49ers roster: 3 players who should be promoted up from practice squad

Dontae Johnson #27 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Dontae Johnson #27 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /
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Tayler Hawkins, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers safety Tayler Hawkins (41) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers practice squad player No. 3: Safety Tayler Hawkins

In a sense, the Niners didn’t necessarily need Jimmie Ward to return in Week 5, given how well this side of the ball has performed en route to being the NFL’s top-billed defense so far this season.

Even Ward joked about this prior to his return from the hamstring injury:


San Francisco has received excellent play from one of those contingency additions prior to the regular season, Tashaun Gipson, while second-year strong safety Talanoa Hufanga is making a strong bid for a Pro Bowl nod with his own play, too.

That said, adding a depth piece to support these two while adding some special teams prowess wouldn’t hurt.

Rookie defensive back Tayler Hawkins might have gone undrafted, but he impressed during both training camp and in the preseason, recording an interception during that exhibition phase and allowing a passer rating of just 47.9 when targeted, according to Pro Football Focus.

Granted, the regular-season context is vastly different, but Hawkins might be worth an extended look on the active roster.