The 49ers on Wednesday placed one running back, Raheem Mostert, on injured reserve, and promoted another, rookie Jeremy McNichols, from the practice squad to the active roster.
McNichols (5-foot-9, 214 pounds) rushed for 1,709 yards last year at Boise State while also catching 37 passes for 474 yards. The 49ers’ running backs are expected to be dual threats in the running and passing games.
McNichols was one of the players featured in HBO’s “Hard Knocks” program this summer about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp. A fifth-round pick in April, McNichols vexed the team’s coaches in his struggles to pick up the blocking scheme, then upset Buccaneers officials when he decided to join San Francisco’s practice squad instead of Tampa Bay’s.
Mostert, meanwhile, suffered an MCL sprain Sunday that ended his season. He’s received scant carries but emerged as perhaps the 49ers’ top coverage specialist on special teams. He leads San Francisco with eight special-teams tackles, including a solo hit on a punt return Sunday.
McNichols said he’s never been the gunner on punt-coverage units but will line up at that spot this week and is getting tips from Mostert.
“Raheem has been like my biggest supporter ever since this happened,” McNichols said. “Him being in the league a couple of years and this being my first time playing – just having that support and veteran leadership is huge.”
McNichols will wear No. 33.
O-line scramble – The 49ers placed offensive lineman Erik Magnuson (foot) on injured reserve and signed veteran guard/center Tim Barnes, who spent the offseason and training camp with the team. Magnuson started Sunday’s game at right tackle for Trent Brown, who is iffy this week with a shoulder issue.
Brown was on hand for the very earliest part of practice but soon left to rehabilitate on a side field. If he can’t play Sunday, Zane Beadles or rookie Darrell Williams Jr. would start at right tackle.
Et cetera – Quarterback C.J. Beathard (hip, knee) did not practice but said he expects to be able to serve as Jimmy Garoppolo’s backup. The only other quarterback in Santa Clara is rookie Nick Mullens, who is on the practice squad.
▪ Safety Adrian Colbert (thumb) practiced on a limited basis in a blue, no-contact jersey. If he can’t play Sunday, Antone Exum will make his second straight start at free safety
▪ The 49ers signed linebacker Boseko Lokombo and cornerback Channing Stribling to the practice squad and released defensive lineman Noble Nwachukwu from the practice squad.