SF 49ers: 4 practice squad players who see significant snaps in 2021

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Tim Harris (35) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Tim Harris (35) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jauan Jennings, SF 49ers training camp
Jauan Jennings #17 versus Jamar Taylor #32 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

A significant amount of roster turnover could mean these four SF 49ers practice squad players see their roles increased in 2021.

It’s not too common for NFL teams’ practice squad players to make sizable impacts aside from being part of the scout team during weekly practices.

But in the SF 49ers‘ case, 2021 could provide the opportunity for some of their reserve stashes to see an uptick in usage. A primary reason why is the sheer amount of turnover the Niners will be forced to deal with this offseason. Amid a dwindling salary cap and with nearly 40 pending free agents, more than a handful of practice squad players from 2020 could find themselves in a position where they could be more active on game day.

It’s still unclear what the league’s rules will be in 2021. They could be similar to what transpired last season where promotions and reversions back and forth between the active and practice squad rosters were the norms amid the pandemic.

Either way, there are likely going to be some players who spent the majority of 2020 on the practice squad seeing their roles increase in 2021.

Here are four to keep eyes on this offseason.

No. 4: SF 49ers wide receiver Jauan Jennings

Fans understandably had high hopes for then-rookie wide receiver Jauan Jennings after San Francisco used its final pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on him. If it weren’t for a sluggish 40-yard time at his NFL Combine workouts, Jennings likely would have been a day-two pick, not slipping towards the back end of the draft.

But it was clear the lack of true offseason workouts, minicamps and OTAs hindered Jennings’ development, and he failed to separate himself from the rest of the pack amid a questionable wide receiver depth chart last training camp, ultimately resulting in him being placed on the practice squad.

The good news, though, is the door is open for Jennings to assume a bigger role this offseason. The SF 49ers have their starting two wideouts identified, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel. But with Kendrick Bourne and Trent Taylor pegged for free agency, Jennings doesn’t have as big a logjam as before.

Remember, Jennings forced 30 missed tackles on 59 receptions his final year at Tennessee, so the talent is there.

If Jennings is able to put more things together this offseason, he’ll be in line for an upgraded role.