© Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
The 2021 season hasn’t actually begun for the 49ers and already there are season-opening surprises. For all the talk of whether rookie quarterback Trey Lance would be healthy enough to play this Sunday, well, it seems like the talk was about the wrong Trey.
The 49ers made the following players inactive against the Detroit Lions:
DT Javon Kinlaw (knee)
CB Emmanuel Moseley (knee)
CB Josh Norman
G Aaron Banks
RB Trey Sermon
Obviously having your second- and third-round picks (and last year’s first-rounder) inactive for the first game of the season is not a great look. That’s not to express any long-term concerns, just the fact that players drafted that early, if healthy — which it appears both Banks and Sermon are, given their lack of injury designation — should be playing from the start of the season.
Banks is far less of a surprise given that the 49ers kept nine offensive linemen on the roster, including a backup center in Jake Brendel, backup guard in Tom Compton, and backup tackle in Jaylon Moore, and he barely played in the preseason due to a shoulder injury. The long-term hope is likely for Banks to outplay Compton and open up a roster spot.
Sermon’s absence, though, is a bit of a head-scratcher. It could be special teams related, with Eljiah Mitchell likely to return kickoffs and be used elsewhere on special teams, but Sermon projected as the clear No. 2 running back on the roster. This means we may see a fair bit of JaMycal Hasty, who went from the roster bubble to, all of a sudden, the second back on the depth chart.