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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Nick Mullens, SF 49ers
Quarterback Nick Mullens #4 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

No. 1: SF 49ers Quarterback Nick Mullens

Following Jimmy Garoppolo’s underwhelming Week 1 effort versus the Arizona Cardinals, there were a handful of awfully loud calls on 49ers Twitter throwing out the notion Jimmy G’s backup, Nick Mullens, should be the starter from this point forward.

Well, Week 3 should provide those critics an opportunity to see if that wish is justified.

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Kyle Shanahan hasn’t totally ruled Garoppolo out for the Niners’ Week 3 contest against the Giants. But it seems highly unlikely Garoppolo gets the start, opening up the door for Mullens to take his first meaningful snaps since 2018 when he relieved both Garoppolo and fellow quarterback C.J. Beathard for eight games, posting a 3-5 record during that second-half stretch.

Mullens’ efforts back then weren’t soon forgotten, him tossing 13 touchdowns against 10 interceptions for a 90.8 passer rating.

That’s good enough for backup duties, and he flashed the ability to beat bad teams.

If there are positives, the Giants are also a bad team, and Mullens will have far more offensive weapons at his disposal than he did two years ago, suggesting he could perform notably better than he did back when the 49ers were trying to play the spoiler role in 2018.

That’s good. But the Niners’ expectations this season are to make it to the Super Bowl, and Mullens will be tasked with successfully engineering the offense as long as Jimmy G is out.

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If Mullens does it well enough, it’s a huge win for Shanahan.

And it probably won’t help quiet Garoppolo’s critics the next time he has a bad game, but that’s not what San Francisco cares about.