SF 49ers: Final bubble watch ahead of Week 1 roster cuts
By Peter Panacy
SF 49ers Wide Receivers
Lock: Brandon Aiyuk*, Kendrick Bourne, Dante Pettis, Trent Taylor, Deebo Samuel
Strong bubble: Richie James
Weak bubble: Jauan Jennings*
Long shot: River Cracraft, Shawn Poindexter, Kevin White, Tavon Austin
If not the 49ers offensive line, Kyle Shanahan’s crop of wide receivers has drawn the most concern during training camp, although the latest news appears to be pretty good.
Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring) and Deebo Samuel (foot) are expected back early in the season. While their availability for Week 1 still isn’t quite clear, both should start off the year on the active roster, even if one or both of them is inactive or plays a limited role for the first week.
This helped open up a final chance for the embattled Dante Pettis, who was squarely on the bubble for the entirety of the offseason until he ramped things up in training camp. Both he and slot receiver Trent Taylor are safe locks without any questions.
Rookie wideout Jauan Jennings, however, did not impress in camp. It’s pretty clear he struggled without the benefit of spring workouts — rookie minicamps and OTAs — and should spend a first year on the practice squad to further develop.
Yet the final pressing issue here is for that sixth spot on the roster, likely to be determined by who returns kicks and puts. Up to early this week, veteran Tavon Austin would have had a great shot to secure this role before being slated for injured reserve with a knee injury.
And with the Niners activating Richie James (wrist) from the non-football injury list, Austin goes to the long-shot category until the injured-reserve list is made official in Week 1.