The San Francisco 49ers made several roster moves on Tuesday to get down to their initial 53-man roster.
Rookie tight end Cameron Latu was placed on injured reserve. The third-round selection suffered a torn meniscus in his knee during the preseason finale Friday night. Latu was joined on injured reserve by kicker Zane Gonzalez who injured his calf during warmups Friday, safety Tayler Hawkins who required surgery for a hand injury and cornerback A.J. Parker.
Another rookie, defensive back Darrell Luter Jr., was placed on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list. As a result, the fifth-round draft pick must miss at least the first four games of the regular season.
Among the veterans released were defensive linemen Austin Bryant and Kerry Hyder Jr. Both are expected to re-sign with the team tomorrow.
Now the 49ers will get to work assembling their practice squad. They can sign up to 17 players including Alredo Gutierrez. San Francisco gets an exemption for keeping the offensive tackle from Mexico as part of the NFL’s International focus.
Here is the 2023 San Francisco 49ers initial 53-man roster:
Brock Purdy, Sam Darnold, Brandon Allen
The only question here was if Allen would be on the roster or if he would be released. He wasn’t going to be back with San Francisco if they tried to place him on the practice squad.
Running Back (5)
Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell, Jordan Mason, Ty Davis-Price, Kyle Juszczyk
No surprises here. McCaffrey is one of the best backs in the league. Mitchell meanwhile is very good when healthy, something he has struggled with throughout his first two seasons.
This is likely the final season as a 49er for Juszczyk. The fullback’s cap hit goes up significantly next year and it’s unlikely San Francisco will look to extend his contract further into the future.
Wide Receiver (6)
Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings, Ronnie Bell (R), Ray-Ray McCloud, Danny Gray
Ray-Ray McCloud and Danny Gray are both injured and expected to miss the start of the season. Look for the 49ers to try and bring back Willie Snead and Tay Martin or Isaiah Winstead to the practice squad.
Tight End (4)
George Kittle, Brayden Willis (R), Ross Dwelley, Charlie Woerner
Cameron Latu being placed on IR paved the way for Woerner to make the roster. San Francisco will likely try to add Troy Fumagalli to the practice squad.
Offensive Line (9)
Trent Williams, Aaron Banks, Jake Brendel, Spencer Burford, Colton McKivitz, Jon Feliciano, Jaylon Moore, Matt Pryor, Nick Zakelj
Keeping Nick Zakelj on the roster is a surprise. The 2022 draft pick struggled with penalties throughout the preseason. It’s likely he will end up on the practice squad to make room elsewhere.
Moore will serve as the primary backup at left tackle with Pryor the backup at right tackle.
Defensive Line (8)
Drake Jackson, Javon Hargrave, Arik Armstead, Clelin Ferrell, Javon Kinlaw, Kevin Givens, Kalia Davis, Robert Beal Jr. (R)
It’s a surprise to see Beal Jr. make the initial roster. Beal Jr, a rookie fifth round pick, missed most of training camp due to injury. By having him on the initial roster San Francisco can place Beal on IR with a designation to return. This will allow the team to add Austin Bryan or Kerry Hyder.
Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, Oren Burks, Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Dee Winters (R), Jalen Graham (R)
No surprises here. Burks is a core special teams contributor who has shown the ability to start at linebacker. The two rookies, Winters and Graham, were impressive throughout training camp.
Charvarius Ward, Deommodore Lenoir, Samuel Womack, Ambry Thomas, Isaiah Oliver
Oliver struggled in training camp and preseason. The only reason he is on the roster over D’Shawn Jamison is the $2.91 million in guaranteed money the 49ers gave to the veteran in free agency.
Talanoa Hufanga, Tashaun Gipson, JiAyir Brown (R), George Odum
Hufanga and Gipson were very good at creating turnovers in 2022. Brown was the top draft pick for the 49ers and Odum is an All-Pro on special teams.
Jake Moody (R), Mitch Wishnowsky, Taybor Pepper
Jake Moody is dealing with a quad injury. San Francisco may need to sign a kicker to start the season.