The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their offseason workout program last week with mandatory minicamp. All players were in attendance except Arik Armstead, who was absent because of NFL rules. He joined the team Friday, and while he was not able to work in minicamp, he will get two weeks with his fellow rookies. I imagine it will be a crash course of sorts with the coaching staff.
Back in May after the 2015 NFL Draft was a wrap, I put together a 53-man projection. We knew next to nothing about the undrafted free agents, and we still had little idea what some of the later round picks would be doing. We now have a month and a half of work to build upon. It was in shorts, so we can only take so much from it, but it certainly will influence all of our 53-man roster projections.
Here is my current 53-man roster projection. Over the next month, I'm going to do a bubble watch post for each position, and as I re-assess, that will likely impact my view of some of these options. There is plenty of talent on this roster, which will make for some tough decisions as we move through August toward final roster cuts. Down at the bottom you can view the 90-man roster as it currently stands.
QB (2): Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert
RB (4): Carlos Hyde, Reggie Bush, Kendall Hunter, Mike Davis
FB (1): Bruce Miller
WR (5): Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Bruce Ellington, Quinton Patton, DeAndrew White
TE (4): Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Blake Bell, Derek Carrier
OT (3): Joe Staley, Erik Pears, Trenton Brown
OG (3): Alex Boone, Brandon Thomas, Joe Looney
C (2): Daniel Kilgore, Marcus Martin
DT (7): Darnell Dockett, Glenn Dorsey, Ian Williams, Quinton Dial, Tank Carradine, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Arik Armstead
OLB (4): Aldon Smith, Aaron Lynch, Ahmad Brooks, Eli Harold
ILB (4): NaVorro Bowman, Michael Wilhoite, Phillip Wheeler, Nick Moody
CB (6): Tramaine Brock, Shareece Wright, Dontae Johnson, Chris Cook, Kenneth Acker, Keith Reaser
FS (3): Eric Reid, Craig Dahl, Jimmie Ward
SS (2): Antoine Bethea, Jaquiski Tartt
P (1): Bradley Pinion
K (1): Phil Dawson
LS (1): Kyle Nelson
NFI: WR DeAndre Smelter (ACL)
There are a lot of tough calls. Jerome Simpson seems like a strong candidate to make the roster, but DeAndrew White has made a big impression. It is entirely possible White will not do enough in training camp, and ends up as a practice squad candidate. That is one of the more obvious ones.
As I was not in camp, my impressions are entirely second-hand. Cam Inman put together his own 53-man roster projection following his three days at camp, plus the open OTA sessions. Some differences between ours include Simpson, with Cam going Simpson and Dres Anderson over Quinton Patton and DeAndrew White. Anderson has gotten solid press as well, so he very well could end up snagging a spot.
Cam went with L.J. McCray over Craig Dahl. If the 49ers can find a replacement for Dahl, it would make a lot of sense. But Dahl has stuck it out over the years, and I could see him continuing to stick around for one more year. But he's certainly not a lock.
You'll notice Nick Bellore is not on my roster at this point. He has four years under his belt, which makes him a vested veteran. My thought in not including him was that the 49ers might try and play the Kassim Osgood game with him. Basically, he would be cut at the end of camp, and signed after Week 1. If a vested veteran is on the roster Week 1, his full season salary becomes guaranteed. Maybe I'm getting too cute with this roster move, but I figure it is at least worth some consideration.
Some of the bubble guys on this group include Tony Jerod-Eddie, Derek Carrier, Nick Moody and Chris Cook. TJE brings versatility, but the team has some younger options. Carrier's weakness is blocking, which is something they need from that third tight end in heavy sets. They did give him a multi-year extension, so that certainly bodes well for him. Moody is a versatile option as well, but could be stuck in a tough numbers game if Bellore sticks around. Cook looked good in limited work last year, but he too faces a numbers game. I'm not entirely sure the team keeps six cornerbacks, but given the injuries they've dealt with at the position, it is reasonable to at least consider.
QB Colin Kaepernick
RB Carlos Hyde
FB Bruce Miller
WR Anquan Boldin
TE Vernon Davis
OT Joe Staley
OG Alex Boone
C Daniel Kilgore
DL Darnell Dockett
ILB NaVorro Bowman
OLB Aldon Smith
CB Tramaine Brock
S Eric Reid
K Phil Dawson
P Bradley Pinion
LS Kyle Nelson