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Taking A Look At Practice Squad Candidates

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The 49ers are now halfway through their preseason schedule and as the 53-man roster begins to take shape, so does the practice squad. In this post, I will be looking at some potential practice squad players.

Quick note on practice squad eligibility before I get started:
In addition to the 53-man roster, teams can have eight players on their practice squad. Once players have spent three total years on a practice squad, they are no longer eligible. Once a player plays in nine regular season games or spends an entire season on the active roster, he is no longer eligible for the practice squad. Finally, a player cannot be on the same team’s practice squad for more than two seasons.

Mike Person
Honestly I haven’t heard much about him so far in training camp. Daniel Kilgore is ahead of him at his point and is pushing Tony Wragge for a backup interior lineman spot. Person would make a good practice squad candidate as I can’t see any teams giving him a spot on their 53-man roster to sign him away from the 49ers. Against the Raiders he was part of the second team offense at right tackle. With Alex Boone making the jump to swing tackle, perhaps the 49ers want Person to be their next tackle project on the practice squad.

Chase Beeler
Beeler played under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford and was a 1st-team All-American and was one of the first undrafted rookies the 49ers picked up. He is a undersized at this point in his career, but you don’t make the 1st-team All-American team for nothing. I consider Beeler a prime candidate to stash away on the practice squad where he can work on his body and strength.

Kevin Jurovich
He had a strong offseason before the lockout ended. A regular at "Camp Alex," Jurovich had a head start on learning the offense and developed chemistry with presumed starting quarterback Alex Smith. Unfortunately for him, his hard work over the offseason hasn't translated to training camp so far. I see the 49ers keeping a wide receiver on their practice squad this season, and Jurovich remains in the mix. The fourth preseason game will be huge for him.

Ronald Johnson
Johnson hasn’t been able to show much so far in the preseason games. He is a guy another team could be interested in bringing in, but if he continues to not be much of a factor offensively he could go unnoticed. One thing in his favor is the support of his position coach, Johnnie Morton, who coached Johnson at USC. Coming out of college he was known to run great routes and display solid hands, so there should be a place for him in the NFL, but maybe not this season. It really depends if the 49ers want to keep five or six wideouts on the 53-man roster.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson
Bethel-Thompson does not have much of a college resume. Last year at Sacramento State he was hurt for almost of all of the season. He transferred from UCLA, where he only attempted 55 passes and threw for 293 yards. That being said, he has NFL size, a good arm and a compact throwing motion. Perhaps Jim Harbaugh thinks he is worth developing.

Sealver Siliga
After Ian Williams, Siliga was considered one of the top undrafted defensive tackles. Against the Raiders, he split time with Ian Williams in the second half. Both guys are battling for the same roster spot. I’d bet on Ian Williams making the team over Siliga, especially since Siliga would be much easier to keep on the practice squad. There were a lot of teams calling Ian Williams when undrafted rookie free agency started up.

Demarcus Dobbs
Dobbs has been arguably the most impressive undrafted rookie in camp so far. He’s strung two good games together and is pushing Will Tukuafu for a spot on the defensive line. Tukuafu is one of defensive line coach Jim Tomsula’s favorites, however, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Tukuafu beats out Dobbs for a spot on the team. He has two more games to keep it up and convince Tomsula otherwise. Both players are practice squad eligible.

Colin Jones
The 49ers drafted him to be their special teams ace. He has great speed and has shown that in kick-off and punt coverage, but has struggled to make tackles once he gets down there. He probably has to beat out safety C.J. Spillman to ensure an active roster spot. When defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said the team has five NFL safeties on their roster on Monday, he included Spillman on his list. The 49ers may keep Spillman over Jones, who at this point is a much better safety than Jones.

Cory Nelms
He didn’t play against the Raiders, but he has outplayed fellow undrafted CB Phillip Davis so far in camp. With 7th-rounder Curtis Holcomb out for the year, the 49ers may want to keep a developmental defensive back on their practice squad, especially since that is their weakest position on the team. Note: Phillip Adams is not practice squad eligible.

Chris Maragos
Maragos has shown some promise on special teams, but the 49ers deepest position happens to be safety. He is talented, but I just can’t see a place for him on the active roster, and there are other options for guys who are purely special teams players. I don’t see other teams claiming him to their active roster, so the practice squad would be a good place to put Maragos for another season.