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49ers 2014 53-man roster analysis

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The San Francisco 49ers announced their 53-man roster on Saturday afternoon. They made 19 roster cuts, placed CB Kenneth Acker and Will Tukuafu on injured reserve with Aldon Smith placed on the reserve/suspended list.

Here is a position breakdown of the initial 49ers 53-man roster:

Quarterbacks (3): Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert, Josh Johnson

Analysis: Johnson is the surprise of this bunch making the roster where he had a solid preseason. Gabbert will have to stay on with $2 million guaranteed whether he made the team or not.

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Running Backs/Fullbacks (4): Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde, LaMichael James, Bruce Miller

Analysis: Alfonso Smith becomes a surprise cut with a thin depth now at the running back position. There will be no safety net behind LaMichael James for the time being. Gore and Hyde should get the heavy work load while Miller is the only fullback.

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Wide Receivers (6): Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Stevie Johnson, Bruce Ellington, Quinton Patton, Brandon Lloyd

Analysis: The 49ers chose to keep Lloyd after using him sparingly in the preseason. Ellington has been useful for special teams and the 49ers hope he can develop as a future slot WR. Johnson has done little in the exhibition season, but the 49ers gave up a fourth-round pick for him, should be utilized much more in the regular season. Patton is entering his second year as wide receiver in hopes to contribute more in 2014.

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Tight Ends (3): Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Derek Carrier

Analysis: There wasn't too much competition after Garrett Celek was placed on the PUP list. Carrier should be playing on special teams as well as being an extra blocker when needed.

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Offensive Line (8): Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati, Marcus Martin, Daniel Kilgore, Jonathan Martin, Joe Looney, Dillon Farrell, Joe Staley.

Analysis: Farrell becomes the largest surprise as he will be the reserve center behind Kilgore. The 49ers saved $1 million in cap space by releasing Adam Snyder, who was the swing tackle last year. Depth is thin with Marcus Martin suffering an injury in Week 3 of the preseason against the San Diego Chargers. Another lineman can be added if they place Martin on the injured reserve-designated for return list on Tuesday.

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Defensive Line (8): Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial, Demarcus Dobbs, Glenn Dorsey, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Ray McDonald, Justin Smith, Ian Williams

Analysis: The 49ers keep most of their defensive linemen with Dobbs and Jerod-Eddie both making the team. Unlike last year, this position has some depth, highlighted by Carradine and Dial being healthy. There are several opportunities for a rotational line as Justin Smith and Ray McDonald will not need to take the entire load.

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Inside Linebackers (4): Patrick Willis, Michael Wilhoite, Chris Borland, Nick Moody

Analysis: Wilhoite has secured the starting linebacker position in place of NaVorro Bowman to being the season. Borland and Moody will be special teams contributors with the former getting a few snaps on defense.

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Outside Linebackers (4): Ahmad Brooks, Dan Skuta, Corey Lemonier, Aaron Lynch

Analysis: This is clear cut with Aldon Smith placed on the reserve/suspended list for the first nine games of the year. Skuta and Lemonier should both be in rotation, while Lynch will be a part time pass rusher.

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Cornerbacks (5): Tramaine Brock, Chris Culliver, Chris Cook, Dontae Johnson, Perrish Cox

Analysis: Cox and Cook beat out Darryl Morris for one of the final spots on the roster. Johnson should be a long term developmental CB while Cox's versatility beat out his competition in training camp. Cook had an impressive preseason and training camp in order to earn his roster spot. Sixth-round pick Kenneth Acker was placed on the injured reserve with a foot injury.

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Safeties (5): Eric Reid, Antoine Bethea, Craig Dahl, Jimmie Ward, L.J. McCray

Analysis: McCray becomes one of the biggest surprise players to make the 49ers 53-man roster. He had a solid preseason on special teams and should be one of the team's main gunners. Dahl is the first reserve safety off the bench while Ward will be used throughout the secondary on nickel defense. C.J. Spillman and Bubba Ventrone's releases saved the 49ers some cap space.

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Special Teams (3): K Phil Dawson, P Andy Lee, LS/TE Kyle Nelson

Analysis: The 49ers saved only $10,000 in money and cap space by releasing Kevin McDermott. Nelson's versatility to play as an occasional tight end could have been an attractive reason behind this decision.

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