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Morning Report: Roster Moves, PFF's NFL Backfield Ratings, Ranks Top NFC Training Camp Position Battles

Good Morning Faithful,

Here are your top 49ers storylines for Friday, July 31.

Roster Moves

The 49ers announced the following roster moves yesterday:

The following player has been waived:

  • DL Alex Barrett

The following player has been released:

  • OL Leonard Wester

The following player has been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List:

The new Reserve/Covid-19 List has been created for a player who either tests positive for COVID-19 or has been quarantined after having been in close contact with an infected person or persons. If a player falls into either of these categories, his club is required to immediately place the player on the Reserve/COVID-19 List. Clubs are not permitted to comment on player's medical status other than referring to roster status and may not disclose whether the player is in quarantine or is positive for COVID-19.

NFL Backfield Rankings

Pro Football Focus ranked all 32 NFL backfields heading into the 2020 season. Despite boasting the league's No. 2-ranked rushing attack in 2019, San Francisco came in 19th-overall on the analytics site's list. Here's what Steve Palazzolo said about the unit:

"No system highlights the importance of scheme and playcalling for rushing production like the Shanahan system. And Kyle continued its evolution last season, as a more versatile scheme led to three different running backs going over 500 yards during the regular season.

"Raheem Mostert led the way. After making his name on special teams for four years, Mostert broke out to post the fourth-best rushing grade in the league last year (83.3) while averaging 5.8 yards per carry and forcing 46 missed tackles on 190 rushes. Mostert has angle-changing speed, and that's even more valuable when the system puts the running back into space as often as it does.

"Tevin Coleman has impressive speed of his own, and while he wasn't as successful as Mostert, he posted the highest rushing grade of his career (71.3) in his first season in San Francisco last year. He and Mostert tied for the team lead with 180 receiving yards, and they will likely be the top pass-catching options once again unless Jerick McKinnon finally makes it back onto the field. McKinnon hasn't taken a snap in either of the last two years after signing a four-year, $30 million contract, but he earned the ninth-best receiving grade in the league among running backs (83.6) in 2017. Jeff Wilson Jr. also returns after producing a solid 70.4 overall grade on 64 snaps a year ago.

"And of course, we can't forget about fullback Kyle Juszczyk, one of the last remaining hopes for the PFF fullback pages in Premium Stats 2.0. The highest-graded fullback in three of the last four years, Juszczyk has averaged over 10.0 yards per reception over the last two years, as the 49ers do a great job of getting him into space and reminding defenses that they must defend the entire field.

"Expect another committee approach with the running backs in San Francisco this season."

NFC Training Camp Battles to Watch

Around the NFL editor Gregg Rosenthal broke down the most exciting training camp competitions in the NFC. San Francisco landed two different battles in the Top 5. Coming in at No. 2 on the list is the 49ers receiving corps. "This battle royale looms large, in light of the recent revelation that starter Deebo Samuel could miss the beginning of the season," wrote Rosenthal. "Brandon Aiyuk, a yards-after-the-catch monster in college and rookie first-round pick, will be asked to develop quickly."

In the next spot, and third-overall on the list, are the above-mentioned running backs. "The 49ers and their playoff hero, Mostert, settled their financial issues, but it's worth keeping in mind when projecting this backfield that Shanahan ultimately paid more to bring Tevin Coleman from Atlanta in 2018," Rosenthal continued. "Once an even bigger-ticket free-agency purchase, Jerick McKinnon is now just trying to keep his career going after losing two seasons to injury and restructuring his once-lucrative deal."

Top 5 NFC Training Camp Battles According to Gregg Rosenthal:

  1. Chicago Bears Quarterbacks
  2. San Francisco 49ers Wide Receivers
  3. San Francisco 49ers Running Backs
  4. Detroit Lions Running Backs
  5. Los Angeles Rams Running Backs

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