Eric Branch's 53: Interesting...http://blog.sfgate.com/49ers/2013/08/26/53-man-projection-preseason-game-provides-clarity-at-qb-wr/
Quarterbacks (3)Colin Kaepernick, Colt McCoy, B.J. Daniels
Cut: Seneca Wallace
Analysis: Yes, I'm guessing when it comes to Daniels, a seventh-round pick who has directed touchdown marches of 90 and 63 yards in four preseason drives (and posted a 120.8 passer rating). I think he's shown enough promise that the 49ers won't cut, expose him to the waiver wire and hope he's not claimed so they can stash him on the practice squad. A possible factor in the decision to keep three QBs: Harbaugh's confidence in McCoy may not exactly be sky high and Daniels could be ready for a big-boy game later in the season.
Running backs/fullbacks (5)Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Anthony Dixon, Bruce Miller
Cut: Jewel Hampton, Jason Schepler
Analysis: This is clear cut. The 49ers had to be encouraged by the familiar extra gear Hunter displayed on a 15-yard run Sunday night, eight months after he sustained a torn Achilles.
Wide receivers (6)Anquan Boldin, Kyle Williams, Marlon Moore, Quinton Patton, Jon Baldwin, Kassim Osgood
Cut: Austin Collie, Chad Hall, Lavelle Hawkins, Chuck Jacobs
Analysis: The 49ers devote several roster spots to strictly special-teams players and Osgood, 33, could be a beneficiary. A three-time Pro Bowler as a special-teams ace, Osgood somehow gets down quickly on coverage units despite appearing positively tortoise-like as a wide receiver. If he makes the team, perhaps I can finally solve this riddle.
Tight ends (3)Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek
Cut: MarQueis Gray
Analysis: Celek won a surprise roster spot as an undrafted free agent last year and the 49ers value his blocking ability. Celek, however, didn't enhance his chances of sticking around Sunday night by dropping a Colt McCoy pass and drawing a holding call on a field-goal attempt. Still, he's more refined than Gray, a former quarterback/wide receiver at Minnesota who made dramatic improvement at his new position during training camp. Gray appears destined for the practice squad, if he's not claimed off waivers.
Offensive linemen (8)Joe Staley, Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati, Alex Boone, Jonathan Goodwin, Joe Looney, Adam Snyder, Daniel Kilgore
Cut: Carter Bykowski, Kenny Wiggins, Wayne Tribue, Patrick Omameh
Analysis: This is another position group with little intrigue. Bykowski, an unrefined seventh-round pick, could land on the practice squad.
Defensive linemen (6)Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Ian Williams, Glenn Dorsey, Demarcus Dobbs, Tony Jerod-Eddie
Cut: Will Tukuafu, Lamar Divens, Lawrence Okoye
Analysis: Dobbs will be suspended for the season opener, meaning one of the cut-tees (Tukuafu in this fantasy world I'm creating) will have a temporary roster spot. Jerod-Eddie is not a lock, but he earned some unsolicited praise from Jim Harbaugh last week and followed that with a strong performance Sunday. His +1.5 run-defense grade was the team's best against the Vikings, according to Pro Football Focus.
Linebackers (9)ILB: Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Michael Wilhoite, Nick Moody OLB: Ahmad Brooks, Aldon Smith, Parys Haralson, Corey Lemonier, Dan Skuta
Cut: Cam Johnson, Nate Stupar, Travis Johnson
Analysis: A year after then 35-year Clark Haggans was the primary backup outside linebacker, the 49ers are rolling in depth at the position. In fact, they are trying to trade Haralson, CSN Bay Area reported, a clear sign they've been impressed by third-round pick Lemonier. Skuta had two sacks in the preseason opener, but his main role figures to be on special teams, where he carved out a niche with the Bengals the past four seasons.
Cornerbacks (6)Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Nnamdi Asomugha, Tramaine Brock, Perrish Cox, Marcus Cooper
Cut: Darryl Morris
Analysis: I nearly cut Cooper (no offense, Marcus), but ultimately decided the 49ers will want to develop the seventh-round pick with good size (6-2, 192) and gas-hose arms. The height-challenged Morris (5-10) is a strong practice-squad candidate thanks to his sub-4.4 speed.
Safeties (4)Donte Whitner, Eric Reid, Craig Dahl, C.J. Spillman
Cut: Trenton Robinson, Michael Thomas, Bubba Ventrone
Analysis: I also struggled with this decision, but cut Ventrone, a strictly special-teams player who was with special teams coach Brad Seely in Cleveland and New England. Dahl didn't stand out as a safety this summer, but he also provides value on special teams.
Specialists (3)K Phil Dawson, P Andy Lee, LS Brian Jennings
Cut: LS Kevin McDermott
Analysis: After they rotated snaps in the first two preseason games, McDermott had seven snaps Sunday, five more than Jennings. What to make of this? It's possible the 49ers are giving McDermott, a rookie, every opportunity to prove he's the man for the job in hopes of getting younger and saving some cash. An alternate theory: The ever-reliable Jennings, 36, has secured the spot and he was merely receiving "starter's snaps" in a preseason game.
[ Edited by NCommand on Aug 26, 2013 at 3:53 PM ]