The 49ers don’t have a lot of room for developmental players in 2020, yet training camp always reveals some dark-horse players who can steal a spot.
It’s a good thing the San Francisco 49ers aren’t needing to fill a large number of spots on their 53-man roster heading into the upcoming 2020 season.
Retaining 18 of their 22 starters from their Super Bowl appearance last season, head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad is essentially using training camp as a fine-tuning piece for a stacked roster while looking at some open spots buried down on the depth chart as potential goals for those fringe players vying to make the cut. There are some potential openings for starters here and there, yes. But for the most part, it’s pretty easy to identify what the Niners’ Week 1 starting lineup will look like.
Each year, however, there are at least two or three players who end up making it past final cut-downs and onto the 53-man roster for Week 1.
For San Francisco’s current offseason roster, there’s no shortage of players on the fringes. And while many will see their NFL dreams come to a close between now and the opening week of regular-season football, these five players on the fringe stand a chance to hang around.
If the following scenarios pan out, of course.
No. 5: Ross Dwelley adopts a role as 49ers’ backup fullback
With all the 49ers’ moves at tight end during the offseason, it’ll be difficult for third-year pro Ross Dwelley to claim a roster spot despite his rare-but-important impacts last season in relief of a then-injured first-teamer, George Kittle, who missed two games with ribs and ankle injuries.
Dwelley likely won’t overtake another veteran, Jordan Reed, who has been impressing as of late in training camp. And depending on how the Niners view one of their drafted rookies, the run-blocking Charlie Woerner, it might be tough for Dwelley to make the cut altogether.
But Dwelley managed to assume another key role for San Francisco last season, acting as a fill-in fullback in relief of the starter, Kyle Juszczyk, who also missed four games with an injury.
Dwelley isn’t a polished blocker, no. And the 49ers offense struggled on the ground with Juszczyk out. Interestingly enough, Juszczyk is currently dealing with a hamstring injury and could be sidelined to start the season.
Out of all the Niners’ other options to fill in for Juszczyk, Dwelley is probably the best option with the most upside.