49ers post opt-out 53-man roster predictions

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Deebo Samuel, 49ers
Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

49ers Wide Receivers (7)

Deebo Samuel

Kendrick Bourne

Brandon Aiyuk

Jalen Hurd

Trent Taylor

Jauan Jennings

Dante Pettis

If it weren’t for the offseason injury to Deebo Samuel, this would be a really easy group to pick, with Samuel leading the charge along with Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor, Jalen Hurd, and rookies Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings, with Dante Pettis maybe on the outside looking in.

As far as Samuel is concerned, the 49ers have two options. Either they can keep him on the active roster in hopes that he’ll be ready to go within the first few weeks of the season. Or they can place him on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list for the regular season, which means he won’t be able to play until Week 7, currently scheduled for Oct. 25 in New England.

This means he’d miss games at home against Arizona, Philadelphia, Miami, and the Rams, along with the double trip to MetLife Stadium to play the Jets and Giants in back-to-back weeks.

It’s not a decision the 49ers would like to be making, but for this exercise, I’m banking on the team expecting to get Samuel back within the first month. So they’ll use a roster spot to keep him around, but also keep another receiver who will be secure in a job at least for the first month.

From there, Bourne, Taylor, Hurd, and Aiyuk feel as close to locks as you can be, meaning final slots will come down to Jennings, Pettis, Chris Thompson, Shawn Poindexter, and Richie James.

The 49ers are likely to be more concerned about losing Jennings to the waiver wire, so he could make the team even if he’s a little bit off the pace, but could be a guy who is inactive on game days while he gets up to speed.

Lastly, Travis Benjamin’s opt-out decision could mean Dante Pettis gets one more chance, although the 49ers’ rumored interest in Tavon Austin means Pettis won’t walk onto the roster without showing more than he did in 2019.

If nothing else, one of those two could make the roster as a key special teams player and return man.