It’s hard to find a lot of relevance in a preseason game when 27 of your best players don’t suit up. Yet, that was the case in the second preseason game of the year for the 49ers on Saturday, a 17-7 victory which took place after a week of joint practices with the Vikings.
San Francisco saw enough from most of their starters in those practices to justify sitting them for the game vs. Minnesota, but there were still a handful of players who stood out.
There is something different about the 49ers’ 2020 first-round pick this year.
Kinlaw has dealt with knee issues since college, and he looks quicker after having season-ending surgery last season. That newfound quickness must have made an impression on the Vikings during the week, considering they double-teamed the defensive tackle on nearly every snap Saturday.
Minnesota didn’t double-team him on a third down midway through the first quarter, and the big fella made them pay with a sack.
Kinlaw also got good push on a number of passing downs despite double teams. With so much talent on the 49ers’ defensive line, it is unlikely Kinlaw will see double teams during the regular season. If Kinlaw can get the type of push he did Saturday, San Francisco’s D-line could be scary.
So far, the 49ers’ second rounder looks like a first-round talent.
What was most impressive about Jackson was his versatility on Saturday. Jackson was active as a run stopper, blitzer and even knocked a pass down at the line of scrimmage.
A three-play sequence in the first quarter was a good example of Jackson’s impact. Lined up over the left tackle, Jackson beat his man for a QB hit leading to an incompletion, pursued hard across the line of scrimmage to tackle the running back and got enough pressure on a stunt to cause an interception.
Jackson played most of the game after leaving the preseason opener early with a shoulder stinger. It’s a loaded defensive line group, but through five quarters, Jackson looks like a guy who is going to be hard to keep off the field.
Tanner Hudson / Jordan Mason
Okay, this is cheating.
This final shoutout could go to a number of players, namely Deommodore Lenior who had a number of pass breakups and four tackles. But let’s give a nod to a couple players on the offensive end.
Hudson was the primary target for 49ers’ quarterbacks, leading all receivers with five catches for 43 yards. Hudson was also largely responsible for the 49ers’ touchdown and two point conversion, when on consecutive plays defenders covered his corner route leaving the over-the-middle route open.
Hudson also had a few gaffes. He dropped a sure third-down conversion with room to run in front of him. The drop is likely an anomaly, considering Hudson has showed some of the best hands on the team during camp. He also got called for holding that spoiled a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Hudson is on the bubble to make the team, competing with Ross Dwelley and Tyler Kroft for the third tight end spot on the depth chart.
Jordan Mason didn’t get much run until late, but looked like a bit of a wrecking ball when he had the ball in his hands.
Mason ran for 57 yards on just nine carries, and showed a combination of great vision and power in his runs. Mason’s game is a little tough to judge because he played against the weakest competition, but the fact that he looked so much better than the other RBs should at least give him a shot to be considered in a crowded running back room.