The San Francisco 49ers are less than a month from their first practice of 2015 training camp. Once camp gets going, there will be daily media reports leading up to the preseason opener on August 15. That time will give us a better grasp on the depth chart, and which players have climbed onto the bubble.
As we approach training camp, we'll be assessing the roster in several ways. We'll start with this bubble watch post. We'll go position-by-position, and break down whether players are locks, strong bubble, weak bubble and longshots. The discussion for each article will not follow a specific format, but rather will focus on the more interesting aspects of the particular roster competition. In July, we'll follow this with a look at contract numbers for each position, and we'll close with a look at key questions facing each position.
Locks: Tramaine Brock, Dontae Johnson, Jimmie Ward
Strong Bubble: Shareece Wright, Kenneth Acker, Chris Cook, Keith Reaser
Weak Bubble: Marcus Cromartie, Leon McFadden
Longshots: Mylan Hicks
The San Francisco 49ers parted ways with Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox this offseason, and this opens the door for plenty of opportunities. Tramaine Brock is likely the team's top cornerback at this point. Some will suggest he could be traded or otherwise dispatched for salary cap purposes. Matt Barrows has reported Brock could be the guy who follows the opposing team's top receiver around the field. I just don't think Brock is going anywhere.
At this point, there is a pretty sizable hodgepodge of options up and down the depth chart. I am certain there will be some disagreement on the locks and bubble players. I initially listed Reaser as a lock given all the great things we heard in the offseason workout program. However, this all comes without pads, and he is still returning from that ACL injury. I do think he makes the roster, but until we see him in pads, I think it is reasonable to take a wait and see approach.
I initially also had Wright listed as a lock. Plenty are down on him, but the 49ers seem to have a higher opinion of the free agent addition. I think he also makes the roster, and very well could end up in a starting role, but I want to wait and see what he looks like when the 49ers hit the field in pads. I expect to have him bumped up to lock early in the preseason, but we'll see what August brings.
I don't necessarily expect all seven of those locks and strong bubble players to make the 49ers roster. If I were to rank the strong bubble players on likelihood of making the roster, I'd probably go Wright, Reaser, Cook, Acker. Those latter two are tough to figure out. Acker looked strong last year in the preseason, while Cook looked good in the regular season before getting hurt. I don't know if Acker could clear waivers and get to the practice squad, but this could open the door for some August and September trade talks.