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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Marcelino McCrary-Ball, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Marcelino McCrary-Ball (40) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers practice squad player No. 2: Linebacker Marcelino McCrary-Ball

One of the other injuries the 49ers are dealing with right now is the loss of linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair to an ankle injury suffered back in Week 3.

Granted, the Niners already had a trio of starting-caliber linebackers, Al-Shaair joined by both Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw, meaning they could afford to have one of them sit on an injury list as long as there wasn’t any substantial injury to one of the other two.

On top of that, San Francisco trusts depth linebacker and special teams ace Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles to plug the gap. Veteran Oren Burks is in the mix, too.

However, as is the case with Tayler Hawkins, undrafted rookie Marcelino McCrary-Ball impressed during the preseason, and fans shouldn’t soon forget his interception and substantial return in the Week 1 exhibition game against the Green Bay Packers:

That one play wasn’t enough to put McCrary-Ball on the 53-man roster, but it undoubtedly convinced the 49ers to further develop him on their practice squad.

As a No. 5 linebacker until Al-Shaair returns, however, McCrary-Ball would be worth exploring as a depth contingency plan.