© Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
The 49ers released their unofficial depth chart following roster cuts ahead of their Week 1 matchup at Minnesota Sunday.
Keep in mind the actual depth chart is not solidified. The 49ers’ public relations staff puts together the unofficial depth chart. The coaches will release their official depth chart every Sunday.
Among the notable takeaways:
- Matt Breida is listed as the No. 1 running back. Alfred Morris is No. 2, and Raheem Mostert, one of the team’s top special teams gunners, sits at No. 3. With the news of starter Jerick McKinnon tearing his ACL Saturday, Breida and Morris will shoulder the bulk of the rushing load in 2018. It will be interesting to see how the coaching staff divvies up the carries. Breida had a tremendous training camp, but he separated his shoulder in San Francisco’s preseason opener, and has slowly worked his way back ever since. Morris was subsequently signed to a one-year deal. He carried the ball 17 times for 84 yards in his first preseason action. His physical, between-the-tackles running style should complement Breida’s speed.
- Fred Warner, one of the team’s third-round picks this year, is listed as the starter at middle linebacker ahead of Brock Coyle. This is not a huge surprise, but more affirmation of Warner’s status as an instant contributor in his rookie season. Warner’s speed and physicality were impressive throughout the preseason. Coyle is a very good backup with starting experience. He signed a three-year extension back in March. Warner will likely start alongside Malcolm Smith, as Reuben Foster serves a two-game suspension.
- Mike Person is the listed starter at right guard ahead of Joshua Garnett. From the onset of training camp, Kyle Shanahan identified right guard as one of the lone spots without a clear-cut starter. Person was consistent from day one, while Garnett dealt with a knee injury that sidelined him for about two weeks. He did, however, come on strong as the preseason progressed, seemingly making this a tight race.
- Mark Nzeocha is listed as the only SAM (strong-side) linebacker. Dekoda Watson played that spot last year. He moved to the LEO (weak-side edge rush) spot this year, but the coaching staff still views him as an option at SAM.
- Receiver Trent Taylor is listed ahead of rookie standout Richie James.
- Arik Armstead is the starter at the big end spot. Ronald Blair is Armstead’s backup, and seventh-rounder Jullian Taylor is No. 3 in the pecking order.
- Earl Mitchell is the starter at nose tackle ahead of D.J. Jones, who was disruptive throughout the preseason.
- Second-year cornerback Greg Mabin is listed ahead of third-rounder Tarvarius Moore at the right cornerback spot behind starter Ahkello Witherspoon. Moore, who played safety at Southern Mississippi, is an exceptional athlete with plenty of promise.
- Taylor is also listed as the top punt returner. Rookie Dante Pettis led the NCAA in punt return average last year, and his nine career return touchdowns are the most in FBS history. Fellow rookie D.J. Reed sits at No. 3 on the depth chart. He was second behind Pettis in punt return average last year in college. James also took punt returns this preseason.
- Breida and Reed are listed as the two kick returners.