UPDATED 8/30/11 TO TAKE ROSTER CUTS INTO ACCOUNT
With two preseason games behind us, the season record predictions have already begun. Even those who point out the pointlessness of predictions, can’t help but make their own. The comments from Rondaldinho’s fan post http://www.ninersnation.com/2011/8/18/2370869/we-have-talent-but-is-it-the-wrong-talent are a great example. Personally, I feel that my prediction of 19-0 for the season is about as justified as anyone else’s prediction. I believe you just can’t predict who is going to win games until you’re into about week 5 of the regular season. Until then, until proven otherwise, the 49ers will go 19-0.
Since the issue of our season record is now settled I thought it was time to move on to the secondary issue of the roster. Who will make the roster? Who will make the practice squad? An who will be cut? Who is going to lead us to 19-0?
After the jump I have the roster and a short explanation. In reality, after 1st and 2nd string, I’d probably be more accurate if I simply pulled players names from a hat. But nonetheless, it’s been a nice exercise in futility.
#1 Alex Smith #2 Colin Kaepernick #3 McCown
Smith has had a good enough preseason and Kaepernick has had a bad enough preseason that we know who the #1 and #2 are. I think Masoli still makes the PS, simply due to his legs. McCown will be the #3 because he knows something about Harbaugh that no one else does and has the pictures to prove it.
UPDATE: Less than two hours after this was posted Masoli was released. I wish I never would have pulled his name from the hat.
The only change I could see here is if Oman turns in even better performances in the next two games, 49ers will have to put him on their roster or deal with years of fans claiming Xavier Oman was our future. So for the record, Xavier Oman is our future . . . or another team’s future if he’s cut. Update 8/30: Oman isn't PS eligible.
He had a great game against the Raiders. Not sure this justifies cutting Norris, but I just want Norris gone. Miller’s got a great motor, if that translates to FB he could be great . . . and invisible like full backs are supposed to be.
I think we’ll keep 6 receivers. I know this is a lot, especially for a WCO that wants three tight ends. But Michael Crabtree is the only (presumed) long term solution. Edwards has a one year deal, Morgan never broke out and in the last year of his contract, Ginn looks like he’ll never develop to meet his draft status and the rest are still in the development stage. With that in mind, Edwards, Crabtree, and Morgan are locks and were before preseason started. One more good game from Williams and he’ll be a lock, if he isn’t already. Ginn needs one more game with a catch or two on first team and he’ll be a lock. So really the 6th spot is the question. I think Lance Long makes it only because he was already listed on the depth chart for the Saints game. Rojo ends up on the PS simply because he was a 6th round pick and FO won’t want to admit that they missed on both sixth round picks this year.
UPDATE: Zeigler is back and competing for a spot, he may push Lance Long off the Roster.
Davis and Walker are obvious choices, Reuland is making the most of his inside track, though as Harbaugh mentioned I hope he’s putting in extra time with the strength and conditioning coach, otherwise his presence may be short lived.
C #8 Jonathon Goodwin #9 Tony Wragge
PS Mike Person
While there’s plenty debate over who should start, the only roster debate is over who gets the PS spot. I think Person gets it. He’s raw and comes from a small school, but he excelled at his small school and deserves a year to see if he can turn into something more, maybe taking over for Wragge next season.
NT #5 Isaac Soapaga #6 Ian Williams
The Dline is all about that last spot. Demarcus Dobbs has had some great showings against 3rd stringers. Would like to see how he does against legit backups, if not against the #1 offense. His technique is funky enough that he might be able to hang out on the PS if waived. Tukuafu seems to have less upside, but he also seems more game ready for this year. Ideally, Tukuafu would make the roster, Dobbs would hit the PS and then be elevated whenever ready, if he’s ever ready.
Nice to see this position round out. With Aldon Smith pushing both Haralson and Brooks to start, it seems you actually need less depth. Applewhite has looked good, he’s a great back-up as he’s on the cusp of being starter caliber. Liability as starter, but adds great depth as a backup if injuries arise.
PS Keaton Kristick / Monte Simmons
I’m guessing the FO will carry five ILBs, only because the #3 ILB hasn’t solidified. This means the FO will likely keep Grant and McKillop. I know there were rumors that McKillop will be cut, and I have no idea if his knee is healed like he says it is, so I guess that’s a possibility. Still, seems strange to cut him after his productive rookie year. Costanzo was brought in specifically for STs and I think he’ll make the roster, just for STs.
UPDATE 8/30: McKillop is cut afterall, apparently he's still in a knee brace. Best of luck to him.
PS Cory Nelms
Brown, Culliver, Adams and Brock all seem to be about the same, good enough that they’d be claimed if waived, bad enough that none of them stand out making it worth waiving the others. Cory Nelms has looked good this preseason, if he puts together a good game, I wouldn’t be surprised if he sneaks on in Brock’s spot.
I think the 49ers will only carry 5 safeties. Between Whitner, Williams, Goldson and Reggie Smith the depth and quality of the position looks pretty good. I think this will allow the 49ers to keep Mays (who everyone is expecting to be cut). 49ers will then trade Mays after the roster cuts when they’ve called everyone’s bluff and pull up Curtis Taylor from the practice squad for the #5 spot. I know this is a little unconventional, but it’s the only way the FO will get anything from the 45th pick overall.
UPDATE: Mays traded to Bengles. I think McKillop has more upside than Spillman, if he has recovered from his injury, but could see McKillop cut and Spillman in for ST value. UPDATE 8/30: McKillop is cut, so I think Spillman gets his spot.
Special Teams (3)
P Andy Lee
LS Brian Jennings
Again, the only controversy would be whether they keep a PS spot open for a back up kicker. The FO has seemed interested in Scaccia for a while, seems to me they’ll keep him around as insurance.
Update: recently signed Sam Paulescu, who isn't PS eligible and obviously is just around so we don't have to take any more chances getting lee injured. Once again the hat has failed me.
Feel free to post your own futile roster prediction below.