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Aldon Smith activation and the 49ers depth chart

The 49ers activated Aldon Smith on Thursday. What does it mean for the team's depth chart heading through the bye week? New to Niners Nation? Sign up here and join the discussion!

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The San Francisco 49ers activated outside linebacker Aldon Smith on Thursday, setting the scene for him to potentially return to the field in Week 10 agains the Carolina Panthers. The question will be what kind of role can we expect from Aldon. After his DUI, there was some talk that he would face a limited role against the Indianapolis Colts. Instead, he played every single snap on defense. Mike Silver had this report on Aldon's return:

The 49ers have been rotating Dan Skuta and Corey Lemonier at outside linebacker opposite Ahmad Brooks. Would a "spot player" type of role mean Skuta starts, and then Lemonier and Aldon rotate? The 49ers' OLB depth has fluctuated quite a bit, and they're returning to a point of strong depth. That's great, but if you're trying to work Aldon back in slowly, I'm not quite sure how that will play exactly.

The other question is if we actually see Aldon active a week from Sunday. I would like to think he was able to stay in some sort of shape in rehab, but we don't really know. And even if he was, five weeks without practice or games is not exactly simple to bounce back from after the bye. Maybe he'll be fine, but maybe the 49ers deactivate him next week. We'll see.

Below is the most recent depth chart, released by the 49ers PR department Wednesday. It reportedly has some input from the coaches, but I'm fairly certain Jim Harbaugh does not provide much. LaMichael James is still listed as the starting kick and punt returner. This is not a change. James has been listed as the starting returner for some time now, even while inactive.


QB: Colin Kaepernick, Colt McCoy, McLeod Bethel-Thompson
LT: Joe Staley
LG: Mike Iupati, Joe Looney
C: Jonathan Goodwin, Daniel Kilgore
RG: Alex Boone, Adam Snyder
RT: Anthony Davis
RB: Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Anthony Dixon, LaMichael James
FB: Bruce Miller, Anthony Dixon
TE: Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek
WR: Anquan Boldin, Jon Baldwin
WR: Kyle Williams, Quinton Patton, Kassim Osgood


RDT: Justin Smith, Demarcus Dobbs
NT: Glenn Dorsey, Quinton Dial
LDT: Ray McDonald, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Tank Carradine
ILB: Patrick Willis, Michael Wilhoite
ILB: NaVorro Bowman, Nate Stupar
OLB: Dan Skuta, Corey Lemonier
OLB: Ahmad Brooks
LCB: Carlos Rogers, Tramaine Brock, Darryl Morris
RCB: Tarell Brown, Nnamdi Asomugha, Perrish Cox
SS: Donte Whitner, Craig Dahl, Raymond Ventrone
FS: Eric Reid, C.J. Spillman

Special teams:

Kicker: Phil Dawson
Punter: Andy Lee
LS: Kevin McDermott
PR: LaMichael James, Kyle Williams, Perrish Cox
KR: LaMichael James, Kyle Williams, Perrish Cox