49ers: Not Quite the 53: DB Over Boulware Even After Foster Injury

The bottom of the roster goes through continuous change, and the San Francisco 49ers have made another series of moves, cutting newly signed linebacker Ben Boulware and signing defensive back Jarnor Jones. Subsequently, the team also promoted cornerback Asa Jackson to the 53-Man roster and cut cornerback Keith Reaser.  During training camp, NINERS LIVE brought you 10 players who had the best opportunity for an extended opportunity to remain with the team after the cut-down, by being signed to the Practice Squad. Now we will break down these moves.


Jarnor Jones, who signed as an undrafted free agent by the Atlanta Falcons May 1, 2017 and was waived September 1, finished his last two seasons of collegiate ball at Iowa State University. Listed for the team as Free Safety, Jones was regularly seen playing the nickel corner position, even at 6’3”, 209 pounds. Jones showed good tackling ability in run support, routinely lining up close to the line of scrimmage and providing edge support. For his career, Jones had a total of 78 tackles (45 solo), 9.5 TFL, 3 sacks, 1 interception, and 10 passes defensed.

The 49ers have safeties Eric Reid, Jaquiski Tartt, Lorenzo Jerome and the hybrid safety/ corner Adrian Colbert healthy. Free Safety Jimmie Ward is still battling back from a hamstring injury that has kept him out since the first day of training camp, pulling the muscle while attempting the team’s conditioning test.

Ben Boulware was signed in the week leading up to the game against the Carolina Panthers in a move that at the time looked a bit curious, as Boulware was just released from the Panthers. Many asked if the move was to gain some knowledge of the Panthers before the game. Based on the score, any information the team may have gained was moot, as the team lost 23-3. Being a defensive player, three points of information was not needed, and apparently, the 49ers felt the same way. Boulware was cut recently in favor of Jarnor Jones.

Important to note: The practice of signing players who have been released from an upcoming opponent is common throughout the league.

The team used this tactic again against this week’s opponent, the Los Angeles Rams. Offensive tackle Pace Murphy (6’6, 309) has also been added, after being waived September 2, 2017 by the Rams. Theoretically he adds depth at the tackle position. Where his underrated lateral agility and power at the point of attack would seem to be a fit for the team’s offensive scheme. More to the point, him being recently cut from the Rams, he can be tapped for some bits of information.

When discussing this topic after the signing of Boulware, who had been released from that week’s opponent, the Panthers, Shanahan passed on words of caution.

“It’s always nice to have a guy who has some familiarity with them. But I’ve done this too long, and I’ve learned that if you rely on that stuff too much you usually are getting set up pretty bad, and it’s never worked good for me.”

Keith Reiser also found himself being replaced by Practice Squad player Asa Jackson. This move places two roster moves at the Nickel-back position. There hasn’t been a report of an injury to starting Nickel K’Waun Williams, so that may indicate the team is putting his job on notice. Williams was targeted a few times by the Carolina Panthers and showed to be a possible weak link, but followed up against the Seattle Seahawks, better answering the challenge, holding up well in the passing game and run support.

Niners Live will continue to monitor the situation and bring you all the latest roster moves in upcoming editions of NOT QUITE THE 53, stay tuned. 

10-Man Practice Squad


DeAndre Carter, WR, 2nd Year

Cole Hikutini, TE, Rookie

J.P. Flynn, OL, Rookie

Jeremy McNichols, RB, Rookie

DeAndre Smelter, WR, 2nd Year

Nick Mullens, QB, Rookie

Darrell Williams Jr, OL, Rookie

Pace Murphy OL, 2nd Year


Nobel Nwachukwu, DL, Rookie

Jarnor Jones, DB, Rookie

Check back throughout the season as we update this list with any signings, releases, or promotions to the 53-Man roster

Please join us again soon on Niners Live, the home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, of course.

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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.comPro Football Focus49ers.comESPN.comNFL.com unless otherwise indicated. AuthorEdward Erving Staff Writer @NinersLive.net and Content Creator, EditorSequoia Sims