49ers final 53-man roster projection

Rookies Dee Winters (53), JiAyir Brown (27) and Jalen Graham (50) at 49ers training camp in Santa Clara.

The San Francisco 49ers must cut down to their initial 53-man roster by 1:00pm Tuesday. That process has already begun with the team releasing Nate Brooks, La’Darius Hamilton, Breeland Speaks, Kyahva Trevino and Spencer Waege on Sunday.

Here is my projection on how the initial roster will shake out.

Quarterback (3)

Brock Purdy, Sam Darnold, Brandon Allen

The trade of Trey Lance on Friday makes this an easy one. San Francisco sees Brock Purdy as their franchise quarterback.

Darnold has been up and down throughout his career, however this is the best situation he’s found himself in. San Francisco should be ok if they need him to step in for a game or two.

Allen is a veteran backup with options across the league. It is hard to see him staying in San Francisco as part of the practice squad.

Running Back (5)

Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell, Jordan Mason, Ty Davis-Price, Kyle Juszczyk

No questions here. The 49ers eliminated all possible competition for roster spots at running back weeks ago.

McCaffrey and Juszczyk are two of the best in the NFL in their positions. Mitchell and Mason are more than capable backups. The only question is if Mitchell can stay healthy and Mason hold on to the football. Mason was dependable as a rookie but has struggled with ball security during training camp.

Wide Receiver (6)

Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings, Ronnie Bell, Ray-Ray McCloud, Danny Gray

Injuries to McCloud and Gray make it likely they will both miss the beginning of the season. As a result, the 49ers will carry six on the active roster.

Keep an eye on the practice squad for players such as Willie Snead, Tay Martin or Isaiah Winstead. Whoever lands there will likely be pulled up to the active roster early in the season.

Tight End (4)

George Kittle, Brayden Willis, Cameron Latu, Ross Dwelley

Kittle and Willis appear to be locks.

Latu suffered a knee injury in the preseason finale against the Chargers which may require surgery. If so, look for him to be replaced by Charlie Woerner or Troy Fumagalli.

Ross Dwelley makes it due to his ability to play special teams and fullback.

Offensive Line (8)

Trent Williams, Aaron Banks, Jake Brendel, Spencer Burford, Colton McKivitz, Jon Feliciano, Jaylon Moore, Matt Pryor

The starting five is set.

San Francisco doesn’t have a true swing tackle on its roster right now. Expect to see Pryor as the backup to McKivitz with Moore backing up Williams. Jon Feliciano can play all three interior spots and Moore can slide inside in an emergency.

Nick Zakelj was a consideration here as well, but with Feliciano’s presence and the need for tackles he ends up on the practice squad.

Defensive Line (9)

Nick Bosa, Drake Jackson, Javon Hargrave, Arik Armstead, Clelin Ferrell, Javon Kinlaw, Kevin Givens, Kalia Davis, Kerry Hyder Jr.

This is dependent upon Bosa and the 49ers agreeing to terms on a new contract.

Kalia Davis missed much of camp with an injury but has been very good over the last two weeks. Hyder makes it due to his ability to play on the edge or inside.

Look for Austin Bryant to be on the roster if a Bosa deal is not done. The free agent acquisition has shown quickness off the edge and ability to set the edge in the run game.

Linebacker (6)

Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, Oren Burks, Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Dee Winters, Jalen Graham

Flannigan-Fowles is a potential trade candidate along with Curtis Robinson.

The two rookies have been impressive, showing growth throughout the offseason program and training camp.

Cornerback (5)

Charvarius Ward, Deommodore Lenoir, Samuel Womack, Ambry Thomas, D’Shawn Jamison

Undrafted rookie free agent D’Shawn Jamison over Isaiah Oliver is the surprise at cornerback.

Oliver was supposed to be the replacement for Jimmie Ward inside, but he has struggled throughout training camp and preseason. San Francisco has worked on having Lenoir inside with Thomas coming in to play the boundary.

Samuel Womack and Jamison also can play inside or out depending on need.

Safety (4)

Talanoa Hufanga, Tashaun Gipson, JiAyir Brown, George Odum

The only question at safety is the health of Odum. The veteran has missed most of camp with injury but looks ready to return.

Specialists (3)

Jake Moody, Mitch Wishnowsky, Taybor Pepper

Moody missed the preseason finale with a strained quad but that is unlikely to have any effect on his place on the initial roster.

This article has 19 Comments

  1. Jack,
    I have very few different roster views.
    #1 With Hyders ability to slide inside I think they might try to slip Givens to the PS to keep Bryant. I think Bryant has looked far better than Givens has in the preseason.
    #2 At LB I think they will try to find a way to keep McCrary-Ball on the 53 maybe by placing Burks on the short term injury list.
    #3 I could see them picking up the K that the Chargers cut and placing Moody on the short term injury list.
    #4 I could see them replacing Moore or Pryor with a late trade or waiver wire pick up.
    #5 I could see them replacing Davis by placing him on the short term injury list with a late trade or waiver wire pick up for a big run stopping DT.

    1. Coach,

      I would not be surprised to see any of these. Doubt they could get Givens to the practice squad though.

      1. Things could get very interesting with a new DC and no Bosa

        “Undrafted rookie free agent D’Shawn Jamison over Isaiah Oliver is the surprise at cornerback.” Will be interesting to see how this plays out DJ has special teams potential and for a rookie has done well as a DB in camp

  2. According to Lombardi: If they don’t sign Bosa before cutdown, he doesn’t count against the 53; therefore, one of the potential IR decisions could wait. So it would be clever, if they have a deal in principal, to wait till after the cutdown.

  3. Moore has never been reliable and Pryor, though better than Moore seems subpar. Chance for a trade? We also need a big run-stopper. San Diego chewed up 267 yards in offense on the ground.

  4. One thing about the backup o-linemen. They were terrible a couple of games. So SF should take out the garbage and cut them. So. Here’s my opinion. Niners have 12 draft picks next year. I think they should use a couple on good backup o-linemen that can be starters in case of the usual injuries. If Kinlaw doesn’t make it, then another DT would need to be drafted. I hope we can afford Brandon Aiyuke ( think I Spelled his last name wrong ). If he priced himself out of our range, definitely should draft another big time, starting caliber WR to replace him. Another corner, perhaps? You can’t have too many corners.

  5. Interesting projection, Jack.
    I like your projection that has 7 rookies making the team. Small surprise is Woener not making your list. He is a very good blocker, but has not made an impact in the receiving game. Hopefully, Willis can adequately cover both areas. I’ve always liked Dwelley, he catches almost everything thrown his way.

    Your projections have a few differences from others I’ve seen, but yours is good.

  6. I think Isaiah Oliver getting cut should be a bit of a bigger deal. That was the guy the specifically targeted to play slot corner and he is getting cut? Wow.

    Pryor, Feliciano, and Moore are major step downs from Skule and Brunskill.

    Other 49er writers are saying Austin Bryant has significantly outplayed Drake Jackson. Wonder if there could be a surprise there.

    I do think the 49er have a great roster, outside of the O-line. If some things fall right, this could be a Superbowl team. BUT, in light of the Trey Lance debacle, and some of the players who just aren’t performing well, it does seem like the 49ers scouting has taken a step back. Has the departures of Ran Carthon and others finally taken a toll on talent evaluation?

    1. Few want to openly admit the consequences of Drake being a bit of a bust who has not developed. Bryant needs to stay for sure.

    2. Patriot,

      “Pryor, Feliciano, and Moore are major step downs from Skule and Brunskill.”

      Imo it’s more complicated than that.

      Feliciano — Capable of starting at both center and guard. Not suitable at tackle.
      Brunskill — Backup who can play all three spots
      Prior — Backup tackle, capable at guard in a pinch
      Moore — Ditto
      Skule — To my knowledge limited to backup tackle

      If the above is true, Feliciano is the first backup at both center and guard, and Prior backs up tackle.

      “Other 49er writers are saying Austin Bryant has significantly outplayed Drake Jackson. Wonder if there could be a surprise there.”

      Bryant seems prone towards injury but like you I wonder if he’s ahead of Jackson on their pecking order. As I recall, though, they signed Ferrell to take Ebukam’s spot. If so, he’ll start, no?

      1. I understand position flexibility. I’m saying those 3 players aren’t very good. Brunskill and Skule were serviceable backups.

        I think Ferrell starts for sure. The piece I’m wondering is if maybe the 49ers try to sneak Jackson onto the PS to further develop while they get what they can from Bryant.

  7. American football is my passion, my life. Every match is a return to the days when I myself fought on the field, indulging in this great game during my college years. Following the San Francisco team is a special pleasure, because they not only embody the spirit of real teamwork, but also remind me of those driving moments when I myself closely watched every ball, every rush. It’s more than just a game – it’s my story, my passion, my love.

      1. My good man, that would be Dunkirk. Bloody hell but my only salvation was time spent away from the missus. For that I am eternally grateful. God and country!

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