November 30, 2021

Projecting 49ers Week 1 depth chart – Niners Wire

Now that we have the 49ers’ 53-man roster and the NFL calendar turns to the regular season, we can start parsing through the players San Francisco will take into their trek for another Super Bowl run.

Below is our best guess at what the 49ers’ depth chart will look like when the face the Detroit Lions in Week 1. The offense is set for 22 personnel (two tight ends, two running backs). The defensive line and linebacker starters are for the base 4-3 defense, and the cornerback group is listed out for their nickel package.

Quarterback

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Starter: Jimmy Garoppolo

Reserve: Trey Lance

This is more ambiguous than a typical quarterback depth chart since Lance will likely play more than a usual backup. Still, it appears Garoppolo will get the start and take a majority of the snaps.

Running back

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Starter: Raheem Mostert

Reserves: Trey Sermon, JaMycal Hasty, Elijah Mitchell

Mostert is in line to start, but carries could be distributed to three or four backs per game. There’s an explosive aspect to Mostert’s game though that nobody else on the roster has though, so he’ll likely get the start and still get plenty of carries.

Fullback

(AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

Starter: Kyle Juszczyk

Reserve: N/A

Not a ton of competition for Juszczyk here.

Wide receiver

(AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Starters: Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel

Reserves: Trent Sherfield, Mohamed Sanu, Jalen Hurd, Jauan Jennings

Expect plenty of two wide receiver sets from San Francisco this year, but Sherfield looked good in the preseason and may force his way onto the field. This is a big, physical, versatile group that gives head coach Kyle Shanahan a ton of options. Aiyuk and Samuel sit firmly atop the receiving corps though.

Tight end

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Starters: George Kittle, Ross Dwelley

Reserves: Charlie Woerner

Kittle is rarely going to be off the field, but Dwelley and Woerner should get plenty of action rotating in multiple TE sets.

Offensive line

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Starters: LT Trent Williams, LG Laken Tomlinson, C Alex Mack, RG Daniel Brunskill, RT Mike McGlinchey

Reserves: Jaylon Moore, Tom Compton, Jake Brendel, Aaron Banks

This group was pretty much set before camp. Right guard was the only question mark, but Brunskill wasn’t unseated. Moore and Banks could push for the starting job if Brunskill struggles.

Defensive line

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Starters: DE Arik Armstead, NT DJ Jones, DT Javon Kinlaw, DE Nick Bosa

Reserves: DE Dee Ford, DE Samson Ebukam, DE Arden Key, DT Kentavius Street, DT Kevin Givens, DT Zach Kerr

The starters are set, but there’s a ton of quality depth here that’ll give the 49ers options for rotations throughout all four quarters.

Linebacker

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Starters: WLB Dre Greenlaw, MLB Fred Warner, SLB Azeez Al-Shaair

Reserves: Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Marcell Harris

No question about the starting group here. It’ll be interesting to see if Flannigan-Fowles or Harris, both converted safeties, are ever utilized in hybrid LB/S roles.

Cornerback

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Starters: CB Jason Verrett, CB Emmanuel Moseley, NCB K’Waun Williams

Reserves: Deommodore Lenoir, Ambry Thomas, Dontae Johnson

Depth is a concern here which made picking out the starting group pretty easy. Lenoir it seems would be the first player off the bench.

Safety

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Starters: FS Jimmie Ward, SS Jaquiski Tartt

Reserves: Talanoa Hufanga, Tavon Wilson

It’s not a slam dunk Tartt starts. He’s the incumbent, but he missed all but one week of camp recovering from offseason toe surgery. Wilson filled in nicely with the starters in camp, and the rookie Hufanga made a push to get into the conversation.

Specialists

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Starters: P Mitch Wishnowsky, K Robbie Gould, LS Taybor Pepper, KR Elijah Mitchell, PR Brandon Aiyuk

There weren’t any questions about the Wishnowsky-Gould-Pepper trio. Mitchell is likely the starting kick returner with Aiyuk fielding punts unless they make a move to elevate WR Travis Benjamin from the practice squad.