We're a week into OTAs, with almost 3 months until the regular season gets under way. Fortunately for us that leaves all sorts of time to assess and reassess and reassess again the 49ers 53-man roster. For this first run-through I've got a projected 53-man roster followed by some bubble guys. I haven't determined who's eligible for the practice squad versus who is out of eligibility, so that will be considered at a later time. Additionally, some of the offensive lineman may not be 100% accurate in the position I have them listed under. For example, Chilo Rachal could be a guard or could be a tackle, so I've just got him as a guard for now. Also, Justin Smith has spent a whole lot of time at outside linebacker, but we'll stick him at defensive end for now. This is a matter of just getting the names down.
QB (3): Alex Smith, Shaun Hill, J.T. O'Sullivan
RB (3): Frank Gore, DeShaun Foster, Michael Robinson
FB (1): Moran Norris
WR (6): Isaac Bruce, Bryant Johnson, Arnaz Battle, Ashley Lelie, Jason Hill, Josh Morgan
TE (3): Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Billy Bajema
LT (2): Joe Staley, Damane Duckett
LG (2): Adam Snyder, Tony Wragge
C (2): Eric Heitmann, Cody Wallace
RG (2): David Baas, Chilo Rachal
RT (1): Jonas Jennings
DE (4): Isaac Sopoaga, Justin Smith, Kentwan Balmer, Ray McDonald
DT (2): Aubrayo Franklin, Ronald Fields
OLB (3): Manny Lawson, Tully Banta-Cain, Parys Haralson
ILB (5): Patrick Willis, Jeff Ulbrich, Dontarrious Thomas, Brandon Moore, Larry Grant
CB (6): Nate Clements, Walt Harris, Shawntae Spencer, Tarell Brown, Donald Strickland, Reggie Smith
FS (2): Mark Roman, Dashon Goldson
SS (2): Michael Lewis, Keith Lewis
K: Joe Nedney
P: Andy Lee
LS: Brian Jennings
KR/PR: Allen Rossum
It was amazing how quickly I ran out of roster spots when going through this exercise. One point of note: if the 49ers do sign Barry Sims, he and Damane Duckett will do battle for one of those roster spots. Nolan mentioned how lucky they were to have 9 offensive lineman and with one of those two, they'd be at 9. Some guys I haven't fit in include my boy Jay Moore, Zak Keasey, Thomas Clayton, Roderick Green, Marcus Hudson, Melvin Oliver, Atiyyah Ellison and Joe Cohen. Some of them are practice squad eligible, but there are also some potential openings on the 53-man roster. Josh Morgan and Larry Grant are two rookies who could conceivably not make the 53-man roster, either ending up on the practice squad or just being cut. I think Grant has a better shot of making the team, although I am curious if Mike Martz would want more than 5 wide receivers for his offense. I held out Keasey as the full back is not exactly a major role in the Martz offense and there are greater needs to keep around.
I'm going to put together a first attempt at a projected practice squad at some point in the near future. In the meantime, I'm sure there are plenty of opinions out there that would differ from mine on the 2008 53-man roster. Injuries and off-field issues could very well change some of these projections, but for a first draft, I think I've hit the high points. If you think I'm mistaken on certain players, I'd love to hear why you think that. For references, check out the ESPN Depth Chart and the team site roster list. I look forward to vehement disagreement.