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Examining which 49ers could be inactive for Week 1 vs. Lions

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The 49ers this week settled on the players to occupy spots on their initial 53-man roster.

Next, they must determine which 48 players they intend to have available to face the Detroit Lions on Sunday, Sept. 12, in the regular-season opener for both teams.

Here will be the thought process behind the team’s decisions:

—This is the second season in which teams can dress 48 players for games, as long as they carry eight offensive linemen.

This one is easy. Jaylon Moore is the swing tackle, Tom Compton is the backup guard, and Jake Brendel is the No. 2 center.

Even before second-round draft pick Aaron Banks was sidelined with a shoulder injury, he did not appear ready for NFL game action. He is likely to be in street clothes for games this season unless an emergency forces him to suit up.

—Cornerback Ambry Thomas is a player talented enough to prompt the 49ers to select him in the third round of the draft. But after taking the COVID-19 opt-out at Michigan and sitting out his final college season, the rust has been obvious.

Thomas was constantly holding and grabbing receivers during training camp. He simply is not ready to play at this level. Dontae Johnson and Deommodore Lenoir clearly are the team's top backup cornerbacks.

RELATED: 49ers add four to practice squad, finalize Week 1 group

—The 49ers kept six wide receivers but only five will suit up. It’s between Jalen Hurd and Jauan Jennings for the right to suit up. Hurd is capable of doing more things, but his availability is always in question.


—Second-year running back JaMycal Hasty made the 53-man roster. But, right now, he is an insurance policy for the team. There is not a specific role for him, so he is a candidate to be inactive on game days. Raheem Mostert and Trey Sermon are the team's top running backs. Rookie Elijah Mitchell could handle kick returns and mix into the action as a third-down back.

—The 49ers have 10 defensive linemen on their 53-man roster. Nine seems to be a good number to have active for games, so the 49ers could deactivate two of their defensive linemen.

On a weekly basis, health will determine which players are up and who sits out. Kevin Givens is coming back from a groin injury, so it could be that the 49ers will want to give him at least another week to get closer to 100 percent.

As long as Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Dee Ford, Javon Kinlaw, Samson Ebukam and D.J. Jones are healthy, they will hold down key roles in the team's D-line rotation.

So the final inactives could come from the group that includes Givens, Arden Key, Zach Kerr and Kentavius Street.

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