The San Francisco 49ers released their first game release of the season, which means we get our first official team depth chart. The depth chart does not exactly give us all the answers we want, but it does provide quite a few hints.
A couple items of note before you peruse the depth chart below. First, it does not include players officially placed on the PUP list or NFI list. Second, it does still include Chris Culliver, who is likely going to end up on injured reserve at some point in the near future.
QB: Colin Kaepernick, Colt McCoy, Scott Tolzien, B.J. Daniels
LT: Joe Staley, Carter Bykowski
LG: Mike Iupati, Joe Looney, Al Netter
C: Jonathan Goodwin, Daniel Kilgore
RG: Alex Boone, Adam Snyder
RT: Anthony Davis, Kenny Wiggins, Patrick Omameh
RB: Frank Gore, LaMichael James, Anthony Dixon, Jewel Hampton, D.J. Harper
FB: Bruce Miller, Anthony Dixon, Jason Schepler
TE: Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek, MarQueis Gray
WR: Anquan Boldin, A.J. Jenkins, Ricardo Lockette, Austin Collie, Charly Martin, Lavelle Hawkins
WR: Kyle Williams, Chad Hall, Kassim Osgood, Chuck Jacobs, Marlon Moore, Quinton Patton
RDT: Justin Smith, Will Tukuafu, Tony Jerod-Eddie
NT: Ian Williams, Glenn Dorsey, Lamar Divens, Mike Purcell
LDT: Ray McDonald, Demarcus Dobbs, Lawrence Okoye
ILB: Patrick Willis, Michael Wilhoite, Nick Moody
ILB: NaVorro Bowman, Nate Stupar, Travis Johnson
OLB: Aldon Smith, Parys Haralson, Corey Lemonier
OLB: Ahmad Brooks, Cam Johnson, Dan Skuta
LCB: Carlos Rogers, Chris Culliver, Tramaine Brock, Marcus Cooper, Lowell Rose
RCB: Tarell Brown, Nnamdi Asomugha, Perrish Cox, Darryl Morris
SS: Donte Whitner, Craig Dahl, Darcel McBath, Raymond Ventrone
FS: C.J. Spillman, Eric Reid, Trenton Robinson, Michael Thomas
The depth chart provides us with some insight into who might have an early lead in a position battle. For example, LaMichael James got a chance at punt returns last preseason, but struggles ended up removing him from the equation. He is back listed as the No. 1 punt returner AND kick returner. I imagine he has the inside track for both spots.
Kyle Williams is currently listed as the starting wide receiver opposite Anquan Boldin. Williams has not practiced in a week. Unless we see him on the practice field soon, he will likely sit out the preseason opener. Matt Barrows tweeted that Marlon Moore would get the start opposite Boldin if Williams was unable to go.
At free safety, the 49ers list C.J. Spillman as the starter, followed by Eric Reid, Trent Robinson and Michael Thomas. Vic Fangio has said recently that Craig Dahl was part of that competition, but he is listed at strong safety. It does not mean he is no longer part of the competition, but it creates some more questions.
There aren't any significant surprises. Kendall Hunter is not listed because he is on the PUP list. When he comes off the list, the subsequent depth chart will give us some more information about how he and Lamichael James shake out.