Nick Zakelj has appeared scantly for the 49ers this season, but he'll be absent for the rest of the year with a biceps injury.
There are plenty of legitimate questions as to why the San Francisco 49ers elected to keep second-year offensive lineman Nick Zakelj on the 53-man roster in 2023.
After all, Zakelj had all kinds of troubles during training camp and the preseason. With other options for O-line depth seemingly better, it's still a wonder how he managed to hang around at the expense of others who may have been of a higher caliber.
Perhaps it's the fact that Zakelj is quarterback Brock Purdy's roommate.
Either way, the Niners will be without Zakelj for the rest of the season.
Nick Zakelj suffers season-ending injury, 49ers to place him on injured reserve
Zakelj, who hasn't seen any offensive snaps at all in 2023, has exclusively played on special teams this year when he suffered the injury at the halfway point of the season.
The designation to IR will open up another roster spot for the 49ers, and as Maiocco pointed out, they could go with in-house options like Jesse Davis, Henry Byrd, Ilm Manning and Corey Luciano, who are all on the practice squad.
It's also possible for the Niners to peruse the free-agent wire and/or explore other teams' practice squads for a fill-in replacement.
San Francisco selected Zakelj in Round 5 of the 2022 NFL Draft out of Fordham, and he's appeared in nine games over his pro career.