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Karma's Initial 2012 Roster Prediction

  • Karma
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Here we go again. I love periodically breaking down the roster and making predictions about the future. Since the draft is over and the players that will make up the 53 man roster are more than likely on the roster, this seems like a perfect time to analyze the battles we will see. Let me know what you think!

Offense (26 Players): I predict that the team will keep more players on this side of the ball since this is where we have the most question marks.

QBs (3):

Starter - Alex Smith
Back-ups - Josh Johnson and Colin kaepernick

Analysis: The only battle we will see is Johnson vs. Kaepernick for the back up role. Many saw the signing of Johnson as a sign that the team lost faith in Kaep. I disagree. I think a good player was available for a good price so Baalke and Harbaugh decided that more talent is always better than less talent. I do hope that Tolzien is kept on the practice squad.

WRs (6):

Starters - Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss
Back-ups - Mario Manningham, A.J. Jenkins, Ted Ginn, and Kyle Williams

Analysis: Baalke hinted that they might keep 6 players here and I think they do for several reasons that have been discussed here ad nauseam. The team only keeps 5 receivers if one of the following happens: a.) One of the 6 players above flames out during camp. b.) LaMichael James or Perrish Cox beats out Ginn as the main returner, which is Ginn's only real value. c.) The group of RBs makes it imperative to keep 6.

TEs (3):

Starters - Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker
Back-up - Nate Bhyam

Analysis: The first two names are no-brainers. Bhyam has the most potential of all the other names on the roster and I believe he makes the roster especially given his ability to play FB/H-back

RBs (5):

Starters - Frank Gore and Bruce Miller
Back-ups - Brandon Jacobs, Kendall Hunter, and LaMichael James

Analysis: The notable cuts from this group are Rock Cartwright and Anthony Dixon. Both are Special Teams aces and I was really trying to keep one, but the other positions, particularly WR, made that impossible for me. I believe that there are enough Special Teamers throughout the roster to make these guys expendable.

OL (9):

Starters - Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin, Alex Boone, Anthony Davis
Back-ups - Daniel Kilgore, Mike Person, Joe Looney, Jason Slowey

Analysis: I thought about only keeping 8 players here in order to have one more spot for a RB, but given the uncertainty at RG and the inexperience on the bench it didn't make sense to cut this position short. I love the potential in Looney and Slowey and the versatility person and Kilgore appear to bring. I think it is important to keep all of these guys locked up as we see how they progress.

Defense (24 Players): Last year the team kept more players on defense given the uncertainty at several positions (ILB, S, CB) but this year they have much more consistentcy.

DL (6):

Starters - Justin Smith, Isaac Sopoaga, and Ray McDonald
Back-ups - Will Tukuafu, Ricky Jean-Francois, and Demarcus Dobbs

Analysis: The starters are as strong as any in the league. RJF proved to be a solid back-up last year and Tukuafu was well thought of last year before the injury. I am excited to see what Tukuafu can do when healthy. The last spot goes to either Dobbs or Williams. Williams is a pure NT and might get the nod with Sopoaga being on his last year, but Dobbs showed some flashes last year. The team might be confident with RJF as the back up NT. I can't see the team keeping more than six here given the talent in other positions and the need for Special Team contributions.

LBs (9):

Starters - Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, and Ahmad Brooks
Back-ups - Larry Grant, Tavares Gooden, Parys Haralson, Darius Fleming, and Cam Johnson

Analysis: I envision the team keeping 5 OLBs for several reason: Pass rushers are essential, the talent is on the roster now, and OLBs are good Special Teamers. This will only happen if Cam Johnson shows he has enough heart and health to force his way onto the roster.

S (4):

Starters - Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner
Back-ups - C.J. Spillman and Trenton Robinson

Analysis: Last year the team kept 6 safeties because the team had no idea who was going to start in the first few weeks. Now that Goldson and Whitner have proven themselves, the team can use those other two roster spots elsewhere. Neither Spillman nor Robinson have much experience so this is risky, but both guys should be excellent special teamers. Colin Jones was switched to WR last year but may return to his safety position. The team may decide to keep him for his special team prowess, at the expense of one of the CBs.

CBs (5):

Starters - Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers
Back-ups - Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox, and Tramaine Brock

Analysis: The top three guys, Brown, Rogers, and Culliver, are pretty secure in their roles. Cox and Brock will have to beat out Nelms, Holcomb, and possibly Colin Jones as a Special Teams ace. Cox must knock the rust off and Brock must prove his worth on Special Teams and improve his speed in coverage.

Specialists (3 players): We have three of the best around.

K: David Akers
P: Andy lee
LS: Brian Jennings

Core Special Teamers:

Ginn (Returner)
LaMichael James (I have a feeling this kid will beg to cover kicks and punts which might lessen the pain of losing Dixon and/or Cartwright)
Spillman (Returning Ace)
Gooden (Very solid last year)
Grant (Very good special teamer)
Fleming (Needs to show he can handle this unit)
Johnson (Many question his desire. This is where he can prove them wrong.)
Robinson (He has been compared to Bob Sanders because of his tenacity. That should make him perfect for Seely's unit)
Bhyam
Cox
Brock

Just for fun, here is what I would love to see for the Practice Squad:

QB - Scott Tolzien (He will probably get scooped up, but it would be perfect if they kept him)
C - Chase Beeler (With so much youth in this unit, it would be smart to keep a guy with experience at this position)
RB - Jewel Hampton (Tons of talent and potential. Could be a ready made replacement for Jacobs.)
WR - Chris Owusu (It makes the most sense to keep him here and bring him along slowly. There should be mosre roster spots next year if he can prove to be healthy.)
DL - Matt Masifilo (He is described as a guy that overachieves. Sounds like a great guy to have around)
DL - Tony Jerod- Eddie (Huge guy with big upside. Why not?)
LB- Joe Holland (He is a future Special Team star with potential to add some weight.)
CB - Curtis Holcomb (He is recovering from a serious injury but offers big upside.)

The practice squad usually ends up being mostly guys from other teams that were cut, but these would be the 8 that I would want from our group.

Thoughts?
Looks very well thought out and I struggle to disagree with anything. I think the only change that I'd expect? Is to somehow make room for Colin Jones. He was excellent on STs, and I'd like to give him more opportunities to develop as a S. Maybe to fit him, we'd have to subtract one of those backup LBs... tough call, indeed.

I think you did a very nice job here. You avoided the sloppy and rushed posts that too many tend to show... good on you.
  • cools
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Agree with your 53

though I think they find a way to keep Cartwright and/or C.Jones

I also like Jerod-Eddie, think he could possibly outplay someone like Dobbs or Tuku for a spot
  • Karma
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Originally posted by oldman9er:
Looks very well thought out and I struggle to disagree with anything. I think the only change that I'd expect? Is to somehow make room for Colin Jones. He was excellent on STs, and I'd like to give him more opportunities to develop as a S. Maybe to fit him, we'd have to subtract one of those backup LBs... tough call, indeed.

I think you did a very nice job here. You avoided the sloppy and rushed posts that too many tend to show... good on you.

Thank you for the praise! I struggled with Jones, Cartwright, and Dixon because they are so valuable on Special Teams, but I realized that every player on the roster I made has upside in other areas with the exception of Ginn:

Spillman - The team sees him as a guy who can see more action in the defensive rotation
Gooden - He is improving as a back-up, from what I hear. If Grant leaves next year the team seems happy with him.
Rookies - They were drafted with the intention of seeing the field at some point.

Jones has no position
Cartwright is past the point of actually carrying the ball
Dixon isn't an option in the backfield anymore

The difference might be that Harbaugh is transition from specialists to guys with value in other areas. Ginn should be worried!
Well done, although I think it's too early. There's often an "X" factor...someone, (like an UDFA) that blows the coaches away and they find a roster spot for him. Or, a vet that just doesn't do enough to keep on the roster. Just imagine how tough it's going to be for Harbaugh...but, competition's what he thrives on and what makes the team better.
Barring injury I think that's damn close to what it will be. I do think the last roster spot will come down to a choice between Rock Cartwright, a 5th safety (Jones) or what you chose, a 9th OLB (Johnson) . . . or possibly they dump the 6th WR and keep Cartwright or Jones plus a 9th OLB.

Good work . . .
Yeah I think a lot of this will come down to how guys perform on special teams. I think Cartwright stays over Williams being the 6th wr. I'm not sure if Gooden's spot is safe as well. Overall this is pretty good.
Agree mostly but I don't think Haralson will make the team this year. The 49ers don't want to pay a backup a few million and addressed the position with two picks in this draft. I think Cam Johnson plays with a chip on his shoulder and that will displace Haralson. Also I don't think Owusu will sneak through waviers to the practice squad so he might have to be the 6th receiver. Only time will tell though.
Great post, I think you pretty much nailed it.

I think Cam Johnson goes to the practice squad and Ian Williams makes the team.

Can you be put on the practice squad if you have 1 year experience on the team like Tolzien?
Originally posted by Oldschool9erfan:
Great post, I think you pretty much nailed it.

I think Cam Johnson goes to the practice squad and Ian Williams makes the team.

Can you be put on the practice squad if you have 1 year experience on the team like Tolzien?

Pretty certain that Tolzien can be put on the PS... he had no "active roster" games... PS eligibility depends on whether you have 6 or more weeks of being on the active roster or unless you have been on the PS for 2-3 years already. (something like that).. so he should be eligible for PS once again.
  • Karma
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Originally posted by lamontb:
Yeah I think a lot of this will come down to how guys perform on special teams. I think Cartwright stays over Williams being the 6th wr. I'm not sure if Gooden's spot is safe as well. Overall this is pretty good.

I have Williams staying because he offers quite a bit at WR. Ginn is only a returner, which would leave the team with only 4 true WRs if Williams were left off. Of those 4, Moss is still a question mark and jenkins will probably need a year to make adjustments and become more physically suited for the NFL.

Gooden is pretty safe. Grant is the only ILB back-up and Gooden was very good on Special Teams last year. Baalke has already said that they gambled with only three OLBs last year and I doubt he does that to another position group again, especially one that does alot of hrad hitting and could lead to injury. (Knock on wood).
  • Karma
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Originally posted by THEMerts80:
Agree mostly but I don't think Haralson will make the team this year. The 49ers don't want to pay a backup a few million and addressed the position with two picks in this draft. I think Cam Johnson plays with a chip on his shoulder and that will displace Haralson. Also I don't think Owusu will sneak through waviers to the practice squad so he might have to be the 6th receiver. Only time will tell though.

Haralson's spot will depend on the development of Aldon Smith as an every down player and the confidence they have in the two rookies. I just don't see them pushing Haralson aside. parys may not be the pass rusher we thought he could become but he is VERY good against the run and does apply some pressure. If Brooks were to get hurt or Aldon were to stumble, Haralson could step in and the defense doesn't lose much. If it were up to Johnson or Fleming there would probably be a big learning curve.

I think Owusu would be pretty safe going through waivers unless he lit up preseason. He went undrafted for a reason and I think most teams would be sheepish until they saw him get through an entire season without injury.
[ Edited by Karma on May 14, 2012 at 10:28 AM ]
Barring any injuries I think you are spot on. I do really like Jones as a special teamer and if he is good enough to beat out one of the players above him then I would be happy. I totally trust our staff to put the best 53 on the roster.
  • Karma
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Originally posted by Oldschool9erfan:
Great post, I think you pretty much nailed it.

I think Cam Johnson goes to the practice squad and Ian Williams makes the team.

Can you be put on the practice squad if you have 1 year experience on the team like Tolzien?

I agree; Ian Williams is a guy I would love to see the team if they can find a spot for him.
  • DVDA
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No way the team keeps only nine db's. Cam Johnson to the ps and put Jones on the roster.

There is no need for four running backs. Gore or Jacobs have to go which is obvious who stays. Replace Jacobs with a player who will actually contribute on special teams.