49ers roster: 3 deepest positions entering 2021 season
By Peter Panacy
The 49ers roster is far from perfect, but they do have some deep positions with some surplus as they get ready for the upcoming 2021 campaign.
A year ago, the San Francisco 49ers learned a hard lesson about why it’s important to stockpile adequate depth to guard against injuries.
Granted, few teams could have overcome the sheer volume of injury setbacks general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan had to ensure, and the losses ultimately resulted in a disappointing 6-10 finish, which honestly should be considered something of a feat considering the quality of players lost.
That said, the depth wasn’t quite adequate enough to get San Francisco into the postseason.
Now, with the 2021 season just over the horizon, the 49ers hope their offseason efforts will be enough to ensure whatever injuries may happen won’t be too difficult to overcome.
Some of the positions on the Niners’ offseason roster are top-heavy with questions about the quality of depth, while others have starting-caliber options buried deep down the depth chart.
Let’s look at three deep spots in the latter category.
49ers Deep Position No. 3: Safety
Despite San Francisco losing defensive back Tarvarius Moore to a torn Achilles this offseason, there remain four players capable of starting entering 2021: Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt, Marcell Harris and Tony Jefferson.
Ward and Tartt are the presumed starters, while Jefferson was brought in as a free agent to help make up for the loss of Moore and to provide an upgrade over Harris, whose 36.6 Pro Football Focus pass-coverage grade last year is indicative of a backup, not a starter.
Nevertheless, Harris has started eight games over the last two years.
Jefferson, meanwhile, has to show he’s fully recovered from a torn ACL suffered in 2019, magnified by not playing at all in 2020. Yet he was an effective defender during his days with the Baltimore Ravens and Arizona Cardinals, so at least the 49ers have a starting-caliber reserve on paper.
But don’t be shocked if reserve safeties Tavon Wilson and the rookie, Talanoa Hufanga, make waves during training camp.
Simply put, there will be some provocative cuts at this position before Week 1, but that’s a good thing.