The 49ers played their final preseason game and defeated the Chargers 41-6 on Thursday night. All NFL rosters must be trimmed to 53 players by 3:00 p.m. PT on Saturday afternoon.
Here is my projection of the 49ers 53-man roster:
Quarterbacks (3): Colin Kaepernick, Colt McCoy, B.J. Daniels
Cut: Seneca Wallace
Reason: The picture becomes clear cut with Seneca Wallace deciding he could retire this season. Daniels showed promise in the last three preseason games and it is too risky if the team chooses to release him. Jim Harbaugh set the record straight in saying Colt McCoy is the backup quarterback after Sunday’s preseason game. McCoy’s contract was restructured so that it would be cap-hit friendly.
Running Backs / Fullbacks (5): Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Bruce Miller, Anthony Dixon
Cut: Jewel Hampton, Jason Schepler
Reason: Hampton had a few flashes of promise, but like the quarterback position, it is almost certain that there will be no changes for the running backs and fullbacks. Anthony Dixon’s special teams prove to still be valuable whether it’s blocking on kick returns or as a reserve fullback. Marcus Lattimore is on the non-football injury list and won’t count against the 53-man roster.
Wide Receivers (5): Anquan Boldin, Kyle Williams, Marlon Moore, Quinton Patton, Jon Baldwin
Cut: Austin Collie, Chad Hall, Lavelle Hawkins, Chuck Jacobs, Kassim Osgood
Reason: Jim Harbaugh said after Thursday’s preseason game that he was satisfied with who he had at wide receiver. The team doesn’t look like it will need six receivers and two players could be cut when Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree return from the PUP list.
Tight Ends (3): Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek
Cut: MarQueis Gray
Reason: Despite the struggles of Garrett Celek in the preseason, he earned his way onto the roster last season. He could be seen as an extra blocker for the full house pistol formation. It would not be surprising if Gray beats out Celek for the third tight end spot.
Offensive Line (8): Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin, Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Adam Snyder, Daniel Kilgore, Joe Looney
Cut: Patrick Omameh, Carter Bykowski, Wayne Tribue, Kenny Wiggins
Reason: It’s unclear if Adam Snyder is injured for a significant amount of time, but this is what the offensive line should look like when the season begins. The starting five offensive linemen remain and the 49ers like what they have in Kilgore and Looney helping the interior. If Snyder is put on the PUP, Carter Bykowski would get the nod as a reserve OT. Luke Marquardt will remain on the Non-Football injury list and doesn’t count against the 53-man roster.
Defensive Line (6): Justin Smith, Ian Williams, Glenn Dorsey, Ray McDonald, Will Tukuafu, Tony Jerod-Eddie
Cut: Mike Purcell
Suspended: Demarcus Dobbs
Reason: Demarcus Dobbs will not count against the 53-man roster when he serves his one-game suspension in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers. Tony Jerod-Eddie could be seen as an extra body on the defensive line if needed as he has impressed throughout the preseason against the run. He is also practice squad eligible if the 49ers choose to waive him when Dobbs returns. Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial are both on the Non-Football-Injury List and will not count against the 53-man roster.
Linebackers (9): Ahmad Brooks, Aldon Smith, NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Dan Skuta, Nick Moody, Michael Wilhoite, Corey Lemonier, Cam Johnson
Cut: Nate Stupar, Travis Johnson, Joe Holland
Reason: I had Cam Johnson as part of the 53-man roster prior to the Thursday preseason game against the Chargers and what opened the door was the Parys Haralson trade. Skuta and Lemonier have been solid as OLBs while Moody and Wilhoite are both special teams contributors and reserve inside linebackers.
Safeties (6): Donte Whitner, Eric Reid, C.J. Spillman, Craig Dahl, Bubba Ventrone, Michael Thomas
Cut: Trenton Robinson
Reason: Ventrone has been consistently used on special teams and I believe the 49ers have put value in him for both punts and kickoffs. Michael Thomas is one of the few changes to my last edition because he has also helped on special teams. What makes Thomas useful is how he can play nickel back if needed for depth and the 49ers could like his versatility in the secondary.
Cornerbacks (5): Carlos Rogers, Nnamdi Asomugha, Tarell Brown, Perrish Cox, Tramaine Brock
Cut: Marcus Cooper, Darryl Morris
Reason: There shouldn’t be any changes here with every cornerback listed earning his spot. There was an interesting battle between Asomugha and Brock for the nickel CB spot, but Asomugha beat him out in the end. Eric Wright is on the non-football injury list and won’t count against the 53-man roster.
Specialists (3): K Phil Dawson, P Andy Lee, LS Brian Jennings
Cut: LS Kevin McDermott
Reason: This part is very clear cut with all the veterans being part of special teams. The only reason McDermott ends up beating Jennings is because of financial reasons. The 49ers will save $550,000 in cap hit for the next two seasons if they choose to keep McDermott.
Practice Squad (8): TE MarQueis Gray, CB Marcus Cooper, OT Carter Bykowski, G Wayne Tribue, WR Chuck Jacobs, RB Jewel Hampton, NT Mike Purcell, CB Darryl Morris
Reason: The 49ers gave Gray almost no playing time on Thursday so he isn’t revealed to the rest of the NFL. Bykowski and Cooper were both draft picks from 2013 while Hampton was on the team last season. Chuck Jacobs and Mike Purcell had a decent preseason against the opposing scout teams while Wayne Tribue becomes the second offensive linemen on the practice squad.