49ers roster: Who is a lock, who is on the bubble in 2022?

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) and quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) and quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /
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Trey Lance, Jauan Jennings, San Francisco 49ers, George Kittle
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) with tight end George Kittle (85) and wide receiver Jauan Jennings (15) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers’ Offense: Locks

QB Trey Lance

QB Nate Sudfeld

RB Elijah Mitchell

RB Trey Sermon

RB Jeff Wilson, Jr

FB Kyle Juszczyk

WR Deebo Samuel

WR Brandon Aiyuk

WR Jauan Jennings

WR Ray-Ray McCloud

TE George Kittle

TE Charlie Woerner

LT Trent Williams

OG Aaron Banks

C Alex Mack

RT Mike McGlinchey

OT Jaylon Moore

OL Daniel Brunskill

Total: 18

There aren’t a lot of obvious holes for San Francisco’s offense in terms of starting roles, with quarterback Trey Lance relatively entrenched as the starter (even if head coach Kyle Shanahan won’t say that exactly) and Nate Sudfeld coming back on a decent contract (complete with guaranteed money) to be his backup.

Outside of the sport’s most important position, running back Elijah Mitchell, wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, fullback Kyle Juszcykz, and tight end George Kittle fill out the starters at the skill positions.

Meanwhile, third-year wideout Jauan Jennings earned the right to come into 2022 as the No. 3 option at receiver with newly signed return specialist Ray-Ray McCloud coming in as a fourth option. The team could certainly look to supplement this unit in the draft, especially with a more-traditional slot receiver.

The running back room outside of Mitchell is solid, but an argument could be made that Trey Sermon slots in here mostly on the strength of his having been a third-round draft pick just last season and that he’ll need to do more to prove he’s a player who can be counted on as Mitchell’s direct backup.

Hence the inclusion of Jeff Wilson here, a player the team clearly likes and who also has value as a special teamer if he gets supplanted by Sermon.

The tight end group outside of Kittle is shaky, in spite of the return of Ross Dwelley (notably missing here) on a one-year deal. Charlie Woerner stays because of his value as a blocker, but this is a unit that could use an upgrade next to its All-Pro caliber starter.

Then there’s the offensive line, which may be in better shape than most would expect but still has a lot of question marks. Trent Williams and Alex Mack will start, although the 49ers will hopefully look to draft a long-term replacement for the veteran center this year. Beyond that, it feels like the team made the Aaron Banks selection in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft expecting now-New York Jets guard Laken Tomlinson to leave in free agency this offseason, but Niners’ fans will question whether Banks is ready.

The Mike McGlinchey conundrum is also a real one, as the 49ers have already picked up his fifth-year option, meaning they’re on the hook for the tackle’s $10.8 million salary for 2022 no matter what. His torn quadricep was surgically repaired, so the hope is that he can be ready to go for the start of the season. This might allow San Francisco to sign him to an extension to lower his cap hit for 2022, but that will depend heavily on how he responds to the surgery.

If McGlinchey can’t go, expect Jaylon Moore to be an option to fill the right tackle position. But he’s here as a lock because the former Western Michigan Bronco could also be in contention at right guard, provided McGlinchey is good to go.

Moore will battle with Daniel Brunskill, who has proved to be of great use to the 49ers over the last few seasons, playing all across the offensive line and was the starter at right guard throughout 2021. His versatility lands him on this side of the bubble, but this also seems like a place the team could upgrade in the draft.

Still, depending on how the rest of the line shakes out, having a guy like Brunskill on the team, even as the swing-everything player, would be valuable.