49ers post-NFL Draft roster: 5 veterans who may be gone in 2020
By Peter Panacy
No. 3: Safety Marcell Harris
The 49ers received some quality backup play from reserve safety Marcell Harris in 2018 and 2019, as he filled in for the defense’s starter, Jaquiski Tartt.
In 2018, Harris made some key open-field tackles in the Niners’ wins against both the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. And fans may recall a gutsy strip tackle on Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson a year ago.
Yet the problem was, however, Harris more than a liability in coverage. According to Pro Football Focus, Harris’ 59.3 pass-coverage grade in 2019 was quite the contrast to his 74.2 run-defense grade. While having run-stopping strong safeties in reserve on the roster is always a bonus, those kinds of players are relatively easy to find.
And San Francisco hopes it has one in undrafted rookie Jared Mayden.
Mayden was largely overshadowed in the Alabama Crimson Tide’s secondary by the top draftee, Xavier McKinney. Yet Mayden was likely worth a draft selection, and one could make the argument the Niners got a steal by landing him in the ranks of the undrafted.
If Mayden impresses enough during training camp and the preseason, a push for him to make the roster and part ways with Harris could be in the Niners’ plans.