5 surprising roster cuts 49ers could make after 2021 NFL Draft

San Francisco 49ers defensive back Tarvarius Moore (33) and safety Marcell Harris (36) Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers defensive back Tarvarius Moore (33) and safety Marcell Harris (36) Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports /
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Trey Lance, NFL Draft, San Francisco 49ers
Trey Lance of the 49ers poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco 49ers’ recent 2021 NFL Draft class will ultimately put pressure on returning players to rise up or wind up being cut.

Let’s just say these five San Francisco 49ers players just saw their chances of being let go this offseason rise significantly after the team’s actions both during and shortly after the 2021 NFL Draft.

In total, the Niners brought home eight players drafted between Rounds 1 through 6 with San Francisco having zero picks in Rounds 4 and 7:

  1. QB Trey Lance, NDSU
  2. G Aaron Banks, Notre Dame
  3. RB Trey Sermon, Ohio State
  4. CB Ambry Thomas, Michigan
  5. T Jaylon Moore, Western Michigan
  6. CB Deommodore Lenoir, Oregon
  7. S Talanoa Hufanga, USC
  8. RB Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana

On top of those drafted names, the 49ers also added tight end Josh Pederson, wide receiver Austin Watkins Jr. and linebacker Justin Hilliard as undrafted free agents.

Lance, however, points out an interesting case. He won’t threaten the incumbent quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, right away. No, head coach Kyle Shanahan needs Lance to develop and progress into an NFL-ready signal-caller after playing just one game since 2019.

Yet Lance’s addition shakes up the quarterback room regardless, and one of those QBs is likely on the outs sooner rather than later.

No. 5: 49ers Quarterback Josh Rosen

So much for another former first-round quarterback finding a long-term home.

Backup quarterback Josh Rosen, whom the Niners plucked off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad late in 2020 and was subsequently signed to a one-year deal, has a much longer road to land on the practice squad, assuming the NFL keeps last year’s rules for eligibility in place, let alone make San Francisco’s 53-man roster.

Guaranteed money is the reason why another 49ers backup quarterback, Nate Sudfeld, makes the 53-man cut and probably winds up being the No. 3 option.

And with Lance and Garoppolo not going anywhere, there’s no essential reason to keep Rosen around whatsoever.

It might actually be a favor to Rosen on behalf of the Niners to let go of him sooner than later so he can go to a team where he has a much better chance of competing for a roster spot.