The San Francisco 49ers head to Houston to play the Texans for the second game of the preseason. Who should you keep an eye on?
The San Francisco 49ers opened their preseason campaign by coming back late against the Dallas Cowboys to sneak in a victory. This week, they face another Texas team in the Texans. Houston also won their first preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs so one of these two teams will exit the game with an unbeaten preseason record.
The 49ers have incredible depth to open up the season, something they haven’t had in some time. But since they have great depth during the preseason, the 49ers will have to make tough decisions during roster cuts. The following players will be some of the ones to look out for when the game kicks off.
The 49ers used their second-round pick to select wide receiver Dante Pettis. In the first game, Pettis was targeted four times but only caught the ball once on a deep pass from C.J. Beathard that went for 53 yards. The catch was good enough for the longest play of the game, but could’ve went for a touchdown had Beathard threw it earlier. There has been a great amount of talk about how Pettis has been making plays and standing out during practice, but it needs to be shown on the field more often. He has the talent to be the best wide receiver of the 2018 draft class so look out for more of Pettis on Saturday.
A seventh-round pick by the 49ers in the 2018 draft, Richie James also made significant noise during training camp. He followed that up by a great first game, catching four passes for 46 yards on five targets. His most notable play was the touchdown catch between two defenders with just seconds remaining in the game to complete the comeback. If James keeps up his play, he’ll make the roster and be another late gem found by San Francisco.
San Francisco has great depth at the running back position, but some names will be gone. One of the biggest battles is for that third running back spot. With Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida suffering injuries, the game will be opened up for someone to fill in. Raheem Mostert, Joe Williams, and Jeremy McNichols are all fighting for that spot. However, things got more interesting when the 49ers announced the signing of Alfred Morris. Mostert led the running backs with 57 yards on eight carries against Dallas but also fumbled once. Mostert has proven to be one of the best special team players that the league has to offer and will be watched a lot come Saturday.
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Another seventh-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Jullian Taylor started making noise during training camp as he beat out other players. The 49ers desperately need help with the pass rush and against Dallas, Taylor provided some hope. Taylor played every quarter and racked up one sack, one tackle for loss (TFL) and two quarterback hits. Taylor will be counted on again to produce and give the 49ers some pass rush hope.
Making headlines this week because he got into a fight in practice against DeAndre Hopkins, Jimmie Ward comes next. Ward had a bad start against the Cowboys as he allowed an easy touchdown while covering rookie wideout Michael Gallup. He was in perfect position to break the ball up or even intercept it but stopped moving his feet and Gallup took advantage. Ward needs to start impressing soon or his time in the Bay may soon end.
Another rookie on this list, D.J. Reed was the fifth-round pick by the 49ers this past draft. He lacks the size you normally see in a corner back but provides depth and competition at the slot corner position. Reed is a solid tackler and is very physical against his opponent. Reed also made great plays throughout training camp and had a solid game against Dallas, where he recorded three total tackles.
There are plenty of players to choose from, but these are my picks of players to watch against Houston.