The San Francisco 49ers wrap up their 2018 NFL preseason campaign against the Los Angeles Chargers Thursday, and these five fringe players should draw the most of your attention.
Week 4 of the preseason looks nothing like a regular-season NFL game, and that will be the case for both the San Francisco 49ers and visiting Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday.
Following the Niners’ 23-17 exhibition loss to the Indianapolis Colts Saturday, head coach Kyle Shanahan is all but guaranteed to sit his starters and primary backups for the team’s final preseason tuneup.
And that’s the point for this final week — give those fringe players on the roster one last shot to impress enough to stick around beyond roster cuts, which will take place Sept. 1.
That date, every NFL team trims its roster from 90 players down to 53. Later on, those teams formulate a 10-man practice squad made up of eligible players. But based off the simple math, nearly half of the 49ers offseason roster will be looking for a new employer less than a week from now.
You can get an idea which players you’ll likely see grace the field Thursday from San Francisco’s unofficial depth chart, seen here. Cross off the left column, for the most part, and focus on the second-, third- and fourth-string units.
For those guys, this preseason bout has tremendous meaning. And as 49ers color commentator Tim Ryan said during last Saturday’s bout, many of the players suiting up in the preseason finale will be playing NFL football for the very last time.
The game has importance for the Niners too. There are, perhaps, three or four remaining spots up for grabs on the 53-man roster.
Let’s break down five players to watch, who’ll be competing for one of those final spots Thursday.