SF 49ers depth chart: 5 players who step up in wake of injuries

Nick Mullens #4 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Nick Mullens #4 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Jerick McKinnon, SF 49ers
Jerick McKinnon #28 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

The SF 49ers are dealing with a rash of serious injuries, yet that opens up opportunities for others on the depth chart to exceed expectations.

It’s more hope than hype. But the recent wave of serious injuries to a slew of SF 49ers players leading up to the team’s Week 3 bout against the New York Giants could mean some less-discussed names wind up being key figureheads for head coach Kyle Shanahan in coming weeks.

Injury attrition plays a role in any season. Yet it seems 2020 has cursed the Niners in this way, as they’ve lost a significant portion of their roster just two weeks into the regular season.

Defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas are already out for the year with torn ACLs. Running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman are both dealing with knee injuries, and they’re both likely to miss at least a couple of weeks. EDGE Dee Ford is dealing with back problems, and his timetable for a return is unknown.

Cornerback Richard Sherman (calf) and wide receiver Deebo Samuel (foot) are both on short-term injured reserve and aren’t scheduled to come back yet, while tight end George Kittle missed Week 2 with a knee injury. And quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo‘s ankle injury shakes things up under center for at least a week.

Those are all some significant names Shanahan has missed or will miss still in the coming weeks.

Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have already pulled the trigger on some roster moves intended to salvage the season, including inking veteran pass-rusher Ezekiel Ansah to a one-year deal. But the injury absences San Francisco is dealing with also open up opportunities for other players buried deeper on the depth chart.

Here are five players who’ll likely see an uptick in playing time in the wake of all those hurt players the SF 49ers are managing right now.