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2009 Roster Projections: Safeties

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The safety position has seen a fair amount of turmoil this offseason ranging from the waiving of Jimmy Williams to the injury issues already arising, most notably Reggie Smith. Smith was drafted as a cornerback but has officially made the switch to the safety, even with the injury to Walt Harris. The 49ers secondary has numerous depth issues, but there is a good chance they could be resolved by Week 1. Of course, things could get especially ugly too, so can't get too high or too low I suppose. Up to this point we've discussed wide receivers, cornerbacks, offensive line, running backs, defensive line, and quarterbacks.

Locks
Dashon Goldson, Michael Lewis, Reggie Smith

Bubble
Mark Roman, Curtis Taylor, Lewis Baker

I've bounced back and forth on Mark Roman. I started with him on the bubble, moved him to locks and just moved him back to the bubble. I took a look at some late 2008 depth charts and it could make for a very interesting decision in a couple months. Although players bounce back and forth, the general rule of thumb was 6 corners and 4 safeties on the roster. After injuries, the six corners were usually Clements, Harris, Hudson, Strickland, T. Brown and R. Smith. The four safeties were usually Roman, M. Lewis, K. Lewis and Goldson when healthy.

Right now, if you look at the cornerback picture (replacing Harris with Bly), Smith might end up getting utilized all over the place given his "relative" versatility. If that were the case, it would make sense to keep a fifth safety. Looking at the CBs for a brief moment, barring a signing in the coming months (always a possibility), it seems like this might be the most realistic option for the 49ers. Then they keep Roman and Taylor and that's that.

However, if the team decides to have Reggie Smith only play safety, and assuming everyone stays healthy (a big if), then it seems like Mark Roman and Curtis Taylor will end up battling for a single 53-man roster spot, doesn't it? Taylor can go on the practice squad, so there is an option available to keep both within the organization. However, in regards to the 53-man, is there much wiggle room there?

In regards to the poll, I'm not asking who will end up with more first team playing time. Just who will be on the field with the defense more, not including special teams play.