LISTEN: 49ers Smell Revenge With 94 WIP's Eliot Shorr-Parks →
placeholder image

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers 53-man roster projection 2.0

Rohan Chakravarthi
Aug 23, 2023 at 10:00 AM--

Videos are auto-populated by an affiliate. This site has no control over the videos that appear above.
The San Francisco 49ers are known as one of the NFL's strongest teams top-to-bottom due to their core of elite players they've been able to develop via the draft and obtain via free agency or the trade market.

However, even the strongest teams face tough roster decisions come roster cutdown time, and the 49ers are no different this year, with some position groups stronger than others, which could lead to intriguing training camp battles.

With two weeks of the preseason done and just one week before cutdown date, it's the perfect time to release the second edition of my 53-man roster projections with a majority of the offseason done.

Quarterback (3): Brock Purdy, Trey Lance, Sam Darnold

No surprises here at the quarterback position.

Two weeks into the preseason, I think that a trade is out of the question for either backup quarterback, regardless of who wins the job.

However, we did get clarity that the 49ers will name their backup quarterback ahead of Week 1, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan, as new NFL rules force you to dictate who the "emergency" third quarterback will be on game days.

Running Back (4): Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell, Jordan Mason, Tyrion Davis-Price

Through training cam, I tinkered with the bold possibility of adding undrafted free agent Khalan Laborn to the 53-man roster with a projected Elijah Mitchell trade.

However, that clearly won't happen, as Laborn was cut this past week, likely in an effort to allow him to chase a 53-man roster spot elsewhere, meaning the 49ers' running back room is pretty set with their top four guys.

This is the strongest running back room the 49ers have had under Kyle Shanahan.

Fullback (1): Kyle Juszczyk

Let's move forward.

Wide Receiver (6): Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings, Ray-Ray McCloud, Danny Gray, Ronnie Bell

I've got the same exact group as last season, with the addition of Ronnie Bell, although there's some uncertainty with what happens post-cutdown date.

McCloud and Gray are both injured at the moment, and their timetables for a return are uncertain, as the former was expected to miss around two months, although he's brought up the possibility of returning for Week 1, while the latter recently suffered an AC joint sprain, which will likely cause him to miss regular season time.

At the moment, I'm expecting both to hit injured reserve, meaning there could be open spots post-53-man cutdown date.

With that said, I'd envision Chris Conley being called up to the 53-man roster, with Willie Snead and Tay Martin serving as the team's practice squad receivers.

Tight End (4): George Kittle, Charlie Woerner, Cameron Latu, Brayden Willis

With the cutdown date one week away, I've got the 49ers going with the same group of tight ends as I've projected throughout the offseason: George Kittle, Charlie Woerner, Cameron Latu, and Brayden Willis.

With Latu's disappointing training camp and uneven preseason, there could be questions about him being on the roster bubble.

However, this position group's depth is pretty weak overall, and the true camp battle is between Charlie Woerner, Troy Fumagalli, and Ross Dwelley.

Brayden Willis deserves a roster spot after his camp this fall, while Woerner gains the edge with his blocking ability, and Fumagalli earns a top spot on the practice squad with the immediate Week 1 call-up over Latu.

Offensive Line (8): Trent Williams, Aaron Banks, Jake Brendel, Spencer Burford, Colton McKivitz, Jaylon Moore, Jon Feliciano, Ilm Manning

This is easily the weakest group, depth-wise, that the 49ers have on their roster, and I don't think it's close.

The 49ers don't have many capable depth pieces that have proven themselves, and even their backup options aren't that strong in Jaylon Moore and Jon Feliciano, both of whom have seen their ups and downs this offseason.

Feliciano is the lone lock of the backups, as his contract, plus his versatility makes him the top interior candidate on the roster.

I've placed Jaylon Moore as a part of the projection because I believe the 49ers feel he's their top option to potentially get claimed on waivers, given his prototypical size and potential as a guard in the NFL, which the team never untapped.

However, Ilm Manning has looked better this offseason, and that earns him a spot on the 53-man roster, frankly because the remainder of the roster isn't great in regards to options. Manning has flashed as a 6'2, 294-pound tackle, but the 49ers get certainty with allowing him to develop by keeping him on the roster, be that as a tackle, or the likelier option of moving to the inside.

Leroy Watson could be in consideration, given his potential development in the future as the team's swing tackle.

But, I believe he and Jason Poe could make it onto the practice squad, while Nick Zakelj gets cut outright and becomes a candidate for the bench as well.

Defensive Line (9): Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Javon Hargrave, Drake Jackson, Kevin Givens, Clelin Ferrell, T.Y. McGill, Robert Beal Jr., Javon Kinlaw

The 49ers could go in several different directions at the backend of the defensive line, as there have been many players who have flashed, while others have disappointed.

Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Javon Hargrave, Drake Jackson, and Clelin Ferrell are locks. Behind them, T.Y. McGill might be the team's best backup pass-rusher, while Kevin Givens and Javon Kinlaw provide depth on the interior.

Beal Jr. is the intriguing case, as the 49ers don't want to lose him to waivers, so I carry him on the 53-man roster and place him on Injured Reserve, paving the way for an edge like Austin Bryant to make the roster post-53-man cutdown.

Kalia Davis, on the other hand, gets cut and makes it to the practice squad after consecutive years of dealing with injuries.

Other intriguing options include Marlon Davidson, Kerry Hyder Jr., and Alex Barrett, but all three have cases to make the practice squad.

A very realistic possibility? Like offensive line, the 49ers aren't done adding at defensive line, be it prior to the season or a midseason acquisition, as they did in 2020 with Jordan Willis or in 2021 with Charles Omenihu.

This is arguably one of the weaker defensive line groups that the 49ers have sported, depth-wise, on the 53-man roster in recent memory.

One comment in regard to roster politics: I do believe the 49ers originally carry eight at the position, while bringing one piece back after reverting Ray-Ray McCloud to Injured Reserve. That is why there will be 54 names on this 53-man projection, not 53, with McGill serving as the potential cut-and-retain option, given his veteran status.

Linebacker (6): Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, Jalen Graham, Oren Burks, Marcelino McCrary-Ball, Dee Winters

Coming into training camp, I thought the 49ers would carry five linebackers, but that changed as the 49ers went into training camp, as both rookies Jalen Graham and Dee Winters impressed me to the point that I believed each would make the 53-man roster come cutdown date.

That mindset hasn't changed through two weeks of the preseason, as I still have the 49ers carrying six linebackers, with both rookies making the cut alongside Marcelino McCrary-Ball.

A potential cut candidate here is Oren Burks, who provides immense special teams value, but might just be a cap cut given the talent on the roster and likely on the practice squad.

Still, I have the 49ers keeping all six, with a potential trade in mind for one of their cut candidates, while the other of Curtis Robinson or Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles making the practice squad.

However, with uninspiring preseasons, I don't think either player has enough value to earn anything back for the 49ers.

Cornerback (6): Charvarius Ward, Deommodore Lenoir, Isaiah Oliver, Samuel Womack, Ambry Thomas, and D'Shawn Jamison

I initially had the 49ers picking Darrell Luter Jr. as their sixth option, but the Physically Unable to Play(PUP) list seems like the perfect opportunity to stash him without spending a 53-man roster spot for the upcoming season, hence why I carried five cornerbacks on my latest 53-man projection.

However, with a strong preseason and increased buzz, Ambry Thomas joins the group as the sixth cornerback, and could arguably start on the outside for Week 1, with Deommodore Lenoir moving inside to the nickel.

D'Shawn Jamison could be the team's Week 1 returner, but has also flashed enough as a cornerback to warrant a draft spot.

The biggest question here is Isaiah Oliver. Personally, I could see Qwuantrezz Knight earning that backup nickel spot following a strong camp, but I feel the 49ers keep their veteran for dual-nickel situations, where Oliver would play against bigger opponents.

Safety (4): Talanoa Hufanga, Tashaun Gipson, Ji'Ayir Brown, and George Odum

It's the same four safeties that I've alluded to throughout training camp.

However, Tayler Hawkins has made some serious waves thus far, and cannot be discounted, although he may be one season away from being a consistent contributor, especially given George Odum's special teams ability.

But, the 49ers go heavier at cornerback and lighter at safety this season, rounding out their secondary of ten players.

ST(3): Jake Moody, Mitch Wishnowsky, Taybor Pepper

One comment here: If Jake Moody struggles in Week 3 to the point where the 49ers lose confidence in his ability to win games, don't be shocked by a move to Injured Reserve to allow Zane Gonzalez, a much more proven option, to be your Week 1 starter.
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.

Facebook Comments

More San Francisco 49ers News

placeholder image

49ers bring in familiar face for workout amidst roster injuries

By David Bonilla
Nov 27

The San Francisco 49ers are turning to a familiar face for a workout following injuries to two safeties, Talanoa Hufanga and George Odum. Hufanga suffered a torn ACL in Week 11, while Odum sustained a torn biceps on Thanksgiving. According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, veteran defensive back Anthony Averett will work out for the 49ers on Monday. Averett briefly joined San Francisco's roster during training camp in August but was released with an injury settlement on August 17. Veteran DB Anthony Averett is working out today for the

placeholder image

49ers roster moves: Talanoa Hufanga placed on IR, O-lineman added

By Site Staff
Nov 21

The San Francisco 49ers announced that safety Talanoa Hufanga has been placed on injured reserve after suffering a torn ACL on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. To fill Hufanga's roster spot, the team signed offensive lineman Ben Bartch off the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad to a one-year deal. The 49ers Communications staff provided the following rundown. Bartch (6-6, 315) was originally drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth round (116th overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft. Throughout his four-year career with the Jaguars (2020-23), he has appeared in 41 games (20 starts). In 2023, he appeared in eight games and made three starts. Bartch was waived by Jacksonville on October 31, 2023, and signed to the team's

placeholder image

49ers announce roster moves ahead of Eagles game

By Site Staff
Nov 28

The San Francisco 49ers have signed cornerback Kemon Hall and safety Erik Harris to the team's practice squad and released offensive lineman Henry Byrd. The 49ers Communications staff provided the following rundown. Hall (5-11, 190) originally entered the NFL after signing with the Los Angeles Chargers as an undrafted free agent on May 10, 2019. After spending the majority of the 2019 season on the Chargers practice squad, he was signed to the Minnesota Vikings practice squad on December 31, 2019. He went on to spend training camp with the Vikings before appearing on the New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys practice squads in 2020. He was signed to the Chargers active roster on

placeholder image

49ers activate Samuel Womack, announce other roster moves ahead of Seahawks game

By David Bonilla
Nov 23

The San Francisco 49ers announced several roster moves ahead of tonight's Thanksgiving matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Cornerback Samuel Womack, who was sidelined with an MCL injury and placed on the injured reserve list on September 16, has been activated. Womack, a fifth-round draft pick from Toledo in 2022, had his practice window opened on November 6. To accommodate Womack's return, cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles has been waived. Jean-Charles, who has been dealing with a shoulder injury, played in five games for the team and recorded one tackle. Furthermore, the 49ers have activated offensive linemen Jesse Davis and Corey Luciano from the practice squad through standard


Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone