49ers mid-preseason 53-man roster projection for 2019

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /
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The San Francisco 49ers have successfully made their way through the first two weeks of the preseason, coming away with a 2-0 record. Now seems like as good a time as any to take another stab at projecting who will make the 53-man roster when the preseason closes.

With the NFL changing the rules in 2017, so that teams can keep a full 90-man roster until the end of the preseason, the San Francisco 49ers, like the rest of the league’s teams, still have a little less than two weeks to finalize their rosters heading into the regular season. Previously, teams were forced to trim their rosters down to 75 players after Week 3 of the preseason.

While this ultimately exists to allow teams to be able to fully rest their starters for longer stretches during the preseason, especially in Week 4, it also grants analysts and prognosticators alike more opportunities to project final rosters.

In that regard, Niner Noise has made several efforts to predict what decisions general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan will make leading up to final roster cuts, which take place on Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. ET.

Given that we’ve reached the halfway point of the preseason, it seems like an opportune time to revisit my initial predictions and see what, if anything, has changed.

We’ll begin with the position that has been discussed at great length already this offseason: the quarterbacks.


April (2): Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens

Mid-preseason (2): Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens

Nothing has changed here because, to my mind, nothing needs to change. Yes, starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo struggled mightily in his first preseason action on Monday night in Denver, but it’s no time to panic.

Shanahan himself noted it would be “irresponsible” to judge Garoppolo on those three drives, given the game situation, particularly on the third drive, and it being the quarterback’s first action since late September 2018.

And even though some, albeit mostly angry 49ers fans on Twitter, are ready to part ways with Garoppolo, it’s way too early to freak out.

In the case of second-year quarterback Nick Mullens, whether Shanahan will admit it or not, he came in with a leg up on former third-round draft pick C.J. Beathard, having played better last season than Beathard did in Garoppolo’s absence.

Neither has shown himself to be a spectacular option off the bench for the 49ers, but Mullens continues to look more comfortable and in control, while Beathard often appears skittish and out of sorts.

It doesn’t help, when he does look effective and under control, as he did at times on Monday night, his receivers haven’t helped his cause (although they also bailed him out frequently in Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys).

Barring some sort of meltdown or injury, I fully expect Shanahan to recognize that Mullens is the best option behind Garoppolo.

But more importantly, it hopefully won’t even be an issue in 2019.