49ers roster 2021: Can Andy Jones make a dent on depth chart?
By Peter Panacy
The 49ers brought in wide receiver Andy Jones to help with their depleted offseason depth chart, but is there a chance he can do more than that in 2021?
Even when San Francisco 49ers fans think about the back end of the team’s 2021 offseason wide receiver depth chart, they’re not likely to toss in wide receiver Andy Jones in the mix.
No, names like River Cracraft, Trent Sherfield, Kevin White and Travis Benjamin are more likely to be the hotter topics of discussion for players vying for spot Nos. 5 and 6 way down the pecking order in advance of the regular season.
It’s probably due to the fact the Niners brought in the 27-year-old Jones as an offseason body to alleviate minor injuries to a number of other receivers such as Benjamin, Deebo Samuel and Richie James.
Signed on June 1, Jones doesn’t seem to have a chance, right?
Why Andy Jones finds a role with 49ers in 2021
Jones, an undrafted free-agent addition by the Dallas Cowboys out of Jacksonville back in 2016, has bounced around the league a lot since his rookie season:
|2 yr||2 yr||DET||10||3||24||11||80||7.3||1||6||15||45.8%|
|1 yr||1 yr||HOU||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com
He spent his rookie season on the practice squad, had stints with the Detroit Lions, Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins, primarily seeing time on their reserve B-units, before joining San Francisco this offseason.
At 6-foot-1 and 217 pounds, he does have a solid build for a possession-type receiver, and the 4.50 40-yard time he ran back at his pro day suggests he’s not overly slow either.
That’s a good thing.
On top of that, he spent a good chunk of his 2018 season with the Lions working on special teams, getting a total of 84 snaps there that year. That’ll also work to his benefit.
Why Andy Jones is nothing more than a camp body for 49ers
Jones being signed so late during the offseason and at a time when the 49ers were dealing with many a minor injury at the position suggests he was little more than a reserve afterthought to get the first-, second- and third-string units during organized team activities properly balanced.
Combing through the few scouting reports out there from 2016, there doesn’t appear to be much of anything that truly stands out about him. He might be a good piece to have around to help spark the competition among the deepest levels of the depth chart.
But not much more.
On top of all that, the Niners offense puts a great deal of responsibility on its wide receivers. Jones being thrust into the system so late in the offseason will make his own learning curve awfully difficult between now and pre-Week 1 roster cuts.
Chances Andy Jones makes 49ers’ 53-man roster
There are those on the weaker end of the regular-season roster bubble, and then there are players like Jones who are mere long shots.
Jones isn’t even competing with players like Sherfield, James and Benjamin, who all have significantly greater chances of making the 53-man group but are still considered on the bubble heading into training camp.
No, Jones finds himself competing with players like Cracraft and Bennie Fowler. And all three of those names are likely to find themselves let go by the time Week 1 rolls around.
What’ll likely be the case is Jones ends up seeing a handful of snaps during the final quarter of San Francisco’s first two preseason games, then perhaps a modest increase in action during the third and final exhibition bout.
After that, it’s almost assured Jones will be back on the available free-agent scrap heap to continue his journeyman-like NFL career.