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11 Notable 49ers Players to Return in 2018 from Injured Reserve

Posted Jan 9, 2018

Check out which injured players could return to make a big impact in 2018.

You could nearly compile an entire starting lineup from the San Francisco 49ers placed on Injured Reserve in 2017. The injury bug bit hard, and it bit often, taking several impact players at crucial positions.

Here’s a list of the top 10 such players, all of whom have a chance to make an impact in 2018.

1. WR Pierre Garçon

Who else had the thought, “Dang, Jimmy Garoppolo is balling out, and Garçon isn’t even out there,” at some point during the end of the season? San Francisco’s top wideout missed the final half of the year due to a neck injury. Garçon was on pace for 1,000 yards with 40 receptions for 500 yards through his first eight games with the 49ers. Everyone will be eager to see what he can do with Garoppolo in 2018, assuming the QB is back in San Francisco.

2. S Jaquiski Tartt

Tartt really developed this season as an imposing defensive back with the versatility to play both strong and free safety. He recorded 54 tackles, one interception and .5 sacks in nine games (eight starts) before a broken forearm ended his season.

3. S Jimmie Ward

Like Tartt, Ward also suffered a fractured forearm. Injuries continue to hinder the talented safety. A hamstring strain cost Ward all of training camp and the preseason. Even so, Ward offers a promising skill set, and he played well when healthy in 2017. He logged 32 tackles and one fumble recovery in seven games (six starts). With the emergence of Adrian Colbert, it will be interesting whether Ward stays at safety or moves back to corner next season.

4. RT Trent Brown

Brown has continued to develop into one of the league’s top right tackles. A shoulder injury limited him to 10 games in 2017, but Brown’s future is still very bright in San Francisco.

5. LB Malcolm Smith

Smith was projected to be the team's starting WILL linebacker before tearing a pectoral muscle in training camp. He is likely to be penciled into that spot again despite missing all of 2017. He was brought here specifically to fill that role in Robert Saleh's defense.

6. G Joshua Garnett

Garnett missed the entire season after suffering a knee injury at the team’s open practice in August. He’s a wildcard heading into 2018, but he has the potential to fill a major need for the 49ers and shore up the interior of the offensive line.

7. DL Arik Armstead

Both Kyle Shanahan and Robert Saleh said that Armstead was playing his best game of the year against the Washington Redskins in Week 6 before leaving with a hand injury. The broken hand ended his season. Like Ward, Armstead has had trouble staying healthy during his three NFL seasons. He’s still only 24-years old and offers tremendous upside at 6-foot-7, 292 pounds.

8. RB Raheem Mostert

Mostert was one of the top gunners in the entire NFL before suffering a knee injury in Week 12. His excellent preseason also showed that he’s a capable running back as well. His roster spot will be tough to take away given his contributions on punt coverage.

9. WR Aaron Burbridge

As a rookie in 2016, Burbridge was San Francisco’s special teams standout. He will likely be competing with Mostert for a roster spot next summer. There’s also a chance that Burbridge and Mostert are the two gunners on punt coverage in 2018.

10. S Chanceller James

James was a promising undrafted free agent before tearing his ACL in August. At 6-foot-2, 208 pounds, he’s got the necessary size to fit the billing as a hard-hitting safety.

11. RB Joe Williams

Williams season ended before it even started. An ankle injury landed the rookie running back on IR when final roster cuts were announced. Shanahan loved Williams coming out of Utah, but the former Utes star will have plenty to prove in 2018.