49ers bring Manningham back into the mix
San Francisco’s depleted ranks will get a big replenishment in the coming weeks.
Four players came off San Francisco’s Reserve/Non-Football Injury List on Tuesday and participated in walk-throughs for the first time this season.
Veteran wide receiver Mario Manningham and cornerback Eric Wright were joined by Rookie defensive linemen Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial on the practice field.
The 49ers have a 21-day window during which time they must activate the players to the 53-man roster or put them on injured reserve.
Manningham was just cleared to practice and will need a few weeks to get his repaired knee ready. The Carolina game on Nov. 10 could be the debut for No. 82.
Although the Anquan Boldin-Vernon Davis tandem is working, the 49ers are missing the production you’d think they’d want out of their No. 2 wide receiver. Kyle Williams and Jon Baldwin have combined for just 13 receptions for 129 yards in six games.
A solid possession receiver, Manningham provides Colin Kaepernick with a trusted pass catcher who gets open.
On that note, Kaepernick is expected to get his favorite target Michael Crabtree back sometime next month as well.
The most immediate position of need, though, is at nose tackle, with starter Glenn Dorsey nursing a hamstring injury suffered in Sunday’s win over Arizona, and previous starter Ian Williams on IR after breaking his ankle in Week 1.
If Dorsey can’t play, Tony Jerod-Eddie will start.
This means also means that the 6-foot-5, 320-pound Dial — a fourth-round pick who is moving well, according to head coach Jim Harbaugh — could be elevated possibly in time for Sunday’s game at the Tennessee Titans.
Rookie Mike Purcell on the practice squad is the 49ers’ only other nose tackle. Other defensive linemen Justin Smith, Ray McDonald and Demarcus Dobbs did not practice at the position this summer.
Second-round pick Carradine can play anywhere along the 3-4 line, but backing up McDonald at left defensive tackle is where he’s needed most, especially with McDonald playing through a torn right biceps.
Dial and Carradine are cramming with coaches and putting in extra time to get game day ready, so expect the pair to be active soon.
Meanwhile a knee injury has sidelined cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha for three consecutive games. In that time, Tramaine Brock has solidified himself as No. 3 corner with rookie Daryl Morris stepping into the fifth spot.
So where does Wright fit into the mix?
He’s been a starter in Cleveland, Detroit and Tampa Bay and may have a future with the 49ers beyond this season if he shows the skills he has in previous stops.
Presuming he’s ready to go, the back-to-back NFC South matchups against the Panthers on Nov. 10 and Saints on Nov. 17 might be the best games to play Wright, who registered 13 tackles and three pass deflections against those teams in three starts last year with the Buccaneers.
Not saying he’s starting, but Wright should be contributing by then.