49ers rookie power rankings as 2021 preseason comes to a close

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
1 of 6
San Francisco 49ers, training camp
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (45) , linebacker Elijah Sullivan (59) , linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair (51) and running back Eli Mitchell (49) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

Niner Noise combs through the 49ers 2021 rookie class and breaks down the group power rankings-style with the preseason wrapping up.

So far through two preseason games, the San Francisco 49ers‘ 2021 rookie class is looking like it’ll turn into a solid investment.

With one more exhibition game on the docket — a home bout against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, Aug. 29 — and the final cuts ahead of the 53-man roster being named, the Niners should feel pretty good about the class of eight players selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, as well as some of the undrafted free agents added after draft day.

True, not all the selections are panning out as desired. But if one figures the bulk of NFL Draft classes produce two, perhaps three starting-caliber players any given year, head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch should feel pretty confident the early returns from this particular class will be alright.

But where does the group of first-year players stand when compared to each other?

Let’s break them all down power rankings-style leading up to San Francisco’s preseason finale.

. . . Alfredo Gutierrez. 11. player. 42

49ers Offensive Lineman Alfredo Gutierrez

In terms of making an immediate impact, undrafted rookie offensive lineman Alfredo Gutierrez probably won’t have that in 2021.

Part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway program, Gutierrez actually counted as the 91st player on the roster, a space awarded to NFC West teams this year, and he’ll be awarded a spot on the practice squad without counting against the regular 16-man group.

Gutierrez received positive reviews during training camp, so his development should be nice to watch.

. . . Elijah Sullivan. 10. player. 42

49ers Linebacker Elijah Sullivan

The 49ers’ placement of veteran linebacker Mychal Kendricks (toe) on injured reserve opens up the door for another UDFA addition, linebacker Elijah Sullivan, to get additional reps.

Over two preseason games, he has four tackles and has made a small thump on special teams.

The only thing keeping Sullivan from climbing any higher on this list, though, is the presence of another UDFA linebacker likely in his way.