NFL San Francisco 49ers

5 San Francisco 49ers Players to Watch in Preseason Week 3

5 San Francisco 49ers Players to Watch in Preseason Week 3

San Francisco 49ers preseason
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers have lost their first two preseason games with a startling combined score of 57-3. While these games don’t matter, there’s no doubt that players, coaches and fans alike are eager to see the ship turned around. Here are five 49ers players to watch in the third week of exhibition play.

5. Josh Johnson

Josh Johnson San Francisco 49ers preseason
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

5. Josh Johnson

Josh Johnson San Francisco 49ers preseason
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

With Blaine Gabbert looking far from even competent as an NFL quarterback this month, the opportunity is there for Johnson to grab the backup job. Look for the journeyman signal caller to silence Christian Ponder trade rumors with a standout performance against the Chargers this week.

4. Bruce Ellington

Bruce Ellington San Francisco 49ers preseason
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

4. Bruce Ellington

Bruce Ellington San Francisco 49ers preseason
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Ellington has been impressive so far this preseason, pulling in seven passes and averaging 29.5 yards on kick returns. He has earned the praise of Colin Kaepernick, so look for the 49ers to continue giving the rookie the ball in space as they try to figure out how he'll fit in the offense.

3. Jimmie Ward

Jimmie Ward San Francisco 49ers preseason
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

3. Jimmie Ward

Jimmie Ward San Francisco 49ers preseason
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Ward was certainly tested last week against the Broncos by playing the nickel corner against Wes Welker for much of the game. It appears that the 49ers are grooming him into somewhat of an Eric Reid 2.0, and it will be interesting to see how he fares against another sophisticated passing offense when the Chargers come to town on Sunday.

2. Brandon Lloyd

Brandon Lloyd San Francisco 49ers preseason
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

2. Brandon Lloyd

Brandon Lloyd San Francisco 49ers preseason
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers haven’t used Lloyd much this month, as he’s caught only one pass in each of the team’s preseason games. This could be a preview of things to come, as Lloyd is in the midst of a crowded group of San Fran pass catchers, but it’s too early to make that call. Keep an eye on how many looks Lloyd gets with the first team this week.

1. Quinton Dial

Quinton Dial San Francisco 49ers preseason
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

1. Quinton Dial

Quinton Dial San Francisco 49ers preseason
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With Glenn Dorsey out for the season, the 49ers decided to use an in-house replacement in Dial. The 2013 fifth-round pick is a complete mystery at this point — Dial made only one combined tackle last season. The 49ers don’t really know what they have in the sophomore pro, so expect Jim Harbaugh to give Dial lots of snaps against the Chargers.