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49ers vs. Chargers, preseason 2014: Bubble watch heading into Week 3

We take a look at the 49ers bubble watch heading into their Week 3 preseason matchup with the San Diego Chargers. Who is a lock, strong bubble, weak bubble or longshot?

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

We're back for the Week 3 edition of the San Francisco 49ers bubble watch. The 49ers will roll out their starters for as much playing time as we will see this preseason. I'm not holding my breath for that to be much, but maybe we'll see them midway into the second quarter.

I made a handful of changes to the bubble watch. I moved Aaron Lynch up from strong bubble to lock. He is on the field and healthy, and an absolute force at outside linebacker. He has a long way to go to develop into a steady contributor, but the talent is undeniable. And with Aldon Smith looking at a potential suspension, it makes sense to keep an extra OLB around.

I dropped Tony Jerod-Eddie down to strong bubble. I have him and Demarcus Dobbs together down there in part because as some have pointed out, they could very well be competing for one roster spot. I could see the 49ers keeping both, but I'm not certain of that. And with Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial not going anywhere, I'm more comfortable leaving them as strong bubble guys.

The final moves I made were to bump Kenneth Acker up to strong bubble, and Alfonso Smith up to weak bubble. I did not include Acker in my 53-man roster projection, but it is safe to say he was among the last couple guys not included. The 49ers face some tough decisions. Acker could end up being a repeat of last year's Marcus Cooper situation. Cooper struggled late in the season with the Kansas City Chiefs, but he showed a lot.

I bumped up Smith in part because I think there is a spot potentially for a running back with special teams skills. I included him on my 53-man roster projection as basically the last guy on the roster. If he did make the roster, I doubt it would be for the entire season, but I could very well see him snagging a brief roster spot.

And for those wondering, yes, I continue to keep Blaine Gabbert as a lock. I get that people don't like what he does as a QB, but I just do not see the 49ers releasing him. He was not as bad in Week 2 as he was in Week 1, and while that is not the most inspiring votes of confidence, I don't see him going anywhere. I'm sticking with it.

Locks (43)

QB: Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert
RB: Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde, LaMichael James
FB: Bruce Miller
WR: Michael CrabtreeAnquan Boldin, Stevie Johnson, Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington
TE: Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald
OT: Joe Staley, Anthony Davis
OG: Mike Iupati, Joe Looney
C: Daniel Kilgore, Marcus Martin

DT: Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Ian Williams Tank CarradineQuinton Dial
OLB: Ahmad Brooks, Aldon Smith, Corey Lemonier, Dan Skuta, Aaron Lynch
ILB: Patrick Willis, Michael Wilhoite, Chris Borland
CB: Tramaine BrockChris Culliver, Jimmie Ward, Darryl Morris, Dontae Johnson
S: Eric ReidAntoine Bethea, C.J. Spillman

K: Phil Dawson
P: Andy Lee
LOS: Kevin McDermott

Strong Bubble (12)

WR: Brandon Lloyd
TE: Derek Carrier
OT: Jonathan Martin
OG: Adam Snyder

DT: Demarcus Dobbs, Tony Jerod-Eddie
ILB: Nick Moody
CB: Chris Cook, Perrish Cox, Kenneth Acker
Craig Dahl, Bubba Ventrone

Weak Bubble (10)

QB: Josh Johnson, McLeod Bethel-Thompson
RB: Jewel Hampton, Alfonso Smith
FB: Will Tukuafu
WR: Kassim Osgood
OT: Carter Bykowski
OG: Ryan Seymour

DT: Mike Purcell
ILB: Shayne Skov

Longshots (17)

RB: Glenn Winston
WR: Devon Wylie, David Reed, L'Damian Washington, Lance Lewis
TE: Asante Cleveland, Kevin Greene
OG: Al Netter, Michael Philipp
C: Dillon Farrell

DT: Lawrence Okoye
ILB: Kion Wilson
OLB: Chase Thomas
S: D.J. CampbellLJ McCray

P: Colton Schmidt
LS: Kyle Nelson

Physically Unable To Perform (3)

TE: Garrett Celek
DT: Kaleb Ramsey
LB: NaVorro Bowman

Non-Football Injury (4)

RB: Marcus Lattimore
FB: Trey Millard
OG: Brandon Thomas

CB: Keith Reaser

IR/Short Term IR decision (1)

DT: Glenn Dorsey

IR (2)

RB: Kendall Hunter
LB: Blake Costanzo

Reserve/Did Not Report (1)

OG: Alex Boone