Over the course of the next week and a half leading up to the start of training camp, we'll be breaking down the various positional units and the laundry list of players competing for roster spots. The roster is filled with a broad mix of players that are anywhere from a lock to a long-shot. Just to clarify, when I say long-shot, that covers players that we all assume have zero chance of making the roster. In reality, I think there is always a chance to make the roster. It is unlikely for some players, but crazy things happen in camp.
In late March, we took a look at the various locks, bubbles and long shot players. Since then, the team has drafted and signed various rookies and subsequently gone through an extensive offseason training program. I've had a chance to think over the roster quite a bit over the last four months, and have come up with the following breakdown of players that include locks, strong bubble, weak bubble and long shots.
Among the more notable changes, I moved Randy Moss from strong bubble to lock. I believe there is an argument to move a lot of the locks to strong bubble, but given the praise and performance in OTAs, I'm comfortable with the idea that Moss is a lock to make the roster. Anything is possible, but barring him completely melting down in the preseason (which really is possible for anybody), I just don't see any way he does not make the roster. Feel free to bookmark for this for mocking in late August.
I moved Rock Cartwright from lock to strong bubble. In thinking over the 49ers love of versatility, Rock definitely doesn't bring the versatility. While I see him filling the Blake Costanzo special teams role, if a younger guy comes along that can do that and be a solid contributor on offense (or defense), I could see him getting cut. I think he makes the roster, but it's no lock.
The pertinent numbers are 37 and 29. I have 37 players as locks and 29 players as bubble, which adds up to 66 players. With 53 roster spots, that leaves 13 players getting cut from that group. It is possible a long-shot could surprise us, but I see the battles coming down to those 29 players on the strong or weak bubble.
How wrong do you think I am?
QB (3): Alex Smith, Josh Johnson, Colin Kaepernick
RB (3): Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James
FB (1): Bruce Miller
WR (4): Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, A.J. Jenkins
TE (2): Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker
OT (3): Joe Staley, Anthony Davis, Alex Boone
OG (2): Mike Iupati, Daniel Kilgore
C (1): Jonathan Goodwin
DE (2): Justin Smith, Ray McDonald
NT (2): Isaac Sopoaga, Ricky Jean-Francois
OLB (2): Ahmad Brooks, Aldon Smith
ILB (3): Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Larry Grant
CB (3): Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver
FS (1): Dashon Goldson
SS (2): Donte Whitner, C.J. Spillman
DE (2): Demarcus Dobbs, Will Tukuafu
NT (1): Ian Williams
OLB (2): Parys Haralson, Cam Johnson (possible PUP list)
ILB (1): Tavares Gooden
CB (2): Perrish Cox, Tramaine Brock
S (2): Trenton Robinson, Colin Jones
RB (1): Jewel Hampton
FB (1): Cameron Bell
WR (5): Joe Hastings, John Matthews, Kyle Nelson, Brian Tyms, Brett Swain
TE (1): Garrett Celek
OT (2): Derek Hall, Kenny Wiggins
OG (3): Garrett Chisolm, Al Netter, David Gonzales
DL (3): Tony Jerod-Eddie, Patrick Butrym, Matthew Masifilo
LB (2): Michael Wilhoite, Joe Holland
CB (3): Ben Hannula, Anthony Mosley, Deante Purvis
S (1): Mark LeGree
K (1): Giorgio Tavecchio
IR (1): LB Darius Fleming