The San Francisco 49ers ended their preseason in a 27-24 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday. As the team shifts its focus to trimming its roster to 53, here are five players who impressed in the final tune up before the regular season.
1. RB Jeff Wilson Jr.
The second-year running back played 42 snaps on Thursday night and carried the ball 20 times for 100 yards and one touchdown. During his touchdown run, Wilson Jr. reversed the field and followed lead blocker C.J. Beathard for an impressive 41-yard dash into the end zone.
"I just felt the way the defense was flowing," Wilson Jr. said of his touchdown run postgame. "They were flowing really heavy. I saw the defensive end on the back side, who was almost on the other side or in the center almost. I just made my decision to stick my foot and go backfield. To see the cornerback sitting there, then to see C.J. (Beathard) behind me and for him to take off just gave me that extra power. I was like, I have to put it in now. If C.J. comes out there and blocks for me in the fourth preseason game, that speaks to his character. I was just trying to make his block that much better."
2. CB D.J. Reed Jr.
Reed Jr. displayed his ability as a return man when he took the 49ers first kickoff for 56 yards. In addition to Reed Jr.'s versatility in the secondary as both a corner and safety, his special teams talents are likely to play a role in his spot on the 49ers 53-man roster.
"D.J. Reed, he fights," Shanahan explained postgame. "He can play at a number of different spots. He helped us out at safety last year, we moved him to corner this year. We know he's got the capability to play all five of those spots back there and that's why I try to get them to punt again and decline that, because he's got a chance to return a punt all times, too. We wanted to give him that opportunity there where we did twice. I couldn't do it the third time. Didn't want to get – hurt, but D.J.'s a heck of a football player, and we're glad to have him."
3. DL Jeremiah Valoaga
In the preseason finale, Valoaga played 80 percent of the 49ers defensive snaps. The defensive lineman racked up 2.0 sacks and six total tackles, both team highs. Valoaga finished the preseason leading the 49ers in tackles (15) and sacks (4.5).
4. DL Damontre Moore
The sixth-year defensive lineman notched four total tackles bringing his preseason total to 13, which was tied for the third most by a 49ers defensemen this preseason.
The undrafted rookie signing was able to make a highlight play to end his preseason campaign. In the fourth quarter, Flannigan-Fowles jumped in front of Chargers wide receiver Andre Patton to haul in the 49ers first of two interceptions on the night.