49ers vs. Vikings: Defense arrow up, arrow down as NFL roster cuts go down

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers finished up their third preseason game, and NFL roster cuts are upon us. It's time to re-assess who improved their stock, and who saw their stock fall. We move on to the defense.

The 49ers are continuing their first round of roster cuts today, and after yesterday's offense arrow up/arrow down article, I wanted to make sure we got in the defensive side of the ball before things get crazy.

One more time for those who aren't aware: Jim Harbaugh likes to use the phrase "arrow up" to describe performing well in camp. He does not use arrow down, but we'll use the two phrases each week to assess who is building positive and negative momentum with their preseason performance. And thanks to Mickey Pain, we've got some fun arrow graphics to use with it!

Nose Tackle

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None

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Lamar Divens
Mike Purcell

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Ian Williams
Glenn Dorsey

The 49ers defense has generally done a fine job when the starters depart, but the nose tackle role has not exactly impressed. I imagine one of Mike Purcell or Lamar Divens sticks around after today's cuts so they have some depth for Thursday's game, but neither has a shot at the 53-man roster.

Defensive End

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Tony Jerod-Eddie
Justin Smith

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Lawrence Okoye
Will Tukuafu

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Demarcus Dobbs
Ray McDonald

Tony Jerod-Eddie continues to impress. He is in a dog-fight with Will Tukuafu and Demarcus Dobbs for what could be no more than a couple roster spots, and he is impressing. Tukuafu on the other hand is coming off a performance that could at best be described as uneven. It helps that he can play some fullback, but that might not be enough to save his spot.

Lawrence Okoye gets included in arrow down because of his injury, but that could prove fortuitous in the long-run. I would expect him to clear waivers if released, but this potentially makes it a little easier.

Inside Linebackers

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Michael Wilhoite

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Nate Stupar

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Patrick Willis
NaVorro Bowman
Travis Johnson
Nick Moody

Michael Wilhoite continued his strong play, as he would seem to have all but locked up the primary backup linebacker role. Moody was rather quiet on Sunday, but Wilhoite continues to look strong in place of Patrick Willis. The team expects Willis back by Week 1, although Willis would not go quite that far in discussing his return. If he does have to miss any time, Wilhoite looks like a solid backup.

Outside Linebackers

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Ahmad Brooks
Corey Lemonier
Dan Skuta

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Parys Haralson (Uhhhhh)

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Aldon Smith
Cam Johnson

Ahmad Brooks is going to be starting, but his performance against the Vikings was really impressive. He was playing like a man possessed in the pass rush, against the run and in coverage. It was one of the best short stretches of play we've ever seen from him.

The Parys Haralson trade mixes things up behind Brooks and Smith. Dan Skuta did nothing too high profile on Sunday, but this would seem like a bit of a vote of confidence for him, along with Corey Lemonier. I was going to include Cam Johnson here as well, btu his shoulder injury leaves me unsure of what the next step is with him. If the team expects him back quickly, I'd include him as an arrow up. For now though, we wait.

Cornerbacks

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Nnamdi Asomugha

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Perrish Cox

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Carlos Rogers
Tarell Brown
Darryl Morris
Marcus Cooper
Tramaine Brock

Perrish Cox is still making the roster, but he struggled on Sunday. He was coming off back-to-back strong performances, but he was beaten a couple times against the Vikings. Nnamdi gets an arrow up as he seems to have just about secured the No. 3 cornerback job. The inferences were that he was leading the way, and getting the third corner snaps on Sunday would seem to back that up.

Safety

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Eric Reid

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None

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Donte Whitner
Craig Dahl
Trenton Robinson
Michael Thomas
Raymond Ventrone
C.J. Spillman

Eric Reid got his first start on Sunday, and he did nothing to indicate he shouldn't continue in the role. At this point, he has to be the guy. The rest of the safety corps had some good and bad, but nothing so drastic as to warrant an arrow down in my opinion.

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