SANTA CLARA Why haven't any of the 49ers' top draft picks played a single snap this season? Because the team has 53 healthy players and can suit up only 46 on game day, coach Jim Harbaugh said Wednesday.
"That's the biggest statement right there," he said.
Most teams need at least their top draft picks to play right away.
Offensive linemen Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati, for instance, started every game as rookies both drafted in the first round in 2010. Last year, first-round pick Aldon Smith played nearly 50 percent of the team's defensive snaps while fellow draft picks like cornerback Chris Culliver, running back Kendall Hunter and fullback Bruce Miller also had regular roles.
This season, first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins was in uniform in Week 1 but didn't play while second-rounder LaMichael James has been inactive each week.
Depth at wide receiver, where Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams, Randy Moss and lately Ted Ginn get regular snaps, has kept Jenkins off the field. James, meanwhile, is playing behind Frank Gore, Hunter, Anthony Dixon and Brandon Jacobs. Even Jacobs hasn't played a down this season.
In fact, the only 49ers draft pick who has gotten into a game is sixth-rounder Trenton Robinson, a special-teams player, and he was inactive the past five weeks.
The 49ers simply are deep and healthy and haven't needed their draft class at this point.
Still, Harbaugh said it hasn't affected their attitudes. The roles of James and Jenkins this season have been to mimic opposing players during practice. Jenkins, for example, played the role of Rams receiver Brandon Gibson on Wednesday.
"They're working hard, doing it with a very good attitude," Harbaugh said. "And it's just the same thing we tell them work hard, have a great attitude, and you'll get it. And they'll get their opportunity."
The 49ers have played one game in the last 21 days and are coming off their bye week. So are the Rams.
But while seven St. Louis players either missed practice or were limited Wednesday, every 49ers player practiced in full.
Said Rams coach Jeff Fisher of the 49ers as they prepare for the second half: "In essence, they're 100 percent healthy at halftime, and they're in position to make the run they're expected to make."