With the 2020 NFL preseason cancelled, these five 49ers players stand to lose a lot in their fight to make the team’s 53-man roster.
In addition to zero exhibition games, down from the previously speculated two preseason bouts, teams will need to have their rosters trimmed down to 80 players instead of the usual 90 they carry heading into training camp.
It’s the right move in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it should help ensure the league’s upcoming 2020 season stays as safe as possible. But it doesn’t change the fact 320 players looking to achieve or continue their dreams in the league will come to a close. Some of those back-end stories on any team’s roster, including the Niners, are among the best to watch during training camp and the preseason.
The lack of a preseason cuts out many of those stories, and it’ll also hurt many a player’s chances to crack the 53-man roster this season.
Some need the preseason more than others. Among those are players who’ll be in serious danger of missing out on a roster spot without the ability to show their skills during in-game situations.
Here are three players who all but needed a preseason to make San Francisco’s regular-season roster.
No. 5: 49ers cornerback Tim Harris
The Niners redshirted their final pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, former Virginia cornerback Tim Harris, for his rookie season.
Harris, 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, figured to be a promising piece to San Francisco’s secondary, especially considering some of the depth questions there. Yet he also comes with a lengthy injury history, highlighted by what happened last season.
And considering Harris has only a few preseason reps from last year to his NFL arsenal, it’ll be extremely tough to gauge his in-game abilities without putting him in those situations again.
As such, the 49ers may be forced to part ways.
Harris could stand out in camp. But many of the one-on-one reps and low-contact drills won’t do much to prove Harris’ value.
No, he needed those exhibition games to prove himself.