. He earned a 91.0 PFF grade in the loss.

The 25-year-old who was promoted from the practice squad in October, now has six tackles, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery this season.