Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Kyle Madson

7 players to watch in 49ers 2nd preseason game vs. Broncos

Buy 49ers Tickets

The 49ers on Saturday will suit up for their second of three preseason games. While their preseason opener didn’t go particularly well with a 34-7 loss to the Raiders in Las Vegas, it did give some valuable information about where some key players stood in the hunt for starting jobs and roster spots.

Based on the preseason opener and the trio of practices since, we put together a list of the seven players we’re keeping a close eye on when the Broncos visit Levi’s Stadium on Saturday.

QB Brock Purdy

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

It sounds like Purdy is going to play a series or two, although nothing has been made official on that front. If he does play it’ll be interesting to see how he responds in his first live game situation since tearing his UCL in the first quarter of the NFC championship game in January. Production is less important at this point than comfort. As long as Purdy doesn’t look antsy in the pocket or hesitant to make throws, it’ll be a good sign for his progress.

DL Javon Kinlaw

(AP Photo/David Banks)

The preseason opener was a nice warmup for Kinlaw. He wasn’t super productive and overshot a couple of run plays pretty badly, but he won a few reps handily. Now he has to start coupling those wins with some playmaking, particularly as a pass rusher. Getting into the backfield is nice, but now he has to come up with some run stops and generate some pressure on the quarterback. Keep a close eye on No. 99 since his battles against an opposing offensive lineman will tell the real story about his progress as a player this offseason.

QB Trey Lance

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Lance isn’t slated to play until the third quarter according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. There’s one major change that the third-year signal caller can make Saturday. He needs to throw the ball when a window comes open. It was clear multiple times vs. the Raiders that Lance was ready to pull the trigger on a throw, but held onto it and either checked down or took a sack. He needs to trust his eyes and show off his big arm. If he can do that and also hit the easy throws like he did in Las Vegas, it would make it much easier to see him winning the backup job in San Francisco.

OL Ilm Manning

(AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Chances are we’ll see Manning lined up at his natural left tackle position. He stood out in the preseason opener and drew praise from offensive line coach/run game coordinator Chris Foerster. The undrafted rookie from Hawaii has a long climb to a roster spot since his long-term NFL future is likely on the interior, but if he shines again in another preseason game the club might have to consider that he’s one of their best seven or eight offensive linemen.

WR Ronnie Bell

(Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

Can Bell back up his preseason debut with another strong outing? That’s the big question for the seventh-round pick from Michigan who acquitted himself well against the Raiders with three catches for a team-high 58 yards. He also handled kick return duties to start the game. If he puts together another productive game on offense and special teams it might secure him a roster spot.

CB Isaiah Oliver

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

While we look see if Bell can back up his good preseason opener, we’re also looking to see if Oliver can bounce back from a bad one. Oliver was the only projected starter to play in Las Vegas, and he struggled badly against a slate of Raiders reserves. The performance and subsequent practices have made it clear there’s a real competition at nickel corner. If Oliver plays well against Denver it would go a long way toward getting him back toward the top of the slot CB depth chart.

DE Clelin Ferrell

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

It’s been tough to follow the 49ers training camp and preseason and not notice that Ferrell appears to be playing the best football of his career. He posted a sack against the Raiders where he decisively beat the left tackle. If he plays well against the Broncos on Saturday there’s a chance he not only wins the starting job opposite Nick Bosa, but it might also signal that a career year is coming for the former No. 4 overall pick.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.