49ers Make Final Call on ‘Promising’ Young DB

Taylor Hawkins (No. 41), formerly of the 49ers

Getty Taylor Hawkins (No. 41), formerly of the 49ers

After spending last year, his first in the NFL, on the 49ers‘ practice squad, it certainly appeared possible that cornerback Tayler Hawkins—who went undrafted in 2022 out of San Diego State but was signed as a free agent—would land on the 53-man regular roster this year.

Hawkins had an understanding of the defense and there was bit more room on the roster, with the departures of Jimmie Ward and Tavarius Ward from the Niners’ defensive backfield. What’s more, he impressed defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, who hyped him up last month after the Niners’ woeful preseason opener against the Raiders, a 34-7 loss.

But it was all for naught, as Hawkins suffered a hand injury on August 25, in the 49ers’ final preseason game. That made Hawkins an easy cut from the 53-man roster and, this week, forced Hawkins and the Niners to come to an injury settlement, and he was waived off the IR altogether this week.

Hawkins Showed Promise

Hawkins, who is 25, had shown promise and versatility for the Niners in the preseason before the unfortunate injury. It was believed that he was battling veteran free-agent signee Myles Hartsfield for one of the final spots on the roster, but ultimately, the 49ers decided to cut Hartsfield, too, when the 53-man roster was finalized.

Hawkins got special mention after the Raiders preseason game.

“(Hawkins) he showed a lot of promise in the things that he was doing, as well as (safety) Ji’Ayir Brown. Hawk has always been one of my favorites throughout training camp, and it was great to see him get in the game and show some flashes,” Wilks said at the time, per 49ersWebZone.com.

When asked why Hawkins was a favorite of his, Wilks said:

“Just the mere fact of how he practiced, and I’ve seen the improvement from OTAs and minicamp to really translating it into a game-like situation, and that’s what I was waiting on. So I thought he had some great plays. Most importantly, I thought he played within the defense. So I was excited to see that.”

Kicker Jake Moody on Track for Sunday

The 49ers’ injury report is especially well-populated heading into the Week 1 game in Pittsburgh, with 13 players listed. Three—center Jon Feliciano, defensive back George Odum and quarterback Brock Purdy—were able to go for a full practice on Thursday, while two others, safety Talanoa Hufanga and cornerback Chavarius Ward, were downgraded to full missed practice.

Eight players were listed as limited in practice, which includes star edge rusher Nick Bosa, who ended his holdout this week after he was awarded a record-setting five-year, $170 million contract extension. Bosa is not quite up to full speed yet, but is expected to play, possibly a lot, against the Steelers.

The other very concerning injury on the Niners report is that of kicker Jake Moody, who is fighting through a quadriceps pull. Coach Mike Shanahan said Moody probably will be ready for Sunday.

“Just as long as he doesn’t have a setback,” Shanahan said. “He’s looking good now, and I feel good about him, and I’d be surprised if he’s not there. So we’ll keep going at the pace we’re at. As long as he doesn’t have a setback, we should be all right.”




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