Most significant move: Darnell Dockett being shown the door by the San Francisco 49ers is both surprising and significant. As noted before, Dockett was supposed to fill the considerable void left by the retirement of Justin Smith, both on the defensive line and as a leader in the locker room. Dockett was also expected to help mentor first-round draft pick Arik Armstead, the No. 17 overall draft pick, but now it appears as though Armstead will get Dockett’s snaps as the pass-rushing specialist in the 49ers’ nickel defense. The move also shows the team’s willingness to go with a youth movement on the D-line, as Dockett has 40.5 career sacks in 10 seasons, including 9.0 in 2007, while the seven remaining D-linemen have 12 sacks in a combined 17 seasons.
G’day, mate: The 49ers shot down reports out of Australia earlier in the week that Jarryd Hayne, the rugby league star trying to make the conversion to NFL player, had been told he already made the team. And as the deadline approached Saturday, both Hayne and his agent took to Twitter to say they had not heard anything. Well, in this case, no news was good news, and Hayne defied the odds by making the team as a punt return specialist and backup running back. Besides, the 49ers team store was already selling Hayne jerseys. Shocked? Hardly; not after a preseason performance in which his 175 rushing yards on 25 carries ranked second in the NFL. His 7.0 yards per carry average led the league while his 163 yards on 10 punt returns was third in the league. Plus, he started getting quality work as a gunner on punt coverage.
IR-designated to return an option?: Perhaps the biggest mistake the 49ers made entering training camp was not assigning an injury tag to running back Kendall Hunter, who missed all of last season with an ACL tear. He did not appear until the third preseason games and looked tentative. Now he is headed to Injured Reserve -- did Hayne win the roster spot? -- and perhaps the 49ers could tag him with the IR-designated to return label. Then again, rookie tight end Busta Anderson was also put on IR, and he was healthy enough to catch a TD less than 48 hours earlier.
What’s next: The 49ers have to figure out what to do with outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, who is in limbo. He has been asked to stay away from the team in the wake of his facing misdemeanor sexual battery charges but is on the 53-man roster. As the team announced, “both the judicial and the league process under the Personal Conduct Policy will continue. Those processes will dictate any further action.” It would appear as though the 49ers chose the in-limbo Brooks over inside linebacker Nick Moody, who was starting until Michael Wilhoite returned from injury less than two weeks ago.
49ers' moves: DL Darnell Dockett, S Craig Dahl, ILB Philip Wheeler, OL Joe Looney, OL Patrick Miller, WR Issac Blakeney, OL Andrew Tiller, QB Dylan Thompson, CB Marcus Cromartie, DL Kaleb Ramsey, OL Justin Renfrow, RB Kendall Gaskins, WR DiAndre Campbell, OLB Marcus Rush, OL Dillon Farrell, TE Xavier Grimble, CB Leon McFadden, LB Nick Moody, NT Garrison Smith, S Jermaine Whitehead, TE Busta Anderson (IR), RB Kendall Hunter (IR), WR Jerome Simpson (suspended).