49ers’ Latest Cut Could Mean 4 Promotions for Once-Thin Group

Ambry Thomas

Getty Ambry Thomas during an August 29, 2021 preseason game versus the Las Vegas Raiders.

Lose one, gain four for the San Francisco 49ers?

Signs are pointing that way for the ‘Niners following their Friday, January 7 roster moves with the Los Angeles Rams on deck in two days.

Tight end Tanner Hudson was the waive by the franchise, who saw action in Weeks 5, 7 and 17 according to the 49ers team website. The team announced the transaction at 12:20 p.m. PT Friday.

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But the decision to place the 6-foot-5, 239-pounder on waivers led to one key elevation for the 49ers with Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham Jr. and company on deck — and also points to one once thin position unit to suddenly be at full strength for the critical NFC West showdown with a playoff berth on the line.

Rookie Cornerback Cleared

The elevated 49er is rookie cornerback Ambry Thomas, who just three days ago on Tuesday, January 4 got placed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list.

But now, the first-year player from Michigan was captured stretching out and running through defensive drills during the 49ers’ Friday afternoon practice in Santa Clara — indicating he’s been removed from the said list.

Thomas may not be the only promoted player from that COVID list.

More Cornerbacks Could Follow Thomas

Before the week of preparation for the Rams, the 49ers were decimated at the CB spot with Thomas, Dontae Johnson, Deommodore Lenoir and K’Waun Williams all getting placed on that list.

But with Hudson’s move, 49ers insider David Lombardi has the feeling that the next crop of promoted 49ers will come from that position group.

Lombardi added in a subsequent tweet “As it currently stands, the 49ers’ cornerback situation looks OK but not great but they still don’t have a specialized nickelback available. Safety is also sketchy. A Jimmie Ward return from the COVID list would assuage multiple issues since he’s also a nickel versus Kupp.”

So the good news for the cornerbacks are the 49ers are no longer limited to just Josh Norman and practice squad option Darqueze Dennard as the fully healthy remaining active corners — with the latter getting added to the roster via the New York Giants on Tuesday.

More added good news: Signs are indicating that the team will soon welcome back Emmanuel Moseley from his high ankle sprain, further adding to the needed depth. Lombardi says Moseley is expected to reclaim his starting spot for Sunday.

But not official yet, although looking more optimistic among the 49ers, will be the team welcoming back the remaining cornerbacks just in time for the Rams contest.

49ers Head Coach Energized About One Defender’s Return

Head coach Kyle Shanahan is elated to know that the franchise is in the process of adding back Moseley.

“Today was the first time he got to do some full-speed stuff,” Shanahan said during an appearance on KNBR on Thursday. “Looked good out there. Him and Josh (Norman), they’re the only guys out there who don’t have COVID that are normal starters. So everyone else isn’t out there. So it’s been good work for him to not have to split it with anybody. We’ll see where these other guys are at hopefully Saturday when hopefully they’re allowed to come back into the building and we get to find out about their conditioning and stuff and where they’re at. Thank goodness Moseley’s available this week so we have another option.”

Just four days ago, the 49ers were looking depleted at cornerback due to COVID-19. But even then, Shanahan was optimistic about the chances of having everyone to the Bay Area media.

Friday is the indication that there will be cornerback depth, with the head coach maintaining his optimism.

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