With the 49ers preseason coming to a close on Thursday evening, the 53-man roster must be set by Saturday. The roster needs to be trimmed to 75 players at 1:00 p.m. PT on Tuesday afternoon.
For the third 49ers preseason game, it answered a few questions surrounding the roster. It told everyone that Colt McCoy, Quinton Patton and Jon Baldwin belong on the team.
Here is my full projection of the 53-man roster:
Quarterbacks (3): Colin Kaepernick, Colt McCoy, B.J. Daniels
Cut: Seneca Wallace
Reason: Daniels was initially projected to be a practice squad member with his athleticism, but it's very clear he will only stick to his original position at quarterback. With his play this preseason, it's too risky to put him on the practice squad without thinking another team could add him to their 53-man roster. Head coach Jim Harbaugh made it clear that McCoy would be the second string despite having an average performance on Sunday. Wallace was brought in for competition at the third string spot, but he will fall short.
Running Backs / Fullbacks (5): Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Bruce Miller, Anthony Dixon
Cut: Jewel Hampton, Jason Schepler
Reason: There shouldn't be any surprises here with everyone coming back at this position from last season. Anthony Dixon still provides special teams and it's clear cut where the depth chart stands. Hampton could be a practice squad option. Marcus Lattimore remains on the non football injury list and won't count against the 53-man roster.
Wide Receivers (6): Anquan Boldin, Kyle Williams, Marlon Moore, Quinton Patton, Jon Baldwin, Kassim Osgood
Cut: Austin Collie, Chad Hall, Lavelle Hawkins, Chuck Jacobs
Reason: The 49ers have invested in Baldwin and he played well in his first appearance for the 49ers on Sunday. Kassim Osgood gets the edge over Collie, Hall, Hawkins and Jacobs for his special teams abilities. He was a three-time Pro Bowler who excels on coverage units. Throughout the preseason, he was seen on the coverage units for kickoffs. Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham are currently on the PUP and will not count against the 53-man roster. Depending on what happens, Osgood's chances of staying become slim when either player comes back from injury.
Tight Ends (3): Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek
Cut: MarQueis Gray
Reason: Celek earned his spot on the roster as the only undrafted free agent to make the team last year. He had more playing time than any of the 49ers 2012 draft picks last season. It wouldn't be surprising if Gray, a converted quarterback dethrones Celek as he excelled in training camp. Celek had trouble in blocking and was dropping passes throughout August.
Offensive Line (8): Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin, Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Daniel Kilgore, Joe Looney, Adam Snyder
Cut: Patrick Omameh, Carter Bykowski, Wayne Tribue, Kenny Wiggins
Reason: Like the running backs, this unit is very clear cut on who makes the team. Snyder becomes the reserve offensive lineman for any position on the line. The 49ers typically carry two offensive linemen on their practice squad and as of right now, Bykowski and Tribue would be the favorites to be there. Undrafted free agent Luke Marquardt will be on the non-football injury list and won't count against the 53-man roster.
Defensive Line (6) : Justin Smith, Ian Williams, Glenn Dorsey, Ray McDonald, Will Tukuafu, Tony Jerod-Eddie
Cut: Lawrence Okoye, Mike Purcell, Lamar Divens
Reason: Tukuafu and Jerod-Eddie will both be on the bubble when Demarcus Dobbs returns from his one-game suspension in Week 1. Jerod-Eddie was promoted from the practice squad in 2012 and could earn his way after having an impressive preseason showing an ability to stop the run. Lawrence Okoye could be a potential practice squad option. Remember that 2013 draft picks Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial will be on the non-football injury list and do not count against the 53-man roster.
Cut: Nate Stupar, Travis Johnson
Reason: Dan Skuta, Nick Moody and Cam Johnson will be seen mostly on special teams, but the trade of Parys Haralson opened the door for Corey Lemonier to contribute as the reserve OLB. If Cam Johnson is healthy, he should make the team. This will be the first time the 49ers will have at least eight linebackers in Week 1 of the Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke era.
Safeties (5): Donte Whitner, Eric Reid, C.J. Spillman, Craig Dahl, Bubba Ventrone
Cut: Trenton Robinson, Michael Thomas
Reason: The secondary is where the final cuts get interesting. I view Bubba Ventrone as a more important player on special teams as he hasn't seen a single play on defense as a safety. Robinson still has eligibility for the practice squad. Craig Dahl was expected to be the backup safety, but he excelled on Sunday through special teams on the kick coverage units.
Cornerbacks (5): Carlos Rogers, Nnamdi Asomugha, Tarell Brown, Perrish Cox, Tramaine Brock
Cut: Marcus Cooper, Darryl Morris
Reason: Asomugha should take the No. 3 role of cornerback after seeing him look impressive in three preseason games. He will take the spot of Chris Culliver, who will be on the injured reserve after tearing his ACL. Both Darryl Morris and Marcus Cooper could be a practice squad options with the former possessing speed and the latter having the size. Eric Wright is on the non-football-injury list and doesn't count against the 53-man roster.
Specialists: (3): K Phil Dawson, P Andy Lee, LS Brian Jennings
Cut: LS Kevin McDermott
Reason: This is about as clear cut as it gets. McDermott had an impressive preseason when snapping the ball perfectly seven times, but there it's doubtful he dethrones a longtime veteran in Jennings. Dawson showed why he was signed by the 49ers by making three out of three attempts that were 50-yards or more this preseason.
Different potential moves:
-MarQueis Gray could beat out Garrett Celek for the third TE spot.
-The 49ers choose Kevin McDermott over Brian Jennings because of financial reasons.
-Osgood and Ventrone do not make the team despite the need for special teams stars. Chad Hall was productive enough to be the sixth wide receiver.
-Cam Johnson could be placed on the PUP if the shoulder injury is significant and the 49ers keep the roster at 52 players to find a castoff from another team.