The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up rookie minicamp yesterday, and will begin their first set of OTAs on Tuesday. That means the eventual training camp depth chart will start to get a little more clarity. I should say, clarity for the team. Given that OTAs involve no tackling, it's as much about the players learning the playbook, and any adjustments to it for the veterans. This is the kind of stuff we can't really know about, and so we're left to sort of half guess at what exactly is going on.
And so, we're here to wrap up our 12-part series looking at each positional unit. Thus far, we've completed our look at the offensive backfield, with quarterbacks and running backs and fullbacks, followed up by tight ends, wide receivers and the offensive line. We moved over to the defensive line on Friday, outside linebackers and inside linebackers on Saturday, cornerbacks yesterday, and safeties this morning. Time to close it out with a look at special teams.
We're mixing things up a little bit for special teams because after kicker, punter and long-snapper, it's not really a simple breakdown.
Kicker: Phil Dawson, Colton Schmidt
Punter: Andy Lee, Colton Schmidt
Long snapper: Kevin McDermott
Specialists: C.J. Spillman, Raymond Ventrone, Kassim Osgood, Nick Moody, Darryl Morris, Demarcus Dobbs
What it all means
We're just going to go right into it with the special teams units. This is more about how the special teams units will shake out with the current roster of players. You can check out all the offseason transactions and a complete roster HERE.
The 49ers like versatility in their players, but they still use some players that are almost exclusively special teams players. Raymond Ventrone and Kassim Osgood were two specific examples of that last year. Both can technically play other positions, but neither is expected to contribute it at safety or wide receiver, respectively. On the other hand, even though Darryl Morris focused on special teams last year, the team is likely hoping to see some kind of cornerback upside.
As the 49ers roster gets deeper and deeper, it becomes harder and harder to justify keeping players that are strictly specialists. My way-too-early 53-man roster projection included Ventrone, but did not include Osgood because of the option to sign him back after Week 1 without a fully guaranteed salary. So basically, I think he comes back after Week 1. But I also think both are going to find themselves in a dogfight for a roster spot.
Do you see any of the special teams types getting the boot, or will we see much of the cast returning?