The 49ers expect to have reinforcements practicing for the first time this season with several players coming off the Non-Football Injury list and physical unable to perform list. Jim Harbaugh said on Monday afternoon that four players will be in practice this week.
"As far as it pertains to Quinton Dial, Tank Carradine, Eric Wright and Mario Manningham, they can start practicing this week and we anticipate that," Harbaugh said. "[We will see] if they come back in football shape. From how long it takes to be back to 100 percent, there is a process."
Quinton Dial (toe) and Tank Carradine (ACL), draft picks from the 2013 NFL Draft class are coming off injuries they suffered in college. Carradine will be a defensive end and Dial projects to be a nose tackle, according to Trent Baalke.
Both players can certainly help on a defensive line unit that is hurting. Ray McDonald (biceps) is playing through his injury while Tony Jerod-Eddie and Demarcus Dobbs are the only reserves. Dial can be plugged as a NT if he is able to perform up to expectations. Carradine was both an OLB and DE in college at Florida State but the 49ers expect him to bulk up as a DE. He could receive limited playing time if healthy to provide breathers for McDonald and Justin Smith.
Wright was initially acquired by trade through the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he failed his physical which rescinded the deal. He was later signed as a free agent and placed on the non-football injury list to deal with issues off the field and recover from injury. Meanwhile, Manningham suffered a torn ACL and MCL from a collision against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16 last year.
Both the wide receiving group and thin defensive line units could both use upgrades with these players returning. Wright could be seen in dime defense and will provide extra competition for incumbent nickel CB Tramaine Brock.
Previously, Vic Fangio had cautious optimism about Carradine, Wright and Dial returning to practice. He said they need to be able to execute on the field as they haven't practiced with the team before.
"We are right dead in the middle of the regular season and these [players] have missed all those steps," Fangio said last week. "[I have no idea when they'll be ready]. We’ll activate them and play them. But until then, I think it’d be a mistake to put them out there too early."