49ers 53-Man Projected Roster 3.0
Preseason is now officially halfway over for the San Francisco 49ers as the upcoming 2017 NFL season awaits just around the corner. After last night’s 33-14 loss to the Denver Broncos at Levi Stadium, the dust is beginning to settle on which players will make the 53-man roster for the 49ers. While several jobs have already been determined, the ones that have been unsettled will make decisions for both general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan very difficult ones.
Despite a second straight preseason game where the 49ers as a whole showed lack of discipline fundamentally, there were still a handful of players who had solid games and made great cases on why they should make the final roster. But nothing, of course, is set in stone as a lot can change between now and the final two preseason games. Not only will both Lynch and Shanahan be handed the task of selecting which 53 players will be best suited for their system, but also which 22 players out of those 53 will be starters.
With a lot of decisions to be made, the picture will become more clear after these last two preseason games on who will make the 49ers final roster. Now comes the final opportunity for every player to make one last impression in this coaching staff. So with that said, here is an updated projected 53-man roster.
Quartetbacks-Brian Hoyer, C.J. Beathard (2)
Analysis: Beathard has not only performed slightly better than Matt Barkley during training camp, but the rookie from Iowa has looked very comfortable out on the field after just two preseason games by completing for a combined 14-of-23 passes for 211 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions for a quarterback rating of 130.6. This isn’t to say that Barkley is the odd man out (yet), but the fifth-year quarterback may have an uphill battle making the 49ers roster in light of Beathard’s performance.
Running Back- Carlos Hyde, Tim Hightower, Joe Williams, Matt Breida (4)
Analysis: The group is set with Hyde leading the charge. Kapri Bibbs and Raheem Mostert are the odd men out, with the latter as a potential practice squad player.
Fullback-Kyle Juszczyk (1)
Analysis: There’s really no analysis here for the fullback position. The man nicknamed “Juice” is the most versatile fullback in the NFL.
Wide Receiver-Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin, Aldrick Robinson, Jeremy Kerley, Trent Taylor, Victor Bolden Jr. (6)
Analysis: The 49ers might have no choice but to have six receivers on their roster now after witnessing Bolden Jr.’s 104-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Broncos during the 4th quarter last night. Being handy on special teams is a valuable asset, and releasing Bolden Jr. could risk other NFL teams swooping up the undrafted free agent out of Oregon State. Kendrick Bourne is still a dark horse to make the final roster but will have to pick up the pace to make that happen.
Tight End-George Kittle, Vance McDonald, Logan Paulsen (3)
Analysis-Kittle proved last night that he can be a force to reckon with in the 49ers offense while McDonald has surprisingly responded to trade rumors by working his tail off. Paulsen’s familiarity with Shanahan’s offense helps his cause, while Garrett Celek appears to be on borrowed time. Cole Hikutini is a practice squad candidate.
Offensive Line-Joe Staley, Trent Brown, Garry Gilliam, Joshua Garnett, Zane Beadles, Brandon Fusco, Daniel Kilgore, Tim Barnes (8)
Analysis-The 49ers releasing of center Jeremy Zuttah opens up an opportunity for Barnes to make the squad. Garnett’s status is still up in the air for the season home opener against the Carolina Panthers but still factors in to being a key component for the offensive line.
Defensive Line-DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, Earl Mitchell, Elvis Dumervil, Aaron Lynch, D.J. Jones, Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial (9)
Analysis-The defensive line unit is the deepest it’s been in a few years. With young, promising players such as Buckner, Armstead and rookie Thomas this unit has the potential to be very good for many years to come. Both veterans such as Lynch and Carradine are playing with chips on their shoulders, while both Dumervil and Mitchell provide valuable leadership for a defensive line trying to come into its own.
Outside Linebackers-Ahmad Brooks, Eli Harold, Dekoda Watson (3)
Analysis-Harold was a surprise start last night against the Broncos instead on Brooks, so it will be very interesting to see how this battle plays out. Watson provides depth and special teams value.
Middle Linebackers-NaVorro Bowman, Reuben Foster, Ray Ray Armstrong, Brock Coyle (4)
Analysis- As hard as this is the imagine, Bowman was not guaranteed a roster spot when training camp started despite his past credentials on the field. But a season-ending injury to free agent linebacker Malcolm Smith left the door open for the former All-Pro linebacker. Playing alongside rookie Foster could help make Bowman’s job a little easier if the former can come into his own.
Cornerbacks-Rahsard Robinson, Keith Reaser, Ahkello Witherspoon, Dontae Johnson, K’Waun Williams, Will Redmond (6)
Analysis-Besides Robinson, it is yet to be determined who will start opposite side of him. Williams has had himself a decent training camp, while Redmond should be one of the final players to make the roster.
Safeties-Eric Reid, Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt, Lorenzo Jerome (4)
Analysis-Reid leads the way for this unit, and seems to be getting very acclimated in defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s defensive scheme. Ward needs to prove that he can stay healthy on the field. Tartt is a solid backup, while Jerome has a knack for locating the ball thrown within his vicinity.
Kicker-Robbie Gould (1)
Punter-Bradley Pinion (1)
Long Snapper-Kyle Nelson (1)
Special Teams Analysis-All three are naturals at their position. There was never any competition in the end.
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