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49ers 2022 53-man roster breakdown

Rohan Chakravarthi
Sep 7, 2022 at 3:45 PM--

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Last week, I projected the 49ers' 2022 53-man roster. With the results official, here is a side-by-side breakdown of the 53-man roster and how each position group fared to my expectations.


My projection: Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo

Actual 49ers roster: Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo, Brock Purdy

Initially, I thought the 49ers would roster Trey Lance and Nate Sudfeld, whom I felt were the two best quarterbacks on the roster, making Brock Purdy their practice squad quarterback should he clear waivers.

But, the Jimmy Garoppolo news hit, making him their bonafide backup quarterback, which is why I believed they would release Sudfeld, given that San Francisco now had that veteran presence and that Purdy had a higher ceiling, despite being less pro-ready.

Rostering three quarterbacks seems counter-productive, especially given less than 30% of NFL teams did so in 2021, with only three of them being playoff teams. It's rare for a team to be competitive when needing to start their third-strong signal caller.

But, the 49ers felt that Purdy was too important to lose for the long-term, keeping him on the active 53-man roster along with his very affordable 4 year rookie contract.

This move was one of the most head-scratching moves of the cutdown period, but the Garoppolo restructure complicated matters.

Running Back

My projection: Elijah Mitchell, Jeff Wilson Jr., Trey Sermon, Tyrion Davis-Price, Jordan Mason

Actual 49ers roster: Elijah Mitchell, Jeff Wilson Jr., Trey Sermon, Tyrion Davis-Price, Jordan Mason

This room went exactly as I expected, with the 49ers cutting only JaMycal Hasty and going with an extra running back after the attrition experienced at the position in the 2021 season. The offseason emergence of undrafted free agent Jordan Mason has been an excellent surprise.

While many advocated for the release of Trey Sermon, he showed enough promise during training camp while taking the lion's share of first-team reps to warrant a spot on the actual e roster—albeit with a short leash. However, Sermon was eventually waived by the 49ers after winning a waiver claim on guard Blake Hance, who was waived by the Cleveland Browns.

Tyrion Davis-Price was a lock for the roster, given that he was drafted in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft, while Elijah Mitchell was the clear-cut top running back, locking his spot.

Jeff Wilson Jr. was arguably the second-best running back on the team in training camp, which is why I eventually had him making the 53-man roster.


My projection: Kyle Juszczyk

Actual 49ers roster: Kyle Juszczyk

Let's move forward.

Wide Receiver

My projection: Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings, Ray-Ray McCloud, Danny Gray

Actual 49ers roster: Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings, Ray-Ray McCloud, Danny Gray

In my opinion, all five of these receivers were locks to make the roster, with the top three all being starters last year, McCloud receiving a two-year deal in the offseason, and Gray being drafted in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

I predicted that Malik Turner would be released, but find his way back to the team, whether on the practice squad or the 53-man roster, with the 49ers potentially carrying an extra offensive lineman, whom I projected as Jason Poe.

That indeed came true, as Turner signed a one-year deal to join the practice squad following his release.

While Turner was a training camp and preseason highlight, the level of depth in other areas, as well as the play of Danny Gray, made carrying five receivers a smarter option.

Tight End

My projection: George Kittle, Charlie Woerner, Ross Dwelley

Actual 49ers roster: George Kittle, Charlie Woerner, Ross Dwelley

The 49ers initially carried three tight ends, as I expected.

I predicted that Dwelley would make it over Kroft due to his receiving acumen and Kroft's average preseason, but Kroft returned to the 53-man roster following the announcement that linebacker Curtis Robinson was going to Injured Reserve.

The 49ers carrying four tight ends is a surprise, especially with Kroft being practice-squad eligible immediately, but it provides insight to their desire to be more physical and diverse at the position this season.

Offensive Line

My projection: Trent Williams, Aaron Banks, Jake Brendel, Spencer Burford, Mike McGlinchey, Daniel Brunskill, Jaylon Moore, Colton McKivitz, Jason Poe

Actual 49ers roster: Trent Williams, Aaron Banks, Jake Brendel, Spencer Burford, Mike McGlinchey, Daniel Brunskill, Jaylon Moore, Colton McKivitz, Nick Zakelj

As I said last week, there were seven locks on the roster along the offensive line, with Jaylon Moore being a likely candidate and Jason Poe being the wildcard.

The 49ers did indeed carry nine offensive linemen on their initial 53-man roster, but the final spot went to Nick Zakelj instead of Jason Poe, which initially surprised me, as I believed that the latter played better than the former.

However, Poe was likely to clear waivers, as I mentioned, due to his smaller frame and coming from alesser-known school, which was exactly the case.

During waivers, the 49ers added another offensive lineman, Blake Hance, from the Cleveland Browns, who has experience at all positions on the offensive line.

Defensive Line

My projection: Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, Samson Ebukam, Kemoko Turay, Drake Jackson, Kevin Givens, Charles Omenihu, Jordan Willis, Hassan Ridgeway

Actual 49ers roster: Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, Samson Ebukam, Drake Jackson, Kevin Givens, Charles Omenihu, Hassan Ridgeway, Kerry Hyder

I projected the 49ers carrying their ten-best defensive linemen, with Kerry Hyder getting cut and returning on the practice squad, but the team surprisingly carried only nine defensive linemen on the initial 53-man roster, cutting both Jordan Willis and Kemoko Turay.

Turay was the biggest surprise, as he had been dominant in both training camp and preseason, but wasn't a versatile piece, unlike every other defensive end on the roster. However, in another shocker, Turay was re-signed to the practice squad, instead of finding a spot on another 53-man roster spot.

On the other hand, Willis was brought back immediately following the move of Jimmie Ward to Injured Reserve, making the overall count at 10 defensive linemen on the roster, with a commonality being the versatility to move to the inside for several players, including Kerry Hyder.


My projection: Fred Warner, Azeez Al-Shaair, Dre Greenlaw, Oren Burks, Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles

Actual 49ers roster: Fred Warner, Azeez Al-Shaair, Dre Greenlaw, Oren Burks, Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Curtis Robinson

Earlier last week, I said that if the 49ers carried an extra linebacker, Marcelino McCrary-Ball would be my top candidate, but instead, the team carried Curtis Robinson on the 53-man roster before eventually placing him on Injured Reserve with a groin injury.

While it was unexpected on my end, following the Injured Reserve moves, it's understandable why the 49ers went on this route.

Moving Robinson to IR allows the 49ers to keep an extra available 53-man roster spot, as well as a practice squad spot, while essentially being able to wait four weeks to make a decision about keeping him on the active roster or releasing him to hopefully make the practice squad.

But, the 49ers are rolling with the five aforementioned linebackers to begin the season, with the three-headed monster fully healthy after playing just three total games together in 2021.


My projection: Charvarius Ward, Emmanuel Moseley, Deommodore Lenoir, Samuel Womack, Tariq Castro-Fields, Ambry Thomas

Actual 49ers roster: Charvarius Ward, Emmanuel Moseley, Deommodore Lenoir, Samuel Womack, Ambry Thomas

Last week, I made two statements regarding the cornerbacks and the 53-man roster: there were four locks to make the roster(Ward, Moseley, Womack, Lenoir), and the biggest question was whether the team would carry five or six cornerbacks.

I believed that there would be six on the 53-man roster, but instead, only five made the initial team, as the addition of a third quarterback limited an extra roster spot, which made Tariq Castro-Fields the odd man out, who was eventually claimed by the Washington Commanders on waivers.

The 49ers now have a clear cornerback room for at least the next four weeks before having to make a decision on creating a roster spot for injured veteran Jason Verrett, who remains on the Physically Unable to Perform(PUP) list to begin the season.


My projection: Jimmie Ward, Talanoa Hufanga, Tarvarius Moore, George Odum

Actual 49ers roster: Jimmie Ward, Talanoa Hufanga, Tarvarius Moore, George Odum

The 49ers safety room was fairly clear-cut ahead of the 53-man cutdown date, making it a simpler projection, with the aforementioned four being locks to make the roster.

Currently, the 49ers only have three safeties, however, on the 53-man roster, as Jimmie Ward was placed on Injured Reserve, which will require him to miss at least four games, but re-signed both Dontae Johnson and Tashaun Gipson to the practice squad, making it likely that one of them will be elevated for gameday against the Chicago Bears.

If Ward's injury does prolong more than the four-week timetable, the 49ers may be forced to promote one of their practice squad safeties to the active roster as each player can be only elevated on gameday for a limited number of games in a season.

Special Teams

My projection: Robbie Gould, Mitch Wishnowsky, Taybor Pepper

Actual 49ers roster: Robbie Gould, Mitch Wishnowsky, Taybor Pepper

The same three as last year.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

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