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How several offseason injuries are impacting 49ers' depth

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Justin Skule in 2019

The 49ers kept close tabs on veteran safety Tony Jefferson in the offseason as he got stronger and stronger after undergoing ACL surgery last year.

Jefferson signed with the 49ers on Monday, which then forced the 49ers to make a decision.

After contemplating releasing a safety to make room for Jefferson, the club decided to part ways with veteran cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun.

But before Boddy-Calhoun left Santa Clara, 49ers general manager John Lynch provided some advice.

Lynch told Boddy-Calhoun to remain in shape and ready.

After all, if history is any indication, there is a decent chance the 49ers will be calling him in the future. Boddy-Calhoun is not needed quite yet. But a few hours later, the 49ers received another stark reminder this week about the importance of depth and having a pool of players at every position to mobilize in an emergency.

Players in the defensive backfield seem to be the most susceptible to injuries. And it is not uncommon for players who do not begin the regular season on the 53-man roster to end up signing and being asked to make significant contributions.

Safety Tarvarius Moore had not missed a game in his first three NFL seasons. He started eight games last season. But he sustained a torn Achilles on Monday while doing a simple back-pedal drill at practice. The 49ers are not counting on Moore being available to play this season.

 

Just a couple plays earlier, offensive lineman Justin Skule went down with a torn ACL during a routine pass-blocking drill. Skule is expected to miss the season.

The week before organized team activities began, running back Jeff Wilson Jr. sustained a torn meniscus in his knee. He just completed workout and his knee gave out in the locker room when he stood up from a sitting position. The subsequent surgery is expected to keep him sidelined from four to six months.

“That’s part of life,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said this week. “We got two people hurt on the field in OTAs (in) seven practices. And it's very unfortunate because those two guys are having a great practice, and Jeff got hurt before it started.”

Moore, who is entering the final year of his original four-year contract, was expected to see a lot of action on defense in a variety of packages with presumptive starting safeties Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt.

Jefferson’s addition to the team was just a coincidence. Jefferson appeared in 98 games with 66 starts with Arizona and Baltimore during his seven-year career.

Jefferson gives the 49ers more depth and experience at the safety position, along with Marcell Harris, Tavon Wilson, Jared Mayden, Kai Nacua and fifth-round draft pick Talanoa Hufanga.

Skule was going to face stiff competition to retain his spot on the roster this season. He was needed in his first two NFL seasons, as he started 12 games.

Skule is now out of the picture to win the job as the team’s backup tackle to starters Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey.

The remaining candidates for that job, offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel said this week, are Shon Coleman, Colton McKivitz, Daniel Brunskill and rookie Jaylon Moore, a fifth-round draft pick from Western Michigan.

RELATED: Shanahan cancels rest of 49ers' offseason program

The 49ers are confident Wilson will be able to make a contribution this season. The 49ers have good depth at running back after surprisingly investing two draft picks in the position.

The 49ers selected Ohio State running back Trey Sermon in the third round, then used their sixth-round pick on Louisiana running back Elijah Mitchell.

Raheem Mostert, Wayne Gallman and JaMycal Hasty enable the 49ers to go five deep at running back even while Wilson is sidelined for a while.

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