49ers 53-man roster prediction 2.0


The 49ers veterans report to team headquarters in Santa Clara on Tuesday. The first training camp practice for the 2023 season will take place Wednesday.

This is the perfect time to take a second run at predicting how the 53-man roster will shake out.

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

Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch dubbed Purdy as the “leader in the clubhouse” during the owner’s meetings in late March. The second-year quarterback appears to be ahead of schedule in his return from UCL surgery, but there has been no word from the team.

Shanahan also left the door open for the possibility of Lance earning the starting job. The former number three pick has been working with a new quarterback coach this offseason in hopes of fulfilling his vast potential.

Barring a trade, expect Darnold to be the third quarterback over Brandon Allen.

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

McCaffrey is the unquestioned starter. His presence helped open up the 49ers offense over the second half of 2022.

Behind McCaffrey, Jordan Mason and Elijah Mitchell will compete to be the second back. Mason took over the “closer” role late in the year in Mitchell’s absence. Mitchell is a good back; however, he has played just 16 of 34 regular season games in his first two seasons.

Meanwhile Ty Davis-Price will need to fend of rookies Khalan Laborn and Ronald Awatt to stay on the roster.

Fullback: (1) Kyle Juszczyk

Juszczyk is a lock to make the roster. The only question is if his versatility affords the 49ers the ability to keep just three tight ends on the roster.

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

One through four are set.

Danny Gray and rookie Ronnie Bell will compete with Tay Martin, Chris Conley and Willie Snead IV for the final two roster spots. Gray brings speed, while Bell showed the ability fight for the ball and go over the middle during the offseason program.

Martin and Snead IV end up on the practice squad.

Tight End: (4) George Kittle, Cameron Latu (R), Brayden Willis (R), Ross Dwelley,

Cameron Latu fills the inline blocking tight end role formerly held by Charlie Woerner while Willis takes over Ross Dwelley’s spot as the move tight end.

Dwelley makes the team due to his ability to play special teams, however he is the odd man out if the team decided to go with just three tight ends.

Offensive Line: (8) Trent Williams, Aaron Banks, Jake Brendel, Spencer Burford, Colton McKivitz, Jon Feliciano, Nick Zakelj, Matt Pryor

San Francisco returns four starters from a season ago.

Aaron Banks, Jake Brendel, and Spencer Burford were all first-year starters who are looking to use their experience in 2022 to improve. Colton McKivitz appears to be the favorite to replace Mike McGlinchey at right tackle.

Jon Feliciano and Matt Pryor add experience behind the starters. The 49ers believe the future for Nick Zakelj is along the interior, however he played tackle in college and could slide outside if necessary.

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

Drake Jackson will replace Samson Ebukam as the starting defensive end opposite Nick Bosa. Clelin Ferrell can lineup outside or inside, adding depth to two spots along the defensive front.

New addition Javon Hargrave has played over 660 snaps each of the last four seasons. This, along with Ferrell allow the 49ers to keep one less interior defensive lineman on the active roster.

Kerry Hyder Jr. and Austin Bryant end up being the odd men out due to the special teams ability of the rookie Robert Beal Jr. Both are candidates to land on the practice squad along with veteran T.Y. McGill and undrafted free agent Spencer Waege.

Linebacker: (5) Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, Oren Burks, Marcelino McCrary-Ball, Dee Winters (R),

San Francisco is stacked at linebacker.

Burks is a special teams ace who can start. Marcelino McCrary-Ball was impressive during his rookie training camp and looked improved during offseason workouts this Spring. He along with rookie Dee Winters make the roster.

Veteran Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles gets dealt late in camp while veteran Curtis Robinson and rookie Jalen Graham land on the practice squad.

Cornerback: (6) Charvarius Ward, Deommodore Lenoir, Isaiah Oliver, Samuel Womack, Darrell Luter Jr. (R), D’Shawn Jamison

Ward and Lenoir are solid starters while Isaiah Oliver provides an upgrade in coverage from Jimmie Ward as the starting nickelback.

Samuel Womack and rookie Darrell Luter Jr. both possess the ability to play inside or outside.

The 49ers seemed to have lost faith in Ambry Thomas last year and is replaced by undrafted rookie free agent D’Shawn Jamison. Jamison improved throughout OTAs and minicamp. He bumps Thomas off the roster.

Safety: (4) Talanoa Hufanga, Tashaun Gipson, George Odum, Ji’Ayir Brown (R)

No surprises here. Gipson will start with Brown pushing for snaps. Odum is a special teams ace.

Specialists: (3) Jake Moody (R), Mitchell Wishnowsky, Taybor Pepper

A lot of fans were moody over the 49ers taking a kicker in the third round; however, the former Michigan standout’s strong leg will pay big dividends this season.

This article has 20 Comments

  1. This is a very strong line up. Baring injury to a key player, this team could play in the Super Bowl.

  2. Jack,
    I see a couple of small differences.
    QB Purdy, Lance and Allen I see Darnold being traded in early Sept.
    WR Bell to the PS
    TE Dwelley Trade cut or PS
    Dline Bryant and Waege on the 53 Beal to the PS although a 6’4″ 250 lbs gunner would be interesting
    FB Juice and Colletto
    Cutting Darnold and extending Bosa should open up a reasonable amount of cap for next year or for a trade in case McKivitz and Pryor don’t workout. Although I don’t see any teams giving up a quality OT.

  3. No major disagreements from me.

    That D-line group could be special if Drake Jackson can become a competent pass rusher.
    It’s very possible Oliver could pass up DeMo at one of the outside CB spots. That would put Womack as the starter at nickel.
    Very interested to see Brown at Safety. I’ve heard some really good things.

    I hear Jalen Hurd is getting a tryout with the Texans. I contend the 49ers would have at least 1 SB trophy if Hurd could have stayed healthy. He was on track to be a major contributor on offense that year. I remember Peter King writing about Hurd being on track for stardom when King visited the 49er training camp.

    1. That’s interest news about Hurd. I was very excited for a while that he would be a game changer for the Niners. I hope that he is healed now and can contribute to a team. Best of luck to him.

    2. “I know he’s battling back from a serious injury. And we know potentially he has and the upside on how much we think he can help us. But, he’s got to show that. There’s not a lot of time left. We want to be smart with him. I know that some things were bothering him today. We were smart with him, but hopefully he can get into a groove where he has a chance to go out there and play some football and give himself a chance to make this team.”

      This statement is very similar to what Shanahan had to say about Trey Lance recently.
      But, actually, this is Shanahan speaking about Jelan Hurd.
      Hopefully, Hurd can make the Texans team and play again.

    3. It’s probably not going to happen, but I’d love to see them try Willis in the Hurd role. He’s not as fast, of course, but he has the versatility, soft hands and body. I think he could become a major play maker for us.

  4. Two question marks;
    Will J. Kinlaw be healthy enough to pass on an ablebody replacement?
    R. Dwelley has shown the ability to make the final roster these last 4 years inspite of being on the ,”He will not make the cut list” every year.
    Go 9ers

  5. I’m just an old fashion softy when it comes to cheering for the underdog. Maybe that’s because I’m a huge fan of the original “Rocky” movie, haha.

    The underdog I’m following in TC is D’Shawn Jamison. After watching some of his college video’s, this kid plays with the heart of a Lion. Apparently, his measurables don’t fit the standard NFL physical metrics, but he’s a football player.
    I’ll be pulling for him.

    1. AES,
      He reminds me of Eric Davis only shorter. He really can cover but like Davis because of his stature he will give up some 50/50 balls. The Fans and media really ripped Davis early in his career. Eventually they learned that although he might give up the occasional 50/50 ball and a few of them for TDs his ability to cover like a blanket was more valuable. imho

      1. Jamison’s dad was in the military for 16 yrs, and did some tours in Iraq. And his mom was a high school sprinter. This alone tells a lot about this young man.
        His arm length measured at only 30 inches and his 40 was in the 4.5 range and he was not invited to the NFL combine.
        For my part, he is the perfect kid to pull for.

  6. Maiocco said today that Purdy will be cleared to throw at camp on Aug. 21. He won’t be cleared to play in any preseason games. If that is accurate it should give TL, SD and BA enough time to prove their worth.

      1. Bosa will not practice until he has signed a new contract. I hate the 49ers practice of not negotiating extensions until right before camp. The upside is if there is a player on the 9ers who doesn’t need camp it is Bosa.

        1. Luter should be out at least 2 weeks. Wishnowski is out after tweaking his back lifting. Shouldn’t be out too long.

  7. Good news regarding Jimmy G.
    Well, for us at least. He passed has physical, which means we receive a 3rd rd comp.
    Thanks Jimmy,

  8. AES,
    With next years cap issues this year and next years draftees and UDFAs may be the most important in the last 20 years I predict the 9ers will stock pile even more picks than usual in next years draft.

    1. Hopefully, we can find some gems next year. Aside from signing next year’s rookies and F/As. In 2024, we have a kings ransom going out to Bosa. Also, there’s Jennings and Kinlaw among the most notable F/A names.
      But, that will take care of itself when the time comes.

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