The 49ers released a depth chart in advance of Friday’s preseason opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, one that lists Reuben Foster as the starter at weak-side linebacker over Ray-Ray Armstrong.
That alone should serve as a caution against taking preseason depth charts too literally. Earlier in the day defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said that even though Foster practiced with the first-string defense Monday, he and Armstrong would get first-team snaps during the week and that the starter against the Chiefs has not been decided.
The depth chart is compiled not by coaches but by the team’s public relations department.
It largely reflects what has occurred over the first nine practices of training camp, though there are plenty of gray areas. To wit:
* At quarterback, Brian Hoyer is listed as the starter followed by Matt Barkley, C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens. In fact, Beathard and Barkley have been splitting the repetitions with the second team.
* Depth charts have no designations for nickel cornerback. K’Waun Williams has been working with the starting unit; Will Redmond has been playing with the second-string defense.
* Arik Armstead is listed as the starter at defensive end. If the 49ers began in their nickel formation, however, Armstead likely would start at defensive tackle and Elvis Dumervil would start at defensive end.
* Jimmie Ward is the starter at free safety. However, he will not play due to his hamstring injury. The starter either will be Vinnie Sunseri or rookie Lorenzo Jerome. Sunseri is listed ahead of Jerome on the depth chart.
* According to the depth chart, the tight ends, in order, are Vance McDonald, George Kittle, Logan Paulsen, Blake Bell, Garrett Celek and Cole Hikutini. Paulsen, however, typically is on the field when the first-team offense takes its first snaps.