49ers vs. Saints: Battle For The Fifties

The San Francisco 49ers visit the New Orleans Saints tomorrow in a game that will help figure out key starting and backup roles on the roster. We'll find out more about the Anthony Dixon vs. Kendall Hunter competition. We'll figure out where Colin Kaepernick is in his development. We'll even figure out who exactly will be starting at the two safety positions.

This first game will be arguably more important for the players at the bottom of the depth chart than at the top of the depth chart. The team will make an initial roster cut later this month in advance of the final cut down to 53 players at the end of the preseason. We'll have plenty of posts about the numerous position battles, but I thought I'd put together a rundown of players I view as locks, bubble and expected cuts.

We know who most of the locks are and the preliminary depth chart at least gives us some clues as to bubble players. Feel free to offer up your critiques of my locks, bubbles and expected cuts.

In putting together this list, I was conservative in many respects, but also a bit aggressive in a couple areas. For example, I believe guys like Colin Jones, Bruce Miller and Will Tukuafu are likely to make the roster. However, at this point I'm not comfortable with them as locks.

At the same time, I have six wide receivers as locks and don't see any reason to remove a single one of them. Kevin Jurovich is listed as a bubble guy right now but I am more inclined to thing he is unlikely to make the 53-man roster because I just don't see the 49ers carrying a seventh receiver.

Cornerback was another position that I had trouble separating out "locks" from "bubble" guys. Outside of Rogers, Spencer and Culliver, is there anybody you look at and say, there's no doubt he's on the 53-man in four weeks time? I think Adams, Brown and Brock could all end up on the roster, but it's such a tight battle I just don't know at this point.

Are there any locks listed that you think are much more tenuous than I believe?

LOCKS

QB (2): Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick
RB (3): Frank Gore, Anthony Dixon, Kendall Hunter
FB (1): Moran Norris
WR (6): Michael CrabtreeBraylon EdwardsJosh Morgan, Ted Ginn, Kyle Williams, Ronald Johnson
TE (2): Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker
OT (3): Joe Staley, Anthony Davis, Alex Boone
OG (3): Mike Iupati, Chilo Rachal, Daniel Kilgore
C (3): Jonathan Goodwin, Adam Snyder, Tony Wragge
NT (2): Isaac Sopoaga, Ricky Jean-Francois
DE (2): Justin Smith, Ray McDonald
OLB (4): Aldon Smith, Parys Haralson, Ahmad Brooks, Antwan Applewhite
ILB (3): Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Scott McKillop
CB (3): Carlos Rogers, Shawntae Spencer, Chris Culliver
S (5): Donte Whitner, Reggie Smith, Dashon Goldson, Madieu Williams, CJ Spillman
P (1): Andy Lee
K (1): David Akers
LOS (1): Brian Jennings

BUBBLE

QB: Jeremiah Masoli, McLeod Bethel-Thompson
RB
FB: Bruce Miller, Jack Corcoran
WR: Kevin Jurovich
TE: Colin Cloherty, Konrad ReulandChris Blohm
OT: Mike Person
OG
C: Chase Beeler
NT: Ian Williams
DE: Will Tukuafu
OLB: Thaddeus Gibson, Kenny Rowe, Monte Simmons
ILB: Blake Costanzo, Larry Grant, Alex Joseph
CB: Tarell Brown, Phillip Adams, Tramaine Brock
S: Colin Jones, Chris Maragos, Taylor Mays

CUTS/PRACTICE SQUAD

QB
RB: Xavier Omon, Seth Smith
FB
WR: Tyler Beiler, Joe Hastings, Chris Hogan, Lance Long
TE
OT: Derek Hall, Kenny Wiggins
OG: Nick Howell
C: Donovan Edwards
NT: Sealver Siliga
DE: Brian Bulcke, Demarcus Dobbs
OLB
ILB
CB: Phillip Davis, Cory Nelms, Anthony West
S
K: Fabrizio Scaccia

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