SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers released their first unofficial regular-season depth chart on Tuesday afternoon. There weren't many surprises to be found on that list, but there are some interesting things worth noting.
As always, it's important to remember these are unofficial and the real depth chart will reveal itself this Sunday when the Niners and Carolina Panthers meet at Levi's Stadium.
For now, let's take a quick spin around the depth chart and what jumped out at first glance:
Let's start at guard, where the 49ers list Zane Beadles as the starter on the left side and Brandon Fusco on the right. That's consistent with what we saw during the preseason. Recently-acquired guard Laken Tomlinson is the backup to Beadles. Keep in mind, Tomlinson only arrived this past Saturday, so while he will have a shot to win the starting job, it's too early to make that call. For what it's worth, rookie Erik Magnuson is listed as the backup to Fusco but is also second in line at center behind Daniel Kilgore.
It was essentially a foregone conclusion that Reuben Foster would start at weakside linebacker when Malcolm Smith suffered a season-ending pectoral injury. That is the case as the Niners head into Sunday. Tight end George Kittle also tops the depth chart at his position and could join Foster as a rookie getting his first start this week. I've mentioned this before but whether Kittle technically starts the game might depend on matchups and what coach Kyle Shanahan has in the game plan. But even if Kittle isn't on the field for the first play, he's going to get the snaps of a starter.
Speaking of rookies, receiver Trent Taylor is the backup to Pierre Garcon at one receiver spot, though his role in the offense will be in the slot. I expect to see the Niners also bring Aldrick Robinson in and move Marquise Goodwin to the slot when they go three-wide. Taylor is listed as the top punt returner, which seems about right given that he was second behind Jeremy Kerley in the preseason and Kerley is no longer with the team.
Running back Raheem Mostert is third on the depth chart at running back behind Carlos Hyde and Matt Breida. Mostert is also listed as the kick returner, a job he held during the entire preseason and training camp.
Considering Taylor is the punt returner and Mostert is the kick returner, some might wonder what that means for Victor Bolden Jr. Well, the rookie receiver is listed third on the depth chart behind Goodwin and Robinson and the backup to both Taylor and Mostert for the return jobs. That could mean that Bolden won't be on the active roster come Sunday as Mostert plays more special teams and Taylor has a role in the offense. That's not a guarantee, however. Bolden looked like he was clearly the most explosive option the Niners have for their return jobs in the preseason. Suffice to say, we'll keep a close eye on whether Bolden is active against the Panthers and if he is, if he is involved on special teams.
Tank Carradine is still listed as the starter at the "big" defensive end spot. He held that job all through the offseason and training camp and though rookie Solomon Thomas could unseat him at some point, it's a safe bet that both will get their share of snaps.
K'Waun Williams is the top nickel corner, which is also in line with what has happened before but it's worth a mention that Keith Reaser is considered his backup. Reaser has played the nickel before but spent most of the preseason playing on the outside.
Some jersey numbers have changed after the cut from 90 players to 53. The new numbers to know include Bolden (17), receiver Kendrick Bourne (10), Breida (22), safety Lorenzo Jerome (26), cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (23), defensive tackle D.J. Jones (93) and linebacker Pita Taumoepenu (55).