49ers vs. Chiefs: 5 fringe players who impressed most in preseason loss

JaMycal Hasty #23 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
JaMycal Hasty #23 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Jonas Griffith, San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, Mecole Hardman
Jonas Griffith #53 of the San Francisco 49ers breaks up the pass to Mecole Hardman #17 of the Kansas City Chiefs (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

49ers Fringe Player No. 1: Linebacker Jonas Griffith

The fact the 49ers signed veteran linebacker Mychal Kendricks in the middle of Saturday’s game speaks to their confidence in the depth at the position.

Linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw are fine. But with third-year backer Azeez Al-Shaair dealing with an injury, along with fellow undrafted rookies Justin Hilliard and Elijah Sullivan, trying to make an impact, the Niners may find themselves forced to rely more upon second-year pro Jonas Griffith.

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Griffith, who spent his rookie season on the practice squad, was all over the place Saturday night, registering four tackles and breaking up two passes while in coverage.

Read More: 49ers need Mychal Kendricks to boost linebacker depth

After the game, Griffith credited first-year defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans for giving him the tools to be successful so far in training camp and in the preseason.

Kendricks’ addition likely means there’ll be only one more spot on San Francisco’s 53-man roster for a linebacker, and it could end up going to Al-Shaair if he’s able to return healthy enough from his camp knee injury, which isn’t thought to be serious.

But Griffith should now squarely be in the discussion for a back-of-the-roster spot on the depth chart here, potentially surpassing Al-Shaair at the biggest point or even convincing the 49ers to keep five linebackers heading into the regular season.

Next. 3 overreactions from 49ers preseason loss to Chiefs. dark