By C.J. Peterson
Special to S.F. Examiner
The San Francisco 49ers have made their final round of cuts to finalize their 53-man roster. In compliance to league policy, San Francisco announced 21 cuts to meet the 1 p.m. PST deadline set by the NFL.
Here are all 21 players that have been waived:
DL Jeremiah Attaochu
WR Aaron Burbridge
G Jonathan Cooper
WR Steven Dunbar Jr.
TE Ross Dwelley
DB Antone Exum Jr.
TE Cole Hikutini
FB Malcolm Johnson
OL Andrew Lauderdale
DB Dexter McCoil
CB Tarvarus McFadden
RB Jeremy McNichols
CB Emmanuel Moseley
QB Nick Mullens
DB Tyvis Powell
DL Niles Scott
OL Coleman Shelton
LB Pita Taumoepenu
LB Korey Toomer
OL Najee Toran
RB Jeff Wilson Jr.
Of the wave of players cut, Attaochu, Cooper and Hikutini come as the most surprising considering their previously projected statuses as depth-providing keepers.
Attaochu, the former San Diego Charger, was initially brought in as a player who would compete for the LEO position or premiere outside pass rusher, and has more career sacks (10) than any other 49ers defender.
With the emergence of rookie defensive lineman Julian Taylor, however, Attaochu was put behind the eight-ball, burdened with the task of proving his value in the last two preseason games against Indianapolis and the Los Angeles Chargers.
According to general manager John Lynch, injuries prevented the team from appropriately evaluating Attaochu, leaving the 49ers unable to grant him a roster spot.
“It was a tough deal.” he said. “Dependability, in terms of knowing if a guy is going to be out there, is really important. And we just didn’t have that feeling.”
In Cooper’s situation, the 49ers hoped that the veteran guard would be able to contribute to the competition at right guard, a position that has been a topic of discussion throughout all of San Francisco’s preseason.
Unfortunately for Cooper, he, too, battled injury during camp, which resulted in Mike Person and Joshua Garnett jumping ahead of him on the depth chart.
“It was a tough situation with Cooper,” said Shanahan. “ We obviously had high expectations for him. We brought him here hoping that he’s have the chance to start and two guys beat him out.”
The 49ers also decided to release tight end Cole Hikutini Saturday afternoon, electing to go with former undrafted free agent and Lions tight end Cole Wick as their third string option at the position.
Hikutini had listed at third string for the majority of the preseason but thanks to a rough outing against Indianapolis that included a dropped touchdown reception in the red zone, his positioning on the depth chart was obviously affected.
“Really, [Cole Wick] beat him out over the last few weeks.” said Shanahan. “[Wick] took advantage of his opportunities, blocked really well in practice, blocked really well in the games and it was a tough decision.”
After making their final cuts Saturday, the 49ers will comb through the waiver wire to see what other additions they might need to make to their roster. They will also wait to see what players clear waiver to make their 10-player practice squad on Sunday.
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