The 49ers are unbeaten in the pre-season after they beat the Minnesota Vikings 17-7. San Francisco’s second preseason game was a battle of the reserves, where both teams have 27 players out. Ten players shined in a low-scoring attack, intensifying position battles across the roster. Let’s take a look at what they did well and what it means for their position group below.
The tight ends
The 49ers’ tight ends were the most targeted group against Minnesota’s defense. Tyler Kroft sparked San Francisco’s explosive plays early with a 19-yard reception. Kroft is looking to prove his durability after back injuries sidelined him last year.
Ross Dwelley grabbed all three of his goals as he looked to keep his head above water with the increased tight competition.
Last but not least, Tanner Hudson had the game-high in catches in yards, but a third-down drop and a holding penalty that negated a touchdown overshadowed his good play. Still, Hudson looked comfortable and is making a name for himself at TE3.
Jordan Mason was the shining light for me. I know it was late in the fourth quarter against players who might not even make the team, but he looked explosive and powerful. NinersNation’s own Jordan Elliot vouched for Mason before the game, and we should see him in more action next week. His 17-yard run was beast mode-like, and he deserves more attention from the Niners’ front office.
At first, I was worried that Drake Jackson was buried with the third-team defensive line, but it’s clear that his talent is constantly flashing. Jackson was raw against the run and made a close interception after recovering from being blocked on film. The rookie will make some impacts this year and wouldn’t doubt if he became a starter during the season.
Tarvarius Moore and George Odum
My concern for the safety position has been prominent throughout the offseason and now I am extremely concerned with the thought of Jimmie Ward missing Week 1. Tarvarius Moore looked springy after hitting for a touchdown last week. Moore was flying around early in the game, making a few tackles near the line of scrimmage.
George Odum continues to get comfortable at safety. His interception ended a Vikings drive where quarterback Kellen Mond was able to cut off DeMeco Ryans’ zone coverage. The interception is great to see after the Niners ranked 26th in catching the ball out of the air last year.
Willie Snead’s third-down catch in the third quarter kept the Niners’ only touchdown drive alive. The veteran ran sharp routes and returned three punts without an error. He looks to be a viable backup to Ray-Ray McCloud as a return specialist. Snead, entering his eighth year in the NFL, could see himself making the team with another solid performance.
Kickers never get the love unless they make a game-winning kick or carry the scoring for a stagnant offense. Robbie was “as good as Gould” as he went 3/3 for field goals. The Vikings play in a dome, so the 49-yarder may seem normal to many, but it’s good to see one of the highest-paid kickers still has it.
Samuel Womack’s box score may not scream “this player shined.” However, his fumble recovery and chase against a screen on third down stood out to me. I questioned Womack’s run defense, but his willingness to stick his nose in the fire was all I needed to see. The release of Darqueze Dennard likely leads to Womack starting at nickel cornerback.
I tried to stay away from negativity, but Trey Sermon’s fall on fourth down resembled his 49er tenure. Ty Davis-Price ran with a purpose, but I think Mason looked the best.
The TE3 competition will come down to consistency; which one of these tight ends can do it at a high level every play?
Odum and Moore are getting crucial game reps with the thought that Ward might be out. Let’s hope they continue to hold in coverage.