Ranking of 49ers rookies across 5 games


The 49ers entered the 2021 season needing help from the back of their draft class after placing their first-round pick in an alternate quarterback role. It’s only been five games, but the first comebacks on this year’s rookie squad haven’t been great.

One thing that makes the 2021 49ers Draft Class interesting is No.3 pick Trey Lance, whose future success will ultimately decide this group’s long-term vision. If Lance is successful, any further failure can be forgiven. If Lance struggles, all hits after him become less important.

Ultimately, San Francisco’s ability to put together rosters for the Super Bowl will depend on its ability to find entry-level players through the NFL Draft.

Here’s our five-game progress report on the 49ers rookie squad:

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The sample size wasn’t large, but the flashes we’ve seen from Lance have been very promising. For six quarters as a quarterback and not a gimmick, he showed pocket loopholes, good speed and a big arm. There are some issues with reading and recognizing defenses which will be ironed out with more playing time. Its accuracy is also a bit inconsistent. The 49ers knew, however, they were starting a draft with the No.3 pick. Overall, the early returns on Lance have been promising even if playing time is minimal.

Category B-

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The 49ers came back in the second round and clinched Banks No. 48 overall. So far, the move has been an absolute disaster. The former Notre Dame failed to make his way through the starting right guard competition at camp and was injured in the first preseason game. As a result, Banks has been a good scratch in all five games while the right guard continues to be a problem for San Francisco.

Rating: F

(AP Photo / Jeff Lewis)

The 49ers traded two fourth-round picks to move up to 88th overall for Sermon. He had a rough start as a healthy scratch in week 1. In week 2 he suffered a concussion on his transport alone, and in week 3 he scored a touchdown but only averaged 3.1 yards per carry. He was better in Week 4 with 89 yards on 19 attempts, but was relegated to the bench again in Week 5 when he only got one carry. There have been a few flashes of the Sermon, but the inconsistency is pretty hard to ignore from a running back caught in the top 90.

Rating: D

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Thomas has retired from the 2020 varsity season, which may be one reason he’s struggled to get his NFL career off the ground. Despite tons of first-team reps at training camp, Thomas has yet to carve out a role for himself in a secondary that has been bombarded with injuries. In the 49ers’ first five games, he only saw action in two of them, with most of his work coming from special teams. Thomas played nine snaps in Game 1 of the season in Detroit and allowed three catches for 44 yards on three targets. Michigan’s third-round pick still has plenty of time to put his legs in the NFL, but the start of his career hasn’t been good.

Rating: F

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San Francisco selected Moore’s No. 155 overall with the intention of kicking him inside to compete for right guard after playing left tackle for four years at Western Michigan. An injury to left tackle Trent Williams kept Moore in his natural position and he coped well through the preseason, eventually winning the swing tackle position. His brief stint of 22 slams in Week 4 when Williams came out with a shoulder injury resulted in pressure allowed in 18 pass blocking slams by Pro Football Focus. While he hasn’t contributed much on the court, getting a quality swing tackle with a fifth-round pick isn’t bad.

Category B

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Lenoir was selected with pick n ° 172 and tabulated as a nickel wedge. The Oregon product was pushed to an outside cornerback role at camp due to injury and ended up getting a starting job with Emmanuel Moseley for the first two weeks. He also saw a ton of playing time in Week 3 after Josh Norman got injured. Since then it has been relegated to a special teams role. Lenoir flashed several times during his stint as the starting outside cornerback and looked set to grab a full-time job as soon as possible. Teams targeted him 18 times and he allowed nine catches for 161 yards and a touchdown. It has also been reported twice. Playing time may be down for Lenoir, but his future arrow is pointing up.

Category B-

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There wasn’t a defensive player who made more noise in the camp than Hufanga once the pads were in place. USC’s No. 180 overall selection said on draft day that their goal was to make the Pro Bowl on special teams as a rookie. He almost ended up securing the starting security post and appears to be in contention for that spot next season. Hufanga in the regular season played 100 special teams snaps and did a bit of defensive work, but he was largely without an impact. One play that jumps out, however, is a third-down safety blitz against the Cardinals where he ran freely around the corner and nearly found Arizona QB Kyler Murray to force a third down to throw late into the match. Like Lenoir, Hufanga’s future arrow points upward even though he hasn’t produced a ton in five games.

Rating: C

(AP Photo / Jeff Lewis)

It seemed inconceivable that the 49ers would draft two running backs after taking none in the previous three draft, but it’s a good thing they did. Mitchell, Louisiana Lafayette’s No. 194 pick, has been the team’s best running back when he’s in good health. He amassed 104 yards on 19 carries in Game 1 of the season after Raheem Mostert injured himself. Then he was injured in Week 2 and came back in Week 5 to score 43 yards on nine attempts. Mitchell has a good combination of speed, vision and stopping ability that allows him to work much like Mostert in Kyle Shanahan’s outside zone scheme. Mitchell in three games has 189 yards and one touchdown on 45 carries, and is expected to be the starting backer for the foreseeable future.

Note: A-

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