49ers 53-Man Roster Projection: The Good Kinds Of Hard Decisions

I'm guessing these two guys are probably safe today! Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE

The preseason is officially a wrap and the time has come to make some decisions. The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up a 3-1 preseason slate with their most impressive performance by the roster, middle to bottom, thus far. The 49ers deactivated their entire starting defense, along with Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss and Frank Gore, as well as possibly Vernon Davis and Kyle Williams, whom I did not see on the field. And yet, the 49ers were able to take the San Diego Chargers behind the woodshed with a 35-3 thrashing.

The 49ers now get to make their final roster decisions to get down to the required 53-man roster by 6:00 p.m. PT tonight. The team will make plenty of changes over the course of the season, but after 6pm, the team cannot exceed 53 players.

There are always tough decisions in the final cuts, but these are possibly the most difficult roster cuts in a decade. That is not exactly surprising considering the team's NFC Championship Game run and considerably depth heading into this season.

I really have no idea what to make of the Scott Tolzien versus Josh Johnson. I have Johnson in my 53-man roster mainly because he had the strongest recent performance. However, can we quickly forget Tolzien's strong performance against the Vikings in the preseason opener? Both performances came against the lower parts of the opponent's depth chart. Johnson's performance against the Chargers was more impressive, but we can't forget that Tolzien has showed some things. For now I'm sticking with Johnson, but it is based on nothing more than my gut.

After the jump, I've posted my final 53-man roster projection, along with a preliminary practice squad projection. NFL teams can start signing players to their practice squads beginning at 9:00 a.m. PT on Saturday. I'll have another projection tomorrow morning reflecting roster cuts.

OFFENSE
QB (3): Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Josh Johnson
RB (5): Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Brandon Jacobs, Anthony Dixon
FB (1): Bruce Miller
WR (6): Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams, A.J. Jenkins, Ted Ginn Jr.
TE (3): Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Konrad Reuland
OT (3): Joe Staley, Anthony Davis, Mike Person
OG (4): Mike Iupati, Alex Boone, Leonard Davis, Joe Looney
C (2): Jonathan Goodwin, Daniel Kilgore

DEFENSE
DE (4): Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Demarcus Dobbs, Will Tukuafu
NT (3): Isaac Sopoaga, Ricky Jean Francois, Ian Williams
OLB (3): Ahmad Brooks, Aldon Smith, Parys Haralson
ILB (4): Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Larry Grant, Tavares Gooden
FS (2): Dashon Goldson, Trenton Robinson
SS (2): Donte Whitner, C.J. Spillman
CB (5): Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox, Tramaine Brock

SPECIAL TEAMS
K (1): David Akers
P (1): Andy Lee
LOS (1): Brian Jennings


PRACTICE SQUAD

WR Chris Owusu
S Michael Thomas
OLB Cam Johnson
DL Matt Masfilio
TE Garret Celek
OLB Kenny Rowe
LB Michael Wilhoite
OL Derek Hall

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