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Pre-Free Agency Roster Evaluation

  • Karma
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 753
As we wait patiently for the off season moves to start, I thought an examination of the roster would be helpful. Baalke and Harbaugh have shown a desire to build and replenish through the draft so the free agency period probably doesn't hold much excitement for us. Still, this regime has shown an ability to find gems at the right price (Skuta, Osgood, etc.) So, let's look at what we have and make a few assumptions on who we keep:

Assumed Resignings:
Whitner - He had his best year in 2013 and his leadership probably had more to do with Reid's outstanding rookie year than we might realize. At 29 he is still in his prime. Dahl or Spillman aren't good enough to take over, a free agent replacement would be over priced, and hoping to find another Eric Reid in the draft is wishful thinking.

Boldin - At 33 his market value is probably a bit down, but he is still as solid as they come. The price has to be right, but he should be back.

Dawson - He could demand a significant raise, but after dealing with that dumpster fire in Cleveland, he might stay here for free.

Wilhoite - As a RFA he is the easiest to keep. With Bowman's injury, Wilhoite becomes even more valuable.

With those assumed signings, here is the roster breakdown:

QBs: (3 roster spots)

Current: Colin Kaepernick, McLeod Bethel-Thompson

Draft Outlook: The revolving door of veterans this past season suggests that the team will bring in at least one experienced signal caller to compete for the back-up position. That being said, I think Harbaugh would like to have another young player to tutor. Look for the team to draft a QB some time in rounds 3-5. A.J. McCarron seems like a guy Harbaugh would love.

RBs: (5 roster spots)

Current: Frank Gore, Marcus Lattimore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Bruce Miller

Draft Outlook: If Lattimore comes to camp fully recovered, this position group looks to be one of the strongest on the team. Tukuafu will remain an option to backup Miller. I don't see the Niners using a pick on this position before the 6th round. If they do take a RB, it will probably be some one with big Special Teams upside. Dixon will be missed, but the numbers don't look good for his return.

TEs (3 roster spots)

Current: Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek

Draft Outlook: McDonald has huge upside but failed to break out during his rookie year. Celek is Billy Bajema redux. I would love to see a more athletic option for the third TE spot. Look for the team to bring in some competition anywhere from round 4 - UDFA.

WRs: (5 roster spots)

Current: Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin (Assumed), Quinton Patton

Draft Outlook: One of the two position groups, along with CB, that figures to see plenty of activity on draft day. Look for a WR to be taken in the first two rounds and at least one more later on in the draft. The fact that the team is only returning two proven players at this position, I could also see a bargain deal for a veteran, but the more likely scenario is bringing Osgood back for Special Team excellence.


OL: (9 roster spots)

Current: Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Daniel Kilgore, Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Joe Looney, Adam Snyder, Ryan Seymour, Carter Bykowski, Luke Marquadt, Al Netter

Draft Outlook: Many mock drafts on here have us taking a center with a high to mid-round pick. I just don't see the team looking to replace Goodwin with a rookie. That said, I do think the team will look to add an inside guy and an outside guy for the sake of competition. Assuming Goodwin isn't back, Kilgore will get the first crack at the starting center role. Looney will also have a chance to push him. Seymour might even be a dark horse in the race. It will be interesting to see how Marquadt does now that he is healthy. Bykowski looked completely over matched in preseason so Marquadt will have a good chance to leap frog him. Can he move ahead of Snyder? He certainly looks the part. Ultimately, look for the team to wait until day three to add competition her unless they see some one who they value too highly to pass on.

DL: (7-9 roster spots)

Current: Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Ian Williams, Glenn Dorsey, Tony Jerrod-Eddie, Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial

Draft Outlook: Again, I have seen many projecting a D lineman early. While I see the need to keep this unit strong after Justin Smith retires, I don't see the need to use a high pick this year to do so. Behind Smith and McDonald Jerrod-Eddie has proven solid and Carradine is a wild card with tons of potential. Add the return of Ian Williams and the surprising play of Dorsey and this unit has never been stronger. That's not to say we won't add another guy or two for competition. Just don't look for one before the 3rd round.

ILB: (4 roster spots)

Current: Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Michael Wilhoite, Nick Moody, Darius Fleming

Draft Outlook: Considering the strength of the starters and the relative ease of resigning Wilhoite, we won't need much here. Bowman's recovery may land him on the PUP list, so a few bodies will be needed, but Wilhoite and Moody should be able to handle NaVorro's absence. 4th round or later.

OLB: (4-5 roster spots)


Current: AHmad Brooks, Aldon Smith, Dan Skuta, Corey Lemonier

Draft Outlook: Despite the strength of this unit, pass rushers are always at a premium. Any chance to land a pass rusher with talent might be taken.

CBs: (5-6 roster spots)

Current: Chris Culliver, Tramaine Brock, Carlos Rogers, Darryl Morris

Draft Outlook: An already thin unit will likely get thinner when Carlos Rogers is cut. It is conceivable that he is back with a severe pay cut, but even with his return this unit needs an infusion of talent. Morris has great speed and proved himself on special teams. Brock took a huge leap into the starting line up and Culliver's return should make Tarell Brown's departure palatable. Look for a CB to be taken in the first two rounds and another one added later. We could see the weak link of the defense become a strength very soon.

Safety: (4-5 roster spots)

Current: Eric Reid, Donte Whitner, Craig Dahl, C.J. Spillman

Draft Outlook: Even if Whitner returns, this unit needs more talent. Reid was a tremendous find, but the back-ups offer a huge drop off. Dahl is limited at best on defense. Spillman has talent, but hasn't been able to get on the field much. Still, Spillman is one of the best special teamers in the league. Any draft pick would be competing with Dahl. Look for a safety to be taken in the 2-4 round area. Late round guys haven't panned out lately. It's time to groom Whitner's replacement.
You're missing a lot of players Karma. We signed like 13 to reserve/future deals back in January.

Also Osgood is a assumed signing IMO. Guy was on the spot all year.
The 13 were,

QB McBLT
RB Jewel Hampton
WR DeMarco Sampson
WR Devon Wylie
WR David Reed
WR Chuck Jacobs
OG Al Netter
OT Carter Bykowski
NT Mike Purcell
DT Christian Tupou
CB Dax Swanson
SS D.J. Campbell
P Colton Schmidt
Tukuafu might have a shot too, given how many positions he can play, including ST.
Excellent evaluation. I hope we can keep Boldin and Whitner. They are not only good players but leaders on the field and in the locker room.
This analysis is spot on, and means to me that the Niners will not use a draft pick in the first three rounds for OL (outside of maybe a center in round 3) DL, or OLB. The first three rounds the niners could see 1-2 WR's, a SS, 2 CB's.

I love the back up qb coming in this draft
Great thread. Ive been wondering how many draft picks the Niners will actually use to draft players. The conventional wisdom is that they only have a few roster spots available, but with many younger players like Kap and Iupati coming up for extentions, and attrition with players like Goodwin, the Niners should continue to stock the roster with young talent. Also, there are several players that could be beaten out by talented rookies.

In theory I see potential roster spots available in the following positions

QB 2
a) vet back up, b) developmental project, future back up
WR 2
Need speed. 1 to stretch the D on the outside, and a speedy slot.
RB/FB 1
Dixon's replacement? Big, tough short yardage back.
TE 1
Challenge Celek
OL 2
I dont expect them to draft 2 olinemen, but they could draft an OC, and maybe take a chance on an OT.
DL 2
Dobbs could be beat out by a rookie. Mid to late round NT could beat out Dial.
OLB 1
Skuta and Lemonier seem safe, would likely only be a BPA pick
ILB 1
Bowmans injury is huge. ILB with later pick or FA for depth seems likely. Flemming likely could be beaten out for a spot.
CB 2
One of the most obvious needs in the draft. Early pick to target CB, and Id like to see a later CB with upside for depth.
S 1
The more I think about it, the more I hope Whitner is retained. BUT, I definately want to see them bring in a potential heir to replace him.
Dahl or Ventrone could be expendable.

Thats as mqny as 15 slots that could be up for competition.
[ Edited by Butter on Feb 15, 2014 at 9:40 PM ]
Originally posted by Butter:
Great thread. Ive been wondering how many draft picks the Niners will actually use to draft players. The conventional wisdom is that they only have a few roster spots available, but with many younger players like Kap and Iupati coming up for extentions, and attrition with players like Goodwin, the Niners should continue to stock the roster with young talent. Also, there are several players that could be beaten out by talented rookies.

In theory I see potential roster spots available in the following positions

QB 2
a) vet back up, b) developmental project, future back up
WR 2
Need speed. 1 to stretch the D on the outside, and a speedy slot.
RB/FB 1
Dixon's replacement? Big, tough short yardage back.
TE 1
Challenge Celek
OL 2
I dont expect them to draft 2 olinemen, but they could draft an OC, and maybe take a chance on an OT.
DL 2
Dobbs could be beat out by a rookie. Mid to late round NT could beat out Dial.
OLB 1
Skuta and Lemonier seem safe, would likely only be a BPA pick
ILB 1
Bowmans injury is huge. ILB with later pick or FA for depth seems likely. Flemming likely could be beaten out for a spot.
CB 2
One of the most obvious needs in the draft. Early pick to target CB, and Id like to see a later CB with upside for depth.
S 1
The more I think about it, the more I hope Whitner is retained. BUT, I definately want to see them bring in a potential heir to replace him.
Dahl or Ventrone could be expendable.

Thats as mqny as 15 slots that could be up for competition.
Fleming is not on the team anymore.
Whitner can probably fetch a salary that is more than the 9ers are willing to spend, which would drastically change the offseason dynamics.
[ Edited by LottOfDefense on Feb 16, 2014 at 7:45 AM ]
How I see it playing out:
QB (3): Kap, DP, McBLT or Late Rd Pick
RB (4): Gore, Lattimore, Hunter, James (or if traded Mid-Late Rd DP)
FB (1): Miller
OL (8): Staley, Iupati, Kilgore, Boone, Davis, Looney, Snyder or DP (C/G Combo), Marquardt/Bykowski or DP (T)
TE (3): Davis, McDonald, Celek or Late Rd DP
WR (6): Crabtree, Boldin, 1st/2nd Rd or Patton, Loser of #3, Mid Rd DP?, Osgood (active for ST though)
DL (7): McDonald, Dorsey, Smith, Carradine, Williams, TJE, Dial, 3rd-4th Rd?
LB (8): Brooks, Smith, Skuta, Lemonier, Willis, Bowman, Wilhoite, Moody
CB (5): Brock, Culliver, 1st/2nd, Cox or Wright, Morris or Mid-Late Rd DP
S (5): Reid, Whitner or 1st/2nd Rd, Spillman, DP or Dahl, Ventrone
ST (3): Dawson, Lee, McDermott
[ Edited by Gore_21 on Feb 16, 2014 at 9:11 AM ]
Originally posted by Wrathman:
Fleming is not on the team anymore.

Huh, he still shows up on the ESPN depth chart. Guess I wont use that anymore.
  • sfout
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 6,196
Originally posted by Butter:
Originally posted by Wrathman:
Fleming is not on the team anymore.

Huh, he still shows up on the ESPN depth chart. Guess I wont use that anymore.

He was waived/IRed Wrathman. Nobody claimed him which means he went to IR.

He's still under contract for 2 more seasons, if not more because hasn't hit the accrued season mark at all.
  • Karma
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 753
Originally posted by AB81Rules:
The 13 were,

QB McBLT
RB Jewel Hampton
WR DeMarco Sampson
WR Devon Wylie
WR David Reed
WR Chuck Jacobs
OG Al Netter
OT Carter Bykowski
NT Mike Purcell
DT Christian Tupou
CB Dax Swanson
SS D.J. Campbell
P Colton Schmidt

I have Netter, Bykowski, and McBLT on my post. The others were left off on purpose. Perhaps I don't know enough about these guys, but I don't see anyone else with much of a shot to make the team. Hampton has talent, but he is behind too much talent and he struggles with pass protection, Rathman's biggest pet peeve. Purcell has the size, but he is pretty far down the depth chart. Of course, injuries could change this in a hurry, but I just don't see much out of that group.
Originally posted by AB81Rules:
The 13 were,

QB McBLT
RB Jewel Hampton
WR DeMarco Sampson
WR Devon Wylie
WR David Reed
WR Chuck Jacobs
OG Al Netter
OT Carter Bykowski
NT Mike Purcell
DT Christian Tupou
CB Dax Swanson
SS D.J. Campbell
P Colton Schmidt

Totally, Hampton will be in the mix, James may be gone, we have Carrier to look out for, Okoye, Luke M., etc. Lots of players that may push themselves onto the starting 53 or play key roles or add valuable depth.
  • Karma
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 753
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by AB81Rules:
The 13 were,

QB McBLT
RB Jewel Hampton
WR DeMarco Sampson
WR Devon Wylie
WR David Reed
WR Chuck Jacobs
OG Al Netter
OT Carter Bykowski
NT Mike Purcell
DT Christian Tupou
CB Dax Swanson
SS D.J. Campbell
P Colton Schmidt

Totally, Hampton will be in the mix, James may be gone, we have Carrier to look out for, Okoye, Luke M., etc. Lots of players that may push themselves onto the starting 53 or play key roles or add valuable depth.

Hampton, potentially
Carrier, definitely. I should have included him. He has the athleticism, he just needs to prove himself as a blocker.
Luke M., I included him. Physical monster, but does he have the ability to push others out of a spot?
Okoye, I just don't think so. He is a monster, but I can't see him making the leap in his second year. He wasn't even able to practice last year.

As always, there will be surprises, so we will see! I am rooting for everyone in our uniform!