The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 17-9, in the team’s preseason opener on Saturday. San Francisco sat 29 players in the exhibition game giving an opportunity for many rookies and new faces to see a heightened snap count. Here are five players that stood out in the 49ers first preseason contest.
1. WR Jalen Hurd
A converted running back turned wide receiver in college, Hurd demonstrated his ability to produce in the red zone, catching three passes for 31 yards and both of San Francisco’s touchdowns. Hurd's first NFL reception was on a crossing route across the middle of the field for a score. On his second TD of the night, he hauled in a fade route in the corner of the end zone over the top of his defender.
“He plays very physical,” Shanahan said following Hurd’s preseason debut. “He’s in good shape, runs hard, has strong hands. Just trying to pick up the offense. Had a few mistakes (on Saturday), but played pretty well and it was a good first night for him.”
2. WR Deebo Samuel
Samuel is another rookie who made quite the impression in his preseason debut. Samuel had two catches for 61 yards and one carry that resulted in a 14-yard pickup. A standout at the Senior Bowl this past January, Samuel showed off his explosiveness in the preseason opener. His highlight play came late in the third quarter when Samuel beat his defender off the line of scrimmage and made a leaping grab over Cowboys cornerback Mike Jackson Jr.. That catch set up the 49ers go-ahead score to start the fourth quarter.
3. DL Jeremiah Valoaga
Although Valoaga was signed to the team just a week prior, the second-year defensive lineman stood out in his first appearance with the 49ers. With prior experience playing under Kris Kocurek in Miami, Valoaga looked comfortable in San Francisco’s new wide-9 front picking up two sacks. A main focus for San Francisco throughout the offseason was reinforcing the defensive line, and the addition of Valoaga adds to an already deep position group.
4. LB Dre Greenlaw
San Francisco’s fifth round pick tied for a team-high five total tackles against the Cowboys. During Dallas' opening drive, Greenlaw notched a tackle on four straight plays. In a linebacker room that is dealing with injuries, this was a first step in the rookie’s attempt to battle for a starting job with returning veterans Malcolm Smith, Elijah Lee and Mark Nzeocha come September.
View game photos as the 49ers take on the Cowboys during the first week of preseason.
5. DL Damontre Moore
Moore, who joined San Francisco this offseason from the Alliance of American Football, made plenty of standout plays in his 49ers debut. The five-year veteran posted four total tackles and three quarterback hits in the preseason opener. Late in the fourth quarter, Moore made a big stop on Cowboys running back Mike Weber Jr. on 4th-and-1 to force a turnover on downs.