The San Francisco 49ers are 20 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 continue our run through the positional depth charts, with a look at the offensive line. Thus far this week, we've been able to take a look at the quarterbacks, the running backs, the fullbacks, and the wide receivers. Today, we move on to the offensive line. The veterans will report on July 23, and the rookies will report on July 16. Injured veterans can report on July 18, and given Stevie Johnson's hamstring issue for some of this offseason, maybe he shows up then.
Locks: Joe Staley, Mike Mike Iupati, Daniel Kilgore, Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Marcus Martin
Strong Bubble: Joe Looney, Jonathan Martin, Adam Snyder
Weak Bubble: Carter Bykowski, Ryan Seymour
Longshot: Dillon Farrell, Fou Fonoti, Al Netter
Others: Brandon Thomas (NFI)
The offensive line bubble watch would be impacted greatly by an Alex Boone hold out into the regular season. Whether he does or doesn't, there will be some intense competition for reserve roles. If Boone is still not back for Week 1, that opens the door for one more roster spot in the short term. Boone would be placed on the Reserve/Did Not Report list, which would remove him from the 53-man roster until he returned to the team.
Aside from Boone's situation, there are a lot of moving parts in the competition for offensive line reserve work. Joe Looney got first team right guard work in minicamp, and has a serious chance to earn that primary backup role. And if Boone sits out, Looney will get a crack at right guard. Adam Snyder is his primary competition, but Jonathan Martin will get some guard work, and Ryan Seymour will be in the mix as well.
I think Adam Snyder could be considered on the wrong side of the bubble, but given that there are so many question marks among his competitors, I will keep him in the strong bubble category. If Looney (or any of the others) is strong out of the gate in training camp, I'd probably move Snyder to weak bubble. It depends a lot on how things go in the first couple weeks of camp and preseason play.
Seymour is an interesting one because of his versatility. Seymour is listed as a guard, but he has gotten some tackle work as well. The 49ers signed Seymour off the Seattle Seahawks practice squad on December 10, and with only three weeks left in the regular season, he was going to stick on the 53-man roster. The question now is if he can do enough to earn a roster spot in 2014. My guess is the 49ers try and slide him to their own practice squad. There are too many bodies in the current group, although if Boone holds out, that could open up an opportunity. My guess is Snyder would be the most likely to benefit from Boone's absence, but Seymour could climb past him.