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49ers vs. Ravens: Bubble watch heading into the preseason opener

We take a look at the 49ers bubble watch heading into Thursday's preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens. Who is a lock, strong bubble, weak bubble or longshot?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 of the preseason is here, which means some members of the San Francisco 49ers will improve their roster chances, others will hurt their roster chances, and some will not see much change at all. The team has been practicing for two weeks now, so the coaching staff has started to figure some things out. However, getting the team on the field in live game action will be a key part of figuring out who will make up the 53-man roster in September.

Our last full bubble watch was a week ago following Trent Baalke's comments that there were 4 or 5 roster spots up for grabs. Those comments came after Kendall Hunter's injury, but before LaMichael James and Glenn Dorsey got hurt. LMJ's absence this month probably will not hurt his roster spot, but the Dorsey injury creates a very big opening.

I've moved the injured players down to the end, since we'll be focusing in on who will impact their roster spot Thursday evening.

I made some changes here and there, but nothing too crazy. One guy that I know some will disagree on is wide receiver Brandon Lloyd. He cannot boost his case Thursday, although I suppose poor performances by some of the young wide receivers could help him. I was not sold on him before he got hurt, and now that he is potentially out another week, I'm not sure he makes it through the final roster cuts. He very well could sign after Week 1 given his veteran status, but for now, I'm still not seeing it. Maybe I'm missing something, but I just think the numbers game is not in his favor.

Jonathan Martin is a guy who is a poor performance against the Ravens from being dropped to weak bubble. He has reportedly not impressed in training camp. Maybe he turns it on in preseason action, or maybe he's destined for a fairly short NFL career. Given how the last two weeks have reportedly gone, the next three weeks are going to be arguably the most important of his career to date.

One of the interesting position battles is at quarterback. Gabbert would seem to be the sure No. 2 behind Kap, but then you've got Josh Johnson and McLeod Bethel-Thompson competing for some kind of opportunity. McBLT has practice squad eligibility remaining, while Johnson is trying to salvage something of his career. My guess is Gabbert gets the No. 2 job, Johnson is released by the end of camp, and the 49ers try and slide McBLT onto the practice squad.

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, Tank Carradine, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Quinton Dial
OLB: Ahmad Brooks, Aldon Smith, Corey Lemonier, Dan Skuta
ILB: Patrick Willis, Michael Wilhoite, Chris Borland
CB: Tramaine BrockChris Culliver, Jimmie Ward, Darryl Morris, Perrish Cox
S: Eric ReidAntoine Bethea, C.J. Spillman, Craig Dahl

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

Strong Bubble (8)

TE: Derek Carrier
OT: Jonathan Martin
OG: Adam Snyder

DT: Demarcus Dobbs
OLB: Aaron Lynch
ILB: Nick Moody
CB: Chris Cook, Dontae Johnson

Weak Bubble (14)

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

DT: Lawrence Okoye, Mike Purcell
ILB: Blake Costanzo, Shayne Skov
CB: Kenneth Acker
S: Bubba Ventrone

Longshots (16)

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

OLB: Chase Thomas
S: D.J. CampbellLJ McCray

P: Colton Schmidt
LS: Kyle Nelson

Physically Unable To Perform (4)

TE: Garrett Celek
DT: Ian Williams, Kaleb Ramsey
LB: NaVorro Bowman

Non-Football Injury (4)

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

CB: Keith Reaser

IR (1)

RB: Kendall Hunter

IR or Short Term IR decision (1)

DT: Glenn Dorsey

Reserve/Did Not Report (1)

OG: Alex Boone