Just for the hell of it, I decided to look at our entire roster in an attempt to illuminate the places where we need to add bodies. Of course this is insanely premature and you can never tell what personnel decisions will be made in the next three or four monthes, but speculation is always fun, right. Here are the players that I believe will be kept at each position and how many more players we will need from free agency or the draft:
Offense: Normally about 25 players
Alex Smith- The now entrenched starter for next season
Shaun Hill- His true position is as a solid back-up
Nate Davis- Potential for the future
*No reason to draft anyone at this position*
WR (4): (Normally 5 players here is a good average)
Michael Crabtree- The most exciting WR we've had since T.O.
Josh Morgan- I believe he will begin to blossom as the #2.
Brandon Jones- Hasn't had a chance yet to show his abilities
Jason Hill- At the very least he has been a good special teamer.
*These are the four WRs that I believe are locked in for next year. One more player will have to be decided on between Ziegler, Battle, or possibly someone from the outside with return abilities.*
TE (2): (Normally 3)
Vernon Davis- Starting to get it.
Delanie Walker- Great compliment
*They still have J.J. Finley if the y want to have a third, blocking TE. No need to spend time on this position*
RB (4): (Normally 5)
Frank Gore- The only fear is that time will catch up to him
Glen Coffee- Not thrilling to watch, but I think he gets a bad reputation. He's a solid runner and a solid back-up.
Michael Robinson- Just a great guy to have on the team. I think he would have been a bigger part of the offense if he hadn't gotten hurt.
Moran Norris- A one-tool player. Will it be enough?
*Gore is really the only explosive guy on this list. It would be nice to add one guy that could be a break away threat. Some thought Sheets was that guy. Could Spiller be worth the money in the 1st round?*
OL (6-7): (Normally 9)
Joe Staley- Hopefully the knee injury won't linger.
Eric Heitmann- Having a solid season.
Chilo Rachal- I really believe the light is going to turn on for this guy soon.
Adam Snyder- Even if he is supplanted as the starter at RT, he is a valuable back-up.
Tony Wragge- Solid interior back-up
**We enter the off-season with three definite starters (Staley, Heitmann, Rachal). Baas MIGHT be back, but the unit definitely needs an upgrade. Sims has had an outstanding year as a back-up, so he should be back. Cody Wallace... do we even know if he is worth keeping? Pashos was a nice signing, and if we don't find a future RT in the draft, he is definitely worth resigning. We could have as many as four vacancies in this unit. **
Defense: Normally about 25 players
DL (7): Normally 6-7 players
Justin Smith- The best signing of the McC era.
A. Franklin- They will do whatever it takes to sign him back.
Isaac Sopoaga- Quietly solid all year
Kentwan Balmer- He gets better every time he steps on the field.
Ray McDonald- If his knees stay healthy, he is an absolute terror
Demetric Evans- Hasn't really done much this year, but this is not a flashy position
Ricky Jean-Francois- It sounds like he is working hard and waiting for his opportunity.
*No reason to spend time on this position in the offseason unless we get a shot at a pro-bowl caliber player.*
LB (8): Normally 8-9
Manny Lawson- Starting to regain his form.
Patrick Willis- Stud
Takeo Spikes- Great veteran presence, he will almost assuredly be back.
Parys Haralson- Steady pass-rusher. People want more flash, but he gets the job done.
Ahmed Brooks- Emerging as a true force
Scott McKillop- Solid back-up.
Matt Wilhelm- He may or may not be back, but he is a solid special teamer and a veteran that could step in and do just fine.
Diyral Briggs- Could be groomed into a stud pass rusher.
*There is always room for another pass rusher, but I don't think the need is as imminent as it has been. Brooks seems to be stepping up, Manny is getting better, Parys is solid, and Briggs is full of potential. Maybe a middle to late round pick could be used on a pass rusher, but I don't see the need to go any higher.*
DB (7-9): Normally 9-10
Dashon Goldson- Up and down first year starting. Many people want to see him replaced, but I think he is developing quite nicely. Obviously, if we have a shot at Berry it would be a no brainer, but I don't think Safety is as much of a need as people think.
Michael Lewis- The concussions are worrisome, and perhaps a successor at SS should be considered. Taylor, from last year, might be the guy.
Mark Roman- Roman will be back if we don't pick up a better alternative. He is serviceable
Nate Clements- Talk of him moving to FS is premature. I believe he will bounce back from his injury to be an above average CB for a few more years.
Tarell Brown- He's been a bit inconsistent, but I believe experience will cure that. This year was his first significant playing time.
Shawntae Spencer- Fantastic bounce back year.
Reggie Smith- Great start to the year was derailed by injury.
*Marcus Hudson- A good special teamer that is on the bubble every year. He will be gone if we upgrade during the draft.
*Dre Bly- Depending on what upgrades we make, he might be worth bringing back.
*Curtis Taylor- Who knows what we have in him. He is extremely athletic, but we don't know if he has the instincts.
** Upgrades in this unit are needed. Clements and Spencer project as the starters at CB with Brown as the NB. That's not a bad starting line-up, but having a guy like Haden to push them would be worthwhile. We also need to find a young SS to be able to step in for Lewis if need be.**
I don't know if that was interesting to anyone, but I enjoyed trying it.