49ers roster 2024: Kevin Givens always has a way of hanging around

Kevin Givens might be one of the Niners' less-appreciated players, but he'll nevertheless play a crucial role in 2024.
San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Kevin Givens (90)
San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Kevin Givens (90) / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

A fringe player, Kevin Givens has carved out a niche role with the 49ers that all but ensures his place on the 53-man roster in 2024.

Defensive tackle Kevin Givens is never going to be one of the primary names that comes to mind when thinking about the San Francisco 49ers defensive line.

As one of the longest-tenured members of this unit, though, perhaps he should be.

Givens, an undrafted free-agent pickup of the Niners back in 2019 out of Penn State, saw scant action his rookie year but became a vital member of the defense's rotation a year later, primarily thanks to the rash of injuries the team suffered during that awful 2020 season.

Then, in 2022, Givens became something of a regular starter, starting 11 games and notching a career-best two sacks as a base-down 1-technique nose tackle.

While Givens saw his starting time diminish in 2023, thanks to San Francisco inking veteran free-agent defensive tackle Javon Hargrave in tandem with fellow defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw being fully healthy and serving as an immediate reserve, the former's presence was nevertheless felt.

Over the course of 2023, Givens still got into all 17 regular-season games, recorded a career-high 22 tackles and tacked on 1.5 more sacks in a rotational role.

With Kinlaw joining the New York Jets during the offseason, as well as veteran defensive tackle Arik Armstead's release, Givens' path to a more prominent role should be easier.

Other offseason transactions stand in the way, though, but those don't exactly point to the 27-year-old Givens being pushed off the roster.

Kevin Givens will make 49ers' 53-man roster despite deep D-line

To help absolve the losses of Armstead and Kinlaw, the 49ers onboarded two other defensive tackles, Jordan Elliott and Maliek Collins, while also signing a high-priority undrafted free-agent, defensive tackle Evan Anderson, following the 2024 NFL Draft.

In addition to other bodies on the D-line, these moves could theoretically push the 6-foot-1, 285-pound Givens off the Niners' regular-season roster.

Not so fast, though.

Earlier this offseason, San Francisco re-signed Givens to a one-year, $2 million deal, all of which is guaranteed. With that in light, it'd take nearly a complete meltdown by the defensive tackle in training camp for him to wind up getting cut.

Givens' role with the 49ers is likely going to stay as a primary reserve, particularly on base downs when others like Collins, Hargrave and Elliott need a breather.

But, as has been the case the last few seasons, Givens is more than equipped to handle such duties.

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