Which 49ers rookies have best shot at 53-man roster?

Jonathan Daniel

Taking a look at which rookies have the best chance to stick and make the week one 53-man roster.

We've heard it for two years now, so I won't repeat the entire spiel ... but we do know that the 49ers are a talented team and have few "holes". In fact, some were surprised that 11 draft picks were taken back in April. This leaves us to ponder which of these new 49ers have a shot at actually remaining with the team beyond training camp.

We can immediately say that the early picks will be with the team in 2013 (and likely beyond), including Eric Reid, Tank Carradine and Vance McDonald. These guys were big investments, and it would take something downright shocking in order for them to get cut in their first year.

I tend to think that Quinton Patton will be on the squad in 2013, too. While I wouldn't call the WR position a weakness, it certainly has it's share of uncertainty. Mario Manningham looks poised to start the year on the PUP list, meaning he'll be inactive through week six. Kyle Williams seems to be recovering nicely from his ACL injury, but he's been a bubble player, or close to it, for the past few years. We have no idea what to expect from A.J. Jenkins, thus far an underwhelming player through one year of service.

Patton brings some heart and soul, just enough speed and quickness, and plenty of experience producing in even the biggest of games. He was thought of to have first-round ability by some, and was a steal in the fourth round for the 49ers. Watching him catch fade routes over and over again on the highlight reels, something the 49ers failed to do in the Super Bowl and have generally not done much of in the past several seasons, makes me pull hard that the kid has a good supporting role in 2013.

Marcus Lattimore will be on the team, most likely inactive on the NFI/PUP list for a lot of, if not all of the 2013 season ... that much we are almost certain. So on we go to the rest of the guys.

Corey Lemonier is a guy that I think will definitely make the team, too. He has enough raw pass-rush ability on tape that I think Jim Tomsula (who works with OLBs a lot, too, since they spend much of their time as a DE in nickel) and Jim Leavitt will mold him into a solid player in rotation along the defensive line. I'd say he's a 70 percent lock to make the roster, personally.

I have to think that Nick Moody will push hard for the Larry Grant/Tavares Gooden role as special teams ace and backup ILB. There were two ILB backups last year, and even with the addition of Dan Skuta (a renowned special teams player in his own right), I have to like Moody's chances. The kid has speed, being a former defensive back, and plays fearlessly. He relishes special teams and would make an excellent gunner on coverage units ... from what I've seen. I put his chances in the 50/50 realm.

Quinton Dial will have his work cut out for him. He'll have to supplant at least one of the existing defensive linemen, most likely Will Tukuafu, Ian Williams and/or Demarcus Dobbs. Tukuafu and Dobbs also play some snaps on offense, which Jim Harbaugh loves. Still, both are in their third year and haven't cracked the lineup or even seen much time on defense in general. While they have experience, it may be more about the potential in Dial, if he is to win the job. I still think he has long odds, putting his chances around 25 percent.

Carter Bykowski will also have to beat out some more experienced players to win a backup tackle spot. Adam Snyder is back and is a guy who can play all along the offensive line, including tackle. Al Netter and Kenny Wiggins return after time in the system, as well. Then you add in the talented Luke Marquardt, who probably doesn't hurt Bykowski's chances much if he ends up on the PUP ... but it's worth mentioning.

I think Bykowski has to show that he has the ability to play left tackle at this level in order to win a spot on this crowded roster. The offensive line is one of the best in the NFL, and the 49ers aren't going to hand the backup spots to just anyone. I'd say his chances are around 10 percent.

B.J. Daniels has a pretty good shot of making the roster in my opinion, despite being a seventh round pick. Jim Harbaugh would love the idea of dressing a third QB if the player can also handle other roles such as special teams, running back and receiver. Daniels is a very athletic guy, too, and could fit in well running some read-option. He did a fair amount of it in college, and we have to wonder if Scott Tolzien can hang onto a spot with his limited athleticism. I put Daniels at 40 percent shot.

To put it plainly, I don't think Marcus Cooper makes the roster. I think CB is a crowded position, and even though we don't know what Nnamdi Asomugha has left, I can't see him failing to beat out a seventh round rookie unless he's just physically done. Anything can happen, but I'd put Cooper's chances at around 3 percent.

Of the undrafted free agents, I think the only ones with a good shot of making the squad in one way, shape, or form are Luke Marquardt, MarQueis Gray and Lawrence Okoye. While Marquardt would probably have to make the team by way of the PUP, saving him for next year's camp competitions, Gray could be a guy who gets looks all over the field. He's big, has played QB and WR, and many think he could do some TE stuff as well. His 6'4" height certainly doesn't hurt the idea any.

Okoye just has to show some potential, in my opinion. He has such a rare body for the NFL, being chiseled at 300+ pounds; and he's obviously athletic, proven by his track-and-field honors. I don't know if he'd last on the practice squad, especially if he really surprises with an excellent offseason. He may be the guy who pushes Demarcus Dobbs or Will Tukuafu off the roster, in fact.

I'd say Marquardt has a 30 percent chance of making the squad as a PUP player, Gray sits at about 10 percent, and Okoye I'd put at around 15 percent.

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