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49ers Practice Squad Candidates: Rookies vs. Veterans

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Earlier today, Matt Barrows put together a list of the practice squad eligible veterans in a discussion about three non-eligible players (Scott McKillop, Dominique Zeigler, Phillip Adams). DerekRE_3 opened up some discussion on the practice squad earlier this week and there are some interesting names that each of us has attached to.

When comparing rookie and veteran practice squad candidates, the big question is which will get claimed off waivers before they can even make the practice squad. In order to place a player on the practice squad, the team must first waive the player. If the player is not claimed by another team, they become a free agent and can sign with any practice squad. A player usually re-signs with their own team's practice squad because they have already started learning the playbook and have a working relationship with the coaching staff.

However, a player can also be claimed in the waivers process, in which case the new team has to place them on their 53-man roster for I believe the first three weeks of the season. Given the requirement of being on the 53-man roster, a team has to decide how much interest there will be in a waived player. It becomes a matter of strategy in who you waive and who you gamble on with a spot on the 53-man roster.

Among the veterans with practice squad eligibility, I believe they've all spent some amount of time on a practice squad at some point in their brief NFL careers. This is notable because a player on a practice squad can sign with another team at any point. They are under contract to their current NFL team, but it is not the same binding contract of a member of the 53-man roster.

That means, if there was going to be serious interest in this player we probably would have heard something. Some of the veterans have had solid camps (Tramaine Brock, for example) so they might have boosted their stock. However, many of them are likely to clear waivers after next week's final preseason game.

As you look at a possible practice squad, would you be more inclined to roll the dice that rookies will clear waivers, or do you stick with more veteran players? It's a tough decision to make with some of the rookies on the roster.