SANTA CLARA – Here’s who stood out during the 49ers’ 27-24 preseason loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
- TE Ross Dwelley. Didn’t play because he made the team already. The 49ers wanted to protect their No. 2 tight end from injury during a meaningless exhibition game because he’s important to them. Dwelley could become the 49ers’ secret weapon, like Garrett Celek was their secret weapon during Celek Time in 2017. Dwelley Time should be better.
- RB Jeff Wilson Jr. Rushed 20 times for 100 yards and scored a beautiful 41-yard touchdown run by cutting back across the entire field. That’s the type of play Seahawks running backs Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny make. Wilson Jr. reminds me of those two. He’s fast enough for the big play, but not a finesse runner. He delivers blows every time he touches the ball, which makes him totally unique on the 49ers, an asset for them in short-yardage situations and the red zone. They should give him on a spot on the roster. If they cut him, I expect another team – hello, Dallas – would sign him.
- DE Damontre Moore. Recorded four tackles, one for a loss and one quarterback hit while playing with a cast on his hand. Clearly outplayed the other starting defensive end, Ronald Blair, who gave up a 42-yard run. Moore should make the final roster. The 49ers will need him this season when Nick Bosa is out.
- RG Joshua Garnett. Played 55 snaps and didn’t get injured. If the 49ers cut him, another team that needs a backup guard might sign him, and no team needs a backup guard more than the 49ers. They should probably keep Garnett.
- KR D.J. Reed. Returned a kickoff 56 yards during the first quarter. Reed isn’t the 49ers starting kick returner – Richie James Jr. is – but Reed is an excellent backup kickoff returner. Probably one of the best in the league.
- LB Mark Nzeocha. Intercepted a pass and made a tackle at the 18-yard line during a kick return. Nzeocha seems like the best special teams player among the 49ers’ backup linebackers. He probably should make the team.
THE NOT SO GOOD
- QB C.J. Beathard. Completed six of nine passes for 58 yards and one touchdown against mostly third-string players. Made one particularly bad play on fourth and two. Dropped back and stared at Deebo Samuel, who was open running a slant route. Beathard saw Samuel wide open, looked away from him and forced a pass to Levine Toilolo, who was covered. The pass was incomplete. Inexplicable decision by Beathard, who probably never will be good enough to even manage an NFL offense. The 49ers should try to trade him to the Indianapolis Colts for a conditional seventh-round draft pick. If the Colts decline, the 49ers should just cut him.
- WR Kendrick Bourne. Scored a touchdown late in the first half, but also dropped his third pass in four games. This time, he was running a deep over route, and he let the ball bounce off his chest. For a possession receiver, Bourne sure drops lots of passes and makes lots of mistakes. I would cut him.
- FS Adrian Colbert. Pulled his hamstring on the fourth play of the game. Maybe the 49ers can put him on IR instead of releasing him. Either way, he shouldn’t make the final roster.
- LB David Mayo. Missed a tackle and gave up a 17-yard catch. Looked stiff and slow. The 49ers should probably keep a younger backup linebacker instead of Mayo.
- CB D.J. Reed. Gave up a 25-yard catch to Artavis Scott. Reed has played free safety, nickel back and cornerback since joining the 49ers, and has struggled at all three spots. He’s a much better kick returner than defensive back.
- OT Justin Skule. Chargers defensive ends repeatedly pushed him back into Beathard’s face during pass plays. Skule has quick feet, but he needs more lower-body strength before he can play in a real game. The 49ers don’t have a viable backup swing tackle for this season.