The San Francisco 49ers are 14 days from their first training camp practice which means we'll start to get a better handle on who will rise and who will fall in the competition for roster spots. To prepare for training camp, we're going to go through a bubble watch of the entire roster. The plan will be to go position-by-position, and then compile it into our first bubble watch of training camp.
We wrap up our run through the positional depth charts, with a look at the specialists. Thus far, we've broken down the quarterbacks, the running backs, the fullbacks, the wide receivers, the offensive line, the defensive line, the outside linebackers, the inside linebackers, the tight ends, the cornerbacks, and the safeties. Today we close it out with the non-drama that are the specialists. The entire veteran unit will likely report on July 23.
So, this is just an open thread, right?
The 49ers specialists are locked in stone, and there's no "pretty much" about it. The bigger question would be about some of the offensive and defensive players that could end up playing primarily in special teams roles. Here is a rundown of some of the notable special teams players and their 2013 snap count on special teams. I removed 2013 offensive and defensive starters for the most part so we could see players that were either exclusively special teams players, or spent either a good chunk of their snaps on special teams.
|Player||O/D Snaps||ST Snaps|
Guys like Tony Jerod-Eddie, Adam Snyder, and even Garrett Celek were included, but in reality they are competing for significant roles on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Derek Carrier will likely fit into that group as well. Michael Wilhoite played extensive special teams snaps last year, but until NaVorro Bowman gets back, he likely will be focused on his inside linebacker work.
The rest of that group features several players that will be likely to contribute almost exclusively primarily special teams players. Raymond Ventrone and Kassim Osgood are the most obvious, with Blake Costanzo joining them this year. Nick Moody will compete for linebacker player time, but if Michael Wilhoite and Chris Borland step up in camp, Moody could be looking at primarily a special teams year this season.
I keep telling myself some of these players serving primarily as specialists will not last through the final roster cuts, and yet they continue to stick around. The 49ers will keep some, but not all, it's now a matter of figuring out how many actually make the cut this time around. One of the more interesting aspects of this is what Wilhoite's potential promotion to starting ILB opposite Patrick Willis means for special teams snaps. My guess is that if Chris Borland does not claim that starting job, he ends up spending a decent amount of time on special teams.