With the San Francisco 49ers squaring off against the Houston Texans later this evening, it will be a game in which many key players will be out of action. In fact, eleven 49ers players will not be participating in today’s first preseason game as RB Reggie Bush, WR Bruce Ellington, LB Philip Wheeler, WR Dres Anderson, LB Nick Bellore, RB Kendall Hunter, OLB Aaron Lynch, C/G Daniel Kilgore, WR DeAndre Smelter, DB Jimmie Ward, and ILB Michael Wilhoite will all be MIA.
A blessing in disguise, as other players will now have the opportunity to shine in their absence, I have identified three players who I believe will stand out in today’s game. So without further ado, those three players are:
1. DE Tank Carradine (No. 95)
Analysis: Carradine is by far the team’s best pass-rusher from the four-technique. A player who can generate a strong push at the point of attack with the ability to two-gap under DC Eric Mangini’s scheme, I fully expect big things from Carradine tonight. Whether making tackles at or near the line of scrimmage or getting into the backfield, look for Carradine to shine in a big way as I predict him to have at least 1.5 sacks tonight.
2. OLB Eli Harold (No. 58)
Analysis: Harold has been labeled a ‘freak athlete’ due to his rare combination of athleticism and strength. A player that will thrive under Mangini’s Dom Capers’ type defense, look for Harold to put on a show as he makes a name for himself in OLB Aaron Lynch’s absence. From pass break-ups to chasing ball-carriers sideline-to-sideline, Harold will wow the Forever Faithful tonight as I predict a stat line around 6 tackles, 1.0 sack, and two pass break-ups.
3. P Bradley Pinion (No. 5)
Analysis: This rookie is an absolute baller when it comes to pinning the ball inside opponents 20-yard line. From directional punting to elite hang-time, everyone will be impressed with Pinion as he should yield a punt average of around 49.8 yards per punt with a average hang time of around 4.8-5.1 seconds during today’s game.