49ers roster 2021: Josh Hokit a practice squad reserve

Fresno State Bulldogs running back Josh Hokit (33) Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Fresno State Bulldogs running back Josh Hokit (33) Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

A year ago, one could have argued the 49ers were eyeing Josh Hokit to eventually replace Kyle Juszczyk at fullback, but that’s no longer the case in 2021.

The San Francisco 49ers faced a major dilemma this time a year ago when they were looking at perennial Pro Bowl fullback Kyle Juszczyk entering a contract year.

So it made sense the Niners grabbed former Fresno State fullback Josh Hokit as an undrafted free agent and a player who could potentially replace Juszczyk, should the latter end up signing elsewhere when the 2021 league new year began.

That all changed, though, when Juszczyk signed a new five-year, $27 million deal to stay in San Francisco, all but eliminating the thought Hokit would end up being a long-term replacement.

A practice-squad stash to guard against injury, perhaps. But nothing more.

Niner Noise’s annual “Who is?” series takes a look at what the immediate future holds for Hokit heading into 2021.

Why 49ers continue to value Josh Hokit in 2021

Barring a lengthy injury to Juszczyk, the 49ers may not place too big a stock value on Hokit in 2021 and beyond.

Yet there are some likable attributes from the 6-foot-1, 225-pound former Bulldog, including him being a notably successful rusher — something Juszczyk hasn’t necessarily been during his Niners tenure:

Josh Hokit Rushing & Receiving Table
2016Fresno StateMWCLB6271304.80000271304.80
*2017Fresno StateMWCSORB141285834.67131078.201416904.97
*2018Fresno StateMWCJRRB12732603.618567.00813163.91
2019Fresno StateMWCSRLB12752873.8917975.71923844.210
CareerFresno State30312604.217382606.8134115204.518

Provided by CFB at Sports Reference
Generated 6/24/2021.

Lead blocking wasn’t lacking for Hokit during his college years. So, combining that attribute with both his rushing and pass-catching skills, could make for a quality developmental weapon in San Francisco’s offense.

The difficult part, however, would be identifying just how to immerse Hokit into the regular-season roster in any kind of role.

Why Josh Hokit loses value to 49ers in 2021

Juszczyk’s contract extension makes Hokit somewhat expendable heading into the upcoming year. And while the 49ers have seen Juszczyk suffer injuries at a modest extent in recent seasons, they’ve gotten by with No. 2 tight end Ross Dwelley as an on-roster fill-in replacement.

Not good news for Hokit’s roster chances, meaning he’d have to showcase his value in a number of other ways.

Hokit isn’t fast or elusive enough to be a wide receiver or pure running back, and he lacks the size to be a depth tight end. So, while he might be a proverbial “jack of all trades,” he’s essentially a master of none. Hokit’s lone value to the Niners is as a fullback, little else.

What to expect from Josh Hokit in 2021

San Francisco doesn’t need Juszczyk to see much of the field during the three preseason games it’ll play in 2021, so there’s a good chance Hokit will be featured regularly, perhaps even lining up with the one or two drives the first-team offense gets during these exhibition bouts.

And it’s possible, perhaps likely the 49ers continue using him to work out the reserves during these games, too.

After that, though, it’s a wide-open guess.

The Niners have zero in guarantees for Hokit’s contract, and he’s only signed through 2021, meaning they can part ways with him at any time with zero ramifications. But considering the league isn’t exactly prioritizing fullbacks right now, there’s also a strong chance San Francisco can continue stashing him on the practice squad as a call-up reserve to guard against any lengthy injury suffered by Juszczyk.

While the 49ers hope nothing of the sort happens, at least having a true fullback on the B-team roster provides some sort of insurance, should the Niners wind up losing Juszczyk at any point this upcoming season.

Next. 3 simple roster moves 49ers should make before training camp. dark