Tentative Niners depth chart

As we begin to rev up the engine for training camp, here’s some food for thought:

A tentative depth chart. This is how I think the roster stands as of today.


LWR: Randy Moss, Kyle Williams, A.J. Jenkins

Analysis: Moss starts at split end. Kyle Williams backs him up and backs up Crabtree in the slot, but mostly plays as the second slot receiver in four-wide receiver formations. A.J. Jenkins backs up left WR, right WR and the slot.

RWR: Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, A.J. Jenkins, Ted Ginn Jr.

Analysis: Crabtree starts at flanker, but moves to the slot in the three- and four-wide receiver formations. Manningham is the first flanker off the bench. Ginn Jr. receives limited snaps to run the fly sweep.

LT: Joe Staley, Mike Person

LG: Mike Iupati, Daniel Kilgore, Joe Looney

C: Jonathan Goodwin, Daniel Kilgore, Jason Slowey

RG: Alex Boone, Daniel Kilgore, Jason Slowey

RT: Anthony Davis, Mike Person

TE: Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Demarcus Dobbs

Analysis: Rather than devote an entire roster spot to a blocking tight end (Nate Byham), the Niners give the job to backup defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs. Konrad Reuland goes to the practice squad.

QB: Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Josh Johnson

Analysis: Scott Tolzien goes to the practice squad.

FB: Bruce Miller, Will Tukuafu

Analysis: Tukuafu, not Isaac Sopoaga, plays Jumbo fullback.

RB: Frank Gore, LaMichael James, Brandon Jacobs, Kendall Hunter, Rock Cartwright

Analysis: Gore starts but splits carries with three other running backs. James gets most of the snaps in three- and four-wide receiver formations, Jacobs plays when the offense is near the goal line, and Hunter gets about ten touches a game on sweeps and screen passes.


LDT: Ray McDonald, Will Tukuafu

NT: Isaac Sopoaga, Ricky Jean Francois, Ian Williams

RDT: Justin Smith, Ricky Jean Francois, Demarcus Dobbs

Analysis: Tukuafu and Jean Francois are the primary backups. Williams is a project who could potentially take Sopoaga’s spot at nose tackle in the future. Ditto for Dobbs, who could replace Justin Smith when the aging defensive lineman retires in a few seasons.

LOLB: Ahmad Brooks, Parys Haralson

LILB: NaVorro Bowman, Larry Grant, Tavares Gooden

RILB: Patrick Willis, Larry Grant, Tavares Gooden

ROLB: Aldon Smith, Parys Haralson

Analysis: The Niners roll the dice and carry just three outside linebackers once again. They stash undrafted rookie defensive end Kourtnei Brown on the practice squad.

LCB: Carlos Rogers, Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox

Analysis: Rogers moves to the slot against three-wide-receiver formations. Perrish Cox is the second slot corner. Culliver plays left cornerback in nickel and dime defenses.

SS: Donte Whitner, C.J. Spillman, Colin Jones

Analsysis: Whitner plays almost all of the snaps at this position. Spillman and Jones are key special team players.

FS: Dashon Goldson, C.J. Spillman, Trenton Robinson

Analysis: Like Whitner, Goldson plays almost all of the snaps at this position. Spillman is the main backup at both spots, and Robinson is a special teams contributor.

RCB: Tarell Brown, Tramaine Brock


P: Andy Lee

K: David Akers

LS: Brian Jennings

PR: Ted Ginn Jr., Kyle Williams, LaMichael James

KR: Ted Ginn Jr., Kyle Williams, LaMichael James

Analysis: Williams starts the season as the main backup, but James challenges him midway through the season as he improves his hands.

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