Editor’s note: The 49ers break for the bye week with a 2-8 record. This is part of a series that recaps the first 10 games with an eye to the future. In this installment, we look at the development of the 49ers' rookie class.
Through the first 10 games of the season, there appears little doubt the 49ers have two players from their most recent draft class who can be expected to be among the team’s core players for a long time.
Right tackle Mike McGlinchey and middle linebacker Fred Warner have started every game and done everything asked of them.
“We think we have more than a couple of keepers, but those are two guys who come to mind who really hit the field running their rookie year,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said.
Here is a look at the entire 49ers’ rookie class as the club enters the final six games of Year 1:
RT Mike McGlinchey
McGlinchey has not given the organization any reason to second-guess the decision to select the Notre Dame product with a top-10 draft pick.
Lynch felt confident in the person they were drafting to replace Trent Brown, who never exhibited the level of commitment the 49ers wanted to see. Lynch identified three prospects who stood out during the interview process: McGlinchey, Florida State safety Derwin James and Georgia running back Sony Michel. McGlinchey was the pick at No. 9 overall.
“Mike McGlinchey, we felt really strongly about, just what the kid is made of, the type of person he is,” Lynch said. “The best players, the best leaders, make those around them better. I love what Mike McGlinchey has done for Joe Staley.
“Mike is playing really, really good football for a rookie, and we think it’s only going to get better, so that’s very exciting.”
Lynch said he believes McGlinchey’s presence has energized Staley. When Staley’s career winds down, McGlinchey is likely to take over at left tackle.
WR Dante Pettis
Pettis received a lot of attention during training camp for his unorthodox running style and deceptive speed. But once the team began, he has faded to the background.
He was inactive for three games with a knee injury, but in the seven games in which he has appeared his impact has been minimal. He has just seven catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Pettis has been disappointing as a punt returner, too. The NCAA record-holder with nine career punt returns for touchdowns during his four-year career at Washington, Pettis has struggled fielding punts and has a 3-yard average on nine returns.
The final six games are important for Pettis to show he has what it takes to succeed in the NFL and build some momentum to be a significant playmaker in 2019.
LB Fred Warner
The 49ers invested wisely with their third-round pick on Warner. At the time, the entire football future of Reuben Foster was up in the air. Warner, a jack-of-all-trades during his time at Brigham Young, immediately moved into the middle linebacker position and was responsible for calling the defensive signals.
“We put a lot on him early, in terms of being the mike linebacker, having all that responsibility, not coming off the field, and then top of it, playing a lot of special teams,” Lynch said.
“Anything we’ve asked of Fred, he’s stepped up.”
Warner leads the 49ers with 76 tackles and five passes defensed. He is the only player on the team with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
CB Tarvarius Moore
The 49ers fell for Moore because of his speed and athleticism. A third-round pick from Southern Mississippi, Moore was converted to cornerback after primarily playing safety in college. The reports out of practice are encouraging, but his play time has been limited. He has mostly played on special teams, but could get a chance to see more action in the final six games.
DT Kentavius Street
After tearing his ACL in a pre-draft workout for the New York Giants, the 49ers plan to open a three-week window during which he can practice with the team before returning to the non-football injury list to finish out the season. The 49ers expect Street, a fourth-round pick from North Carolina State, to be at full strength for next season.
DB D.J. Reed
It has been an up-and-down rookie season for Reed, a fifth-round draft pick from Kansas State. He has backed up at safety and nickel back. He was forced into the Week 10 game against the New York Giants late due to an injury to K’Waun Williams, and Eli Manning immediately targeted him for the game-deciding 3-yard TD pass. Reed had a 90-yard kickoff return against the Chargers, but two fumbles led to a demotion.
S Marcell Harris
The sixth-round pick from Florida played against the Raiders in Week 9. It was the first time he played in a game since the 2015 season at Florida. He sustained a torn Achilles prior to his senior year. Harris is playing special teams while backing up at strong safety.
DT Jullian Taylor
A seventh-round pick from Temple, Taylor earned a spot on the 53-man roster as a developmental player. The 49ers have plenty of depth at this position. He has not yet appeared in a game.
WR Richie James
After initially being among the team’s inactive players, James has appeared in seven games. He caught two passes for 60 yards against the Raiders as he took over in the slot from Trent Taylor. But he also dropped a likely touchdown pass from Nick Mullens. James’ competition with Taylor should heat up next season. James has been the team’s most reliable punt returner, averaging 9.6 yards on seven returns.
TE Ross Dwelley
Undrafted from the University of San Diego, Dwelley was promoted from the practice squad to replace Cole Wick on the 53-man roster after five games. Dwelley (6-5, 240) could stick for a while as a backup. He has one catch for 8 yards.
CB Emmanuel Moseley
Undrafted from Tennessee, Moseley made a strong bid to win a roster spot out of training camp. He earned a call-up from the practice squad for the Week 9 game against the Raiders, but sustained a season-ending dislocated shoulder on his third play on special teams.