The significant portion of free agency is coming to an end and while the 49ers do appear to still have some holes on their roster, we can start to better assess what the 53-man roster could look like in five weeks from now. Matt Maiocco has begun a preliminary look at training camp performances, focusing today on the defensive players. We're less than a week into camp but after the first day off, now is as good a time as any to start assessing how folks are improving or hurting their chances of making the roster.
After the jump I've broken down the current roster into three groups. The first is "53-man roster" and is the group that of players I feel are locks or I have a lot of confidence they'll end up on the roster for one reason or another. This group could obviously chance with additional free agency moves. Given the delay in getting a deal done with Aubrayo Franklin I've left him entirely off the list. Might as well not tempt karma multiple times.
The second group is "question marks". These guys have something about them that raises just enough doubt that I'm not quite prepared to move them on to the 53-man roster quite yet. There are some guys on the 53-man roster that would be question marks for you, just like there are people I consider question marks that you would post as locks. A good example of this would be a guy like Alex Boone. I think there is a good chance he makes the 53-man roster, but with a new coaching staff it is really hard to tell what their long-term plan is at the tackle position. Right now he would appear to be the best option for the swing tackle role, but I'm holding off for now. He is arguably as close to a lock as any of the question marks, but we'll see how it plays out.
The final group I've described as "unknown/longshots" because I simply don't know enough about them to say for certain where they belong.
As it currently stands, I have 39 players on my 53-man roster, 22 players as question marks, and 20 players as unknowns. I've got a few more comments after the 53-man roster following the jump.
Some may ask why I include Daniel Kilgore and not Alex Boone. I think the team's decision to use a fifth round pick on Kilgore and their long term need at center is the biggest reason. Chase Beeler is certainly a long-term option at center, but considering he's an undrafted free agent, he automatically falls into the question mark category. I could not justify including any undrafted rookie free agents in the 53-man confidence group because by their very nature they had question marks coming out of college.
Barring a huge rush of moves over the next few weeks, over half the questions marks will likely end up on the 53-man roster. I simply did not feel comfortable saying with some level of confidence that in five weeks these players are guaranteed to be on the roster. Some will end up on the 53-man roster, some will end up on the practice squad, and some will be looking for work.
Bruce Miller (FB/OLB)
Jeremiah Masoli (RB/QB/Returner)