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3 49ers defenders who could see more time vs Seahawks

49ers CB D.J. Reed made his first career sack in Week 14. (AP)

The 49ers may have a 3-10 record, but they’re still a team with plenty of talent on their roster. Tight end George Kittle has over 1,000 yards this season and, despite being a former third-string quarterback, Nick Mullens has thrown for 1,479 yards in five starts. But they’re also a team that has been hampered by injuries to starters — and with that comes an emergence of young and lesser-known talent.

San Francisco general manager John Lynch joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton Thursday to talk about the year his team has had and highlight a few young players who have stepped up recently.

“You’d love to say that was an effort to play young guys,” Lynch said. “A lot of that was necessity. We’ve been very banged up. But I will say that last week there were some guys that went in there, young guys, and really gave us a lift. I’ve been around the league for some time and that happens. Sometimes the youth, they come in with fresh legs and fresh excitement and we’ve got a lot of guys who we like.”

Here are three players Lynch highlighted:

S Marcell Harris

“He’s been rounding into form. Had an opportunity as Jaquiski Tartt has been hurt, and Marcell played very well last week against the Broncos. Can he do it again? I mean, that’s kind of the test for these guys.”

An Achilles injury forced 49ers rookie safety Marcell Harris to start his 2018 season on the injured reserve list, but he was activated to the 53-man roster on Nov. 1. He has 17 tackles through five games and a highlight reel from last week’s win over the Broncos that included an impressive fourth-down stop.

Tartt (shoulder) did not practice Thursday, so the Seahawks’ offense could be seeing Harris this Sunday.

FS D.J. Reed

“DJ Reed is another kid, out of Kansas State, and he played when K’Waun Williams was hurt, he got his opportunity and went in there and had 10 (solo) tackles and a sack.”

Reed, a 2018 fifth-round pick out of Kansas State, was asked by the 49ers to switch from cornerback to free safety. He’s spent his time primarily on special teams this year, but last week played in 87 percent of defensive snaps while filling in for an injured K’Waun Williams. Reed registered his first career sack in a performance that earned him a Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week nomination.

DL Solomon Thomas

“I think Solomon Thomas is continuing to play better football. I think he’s kind of (improving), and that’s part of him playing better, (but it’s also) part of us, I think, featuring where he’s best, and that’s inside as a 3 technique.”

Thomas, a third-overall pick in 2017, took some time to grow into his role on the 49ers’ defensive and drew plenty of criticism as a result. But he saw an increase in defensive snaps from Week 13 to Week 14 and had a solid outing, with some consistent pressure against Broncos quarterback Case Keenum.

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John Clayton on 710 ESPN Seattle
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