First I have to say that I LOVE the draft the 49ers just had. Competition everywhere, Baalke anticipated not only immediate needs but future needs, this is by far the deepest roster in the NFL right now.
One of the things I really like is that the team picked up several players who may not start right away, but will contribute, especially on ST's. Which brings me to the point of this thread. Obviously after 2012 the team made an effort to get better on STs with the addition of ST stud vet FAs like Osgood, Ventrone, Dahl, Skuta, Skuta being the only one who proved to have value at a regular position.
In this draft the team selected several players who I think will end up allowing us to release vets who currently cost more money than rookies and only play ST's making our overall roster even deeper, younger and less expensive.
Rookies I see playing a large role on STs are Ward (along w/nickle CB spot), Boreland, Johnson, Lynch, Reaser or Acker (I can't remember which one will be on IR w/ACL injury), Ellington (in the return game), Skov (yes I think he makes the team, at least until Bowman gets back), that's 6 guys who could contribute right away in the coverage game and one in the return game.
Given our upgrade at the WR position with the addition of Stevie Johnson, Ellington and Lloyd (if he makes the team) I now have doubts Osgood makes the team
With Ward and UDFA L.J. McCray, I can't see both Dahl, Ventrone and Spillman making the team, I'd predict that Dahl and Ventrone are gone.
And although he's not a ST guy, adding Jonathan Martin and Marcus Martin puts Adam Snyders job in jeopardy as well. A big reason for Snyder making the team last year was his ability to play OT, Martin's presence means we don't need him for that, having both Martin and Kilgore on the team along with Looney means we don't have a need for him at C or OG either.
The 49ers added 12 drafted players, 7 UDFAs and traded for Stevie Johnson. Out of those 20, 17 are healthy enough to play this year, some will end up on the PS and a few will likely be cut. But looking at how the team made such a large effort to get deeper, younger and cheaper through the draft, I highly doubt they cut a young player, especially one who can contribute on STs in order to keep a veteran around with a higher salary who only adds value on STs.