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Early 49ers 2014 53-man roster projection

Blaine Gabbert should secure his spot as a backup QB
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The 49ers concluded their third preseason game of the year with a 21-7 win over the San Diego Chargers. While most of the roster should be decided, there are a few uncertainties at who is valued in front of another.

Declaring a player as a "lock" will only be used there is one hundred percent confidence he will make the team. Here is a position by position breakdown of a possible 53-man roster:


Locks (2): Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert

Long-shots (1): Josh Johnson

Reason: The 49ers are committed to Blaine Gabbert as their backup with $2 million in guaranteed money. Their third-string QB situation has been a consistent revolving door from Scott Tolzien, B.J. Daniels, John Skelton and most recently, McLeod Bethel-Thompson who was just cut on Monday. Johnson most likely won't make the roster as the 49ers will look for a QB to join the practice squad.


Running Backs/Fullbacks:

Locks (3): Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde, Bruce Miller

Should be in (1): LaMichael James

On the bubble (2): Alfonso Smith, Will Tukuafu

Other (2): Marcus Lattimore, Trey Millard (both on non-football injury list)

Long shots (2): Glenn Winston

Reason: It is clear cut who the starting running backs are in Gore and Hyde. James could make the team with the injuries to Kendall Hunter (out for the season) and Marcus Lattimore (on the NFI). Millard will be a long-term project and Will Tukuafu's concussion is uncertain.


Wide Receivers:

Locks (5): Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Quinton Patton, Stevie Johnson, Bruce Ellington

On the bubble (2): Kassim Osgood, Brandon Lloyd

Long shots (2): Lance Lewis, L'Damian Washington,

Reason: The 49ers will roll with five wide receivers guaranteed. Osgood could make the team for his special teams contributions, but it will require patience if they want to keep Lloyd.


Tight Ends:

Locks (2): Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald

Should be in (1): Derek Carrier

Other (1): Garrett Celek (Physically unable to perform list)

Long shots (1): Asante Cleveland

Reason: Carrier and Celek were battling for the third TE spot with the latter surviving his competition twice. Both guys have spent time in the 53-man roster in the past, but with Celek still recovering from his injury, it appears Carrier should be the third TE.


Offensive Line:

Locks (7): Anthony Davis, Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Daniel Kilgore, Marcus Martin, Joe Looney, Adam Snyder

Should be in (1): Jonathan Martin

On the bubble (1): Ryan Seymour

Long shots (3): Dillion Farrell, Al Netter, Carter Bykowski

Other (2): Brandon Thomas (NFI list), Alex Boone (Reserve/Did not report)

Reason: I can't guarantee with full confidence that Jonathan Martin makes the roster, but he has made his case in the preseason. Adam Snyder's versatility is something the team can like while Marcus Martin should be on the 53-man roster, but inactive for games. Brandon Thomas is on the non-football injury list as he recovers from an ACL and hopes to be ready for 2015.


Defensive Line:

Locks (5): Justin Smith, Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial, Ray McDonald, Ian Williams

Should be in (1): Tony Jerod-Eddie

On the bubble (1): Demarcus Dobbs

Long shots (2): Lawrence Okoye, Mike Purcell

Other (2): Glenn Dorsey (possibly Injured reserve-designated for return), Kaleb Ramsey (PUP)

Reason: Dorsey should be placed on the IR-designated for return list to save a spot for the 53-man roster. Jerod-Eddie has been decent at filling the depth chart and could be one of the last players to make the roster.


Inside Linebackers:

Locks (3): Patrick Willis, Michael Wilhoite, Chris Borland

On the bubble (1): Nick Moody

Long shots (1): Shayne Skov

Other (1): NaVorro Bowman (PUP)

Reason: Moody hopes to make the team as a special teams player, which he was initially drafted for. Wilhoite should hold down the other starting ILB spot to fill in for NaVorro Bowman in the first six weeks of the season at minimum. Borland should get a few snaps on defense, but has already contributed on special teams.


Outside Linebackers:

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

Long shots: (1): Chase Thomas

Other (1): Aldon Smith (Reserve/Suspended)

Reason: Assuming Aldon Smith is suspended, he won't count against the 53-man roster and Lynch is guaranteed to make the team as a result. This is another clear cut position with four players being on the team last year with no changes needed.



Locks (3): Tramaine Brock, Chris Culliver, Dontae Johnson

Should be in (1): Chris Cook

On the Bubble (3): Kenneth Acker, Darryl Morris, Perrish Cox

Other (1): Keith Reaser (NFI list)

Reason: Cook has impressed enough in training camp where he should earn a spot on the team. Ackers ha dominated the preseason against the third string competition while Cox and Morris are looking to make the team as special teams contributors.



Locks (3): Eric Reid, Antoine Bethea, Jimmie Ward

Should be in (1): Craig Dahl

On the bubble (2): Bubba Ventrone, C.J. Spillman

Long shots (1): L.J. McCray

Reason: Spillman and Dahl should both be on special teams. Ventrone made the team as a core special teams player but there should be significant contributions from Ward as well besides the help on defense.


Special Teams:

Locks (3): K Phil Dawson, P Andy Lee, LS Kevin McDermott

Reason: There will be no drama here compared to last year where Kevin McDermott won the longsnapper role over veteran Brian Jennings. It was an economic decision to save cap money, but this part of the team is the most easy to figure out.



There are 40 players listed as locks with eight other players who should be included. With this conclusion, there are five roster spots which will determine who is valued on special teams and who could be a reserve on the 53-man roster. It would not be surprising if the 49ers cut the roster to 52 players in order to claim someone else on waivers.

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