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49ers bubble watch heading into OTAs

Time for a look at the San Francisco 49ers bubble watch with OTAs kicking off on Tuesday. We break down players as locks, strong bubble, weak bubble, and longshots.

The San Francisco 49ers are kicking off OTAs on Tuesday, which means we get to over-analyze work in shorts and helmets! So, it is time for a bubble watch. I put together a 53-man projection following the draft, but now it is time to get into the nitty gritty of who sits where in our bubble watch.

As we do every year, the bubble watch looks at locks, strong bubble players, weak bubble players, and long shots. It is worth reminding folks of a couple things. This is not a depth chart listing in each section. It's just the players in no pre-determined order. Second, just because I listed multiple players at a position in the strong bubble does not mean I think they will all make the roster, and does not mean I think they are equally strong on the bubble.

I was tempted to include Colin Kaepernick and Ahmad Brooks in strong bubble. However, the only way I see either player not on the roster is if they are traded. If the 49ers had invested in an earlier quarterback, maybe they would be willing to cut Kap, but with the Driskel pick, I just don't see it. I think the more likely reality is Blaine Gabbert wins the starting QB job, and Kap is inactive fairly frequently this season.

Locks (35)

QB: Blaine Gabbert, Colin Kaepernick
RB: Carlos Hyde
WR: Torrey Smith, DeAndre Smelter
TE: Garrett Celek, Blake Bell
OL: Joe Staley, Trenton Brown, Joshua Garnett, Zane Beadles, Daniel Kilgore
DL: Quinton Dial, Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, Ronald Blair, Glenn Dorsey, Ian Williams
OLB: Aaron Lynch, Ahmad Brooks, Eli Harold
ILB: NaVorro Bowman, Gerald Hodges, Michael Wilhoite
CB: Jimmie Ward, Tramaine Brock, Dontae Johnson, Will Redmond, Rashard Robinson
FS: Eric Reid
SS: Antoine Bethea, Jaquiski Tartt
K: Phil Dawson
P: Bradley Pinion
LS: Kyle Nelson

Strong bubble (24)

RB: Mike Davis, Kelvin Taylor, Shaun Draughn, DuJuan Harris, Bruce Miller
WR: Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington, Eric Rogers
TE: Vance McDonald
OL: Erik Pears, Fahn Cooper, John Theus, Andrew Tiller, Marcus Martin
DL: Mike Purcell, Tony Jerod-Eddie
OLB: Tank Carradine, Corey Lemonier
ILB: Nick Bellore, Shayne Skov, Ray-Ray Armstrong
CB: Kenneth Acker, Keith Reaser
FS: L.J. McCray

Weak bubble (20)

QB: Thad Lewis, Jeff Driskel
WR: DiAndre Campbell, Dres Anderson, Devon Cajuste, DeAndrew White, Aaron Burbridge, Jerome Simpson
TE: Je'Ron Hamm, Busta Anderson
OL: Brandon Thomas, Colin Kelly, Ian Silberman
DL: Kaleb Ramsey, Garrison Smith, Darren Lake
OLB: Marcus Rush
CB: Marcus Cromartie, Chris Davis, Prince Charles Iworah

Longshots (10)

WR: Bryce Teggs
OL: Norman Price, Blake Muir, Alex Balducci
DL: Demetrius Cherry
OLB: Jason Fanaika, Lenny Jones
ILB: Wynton McManis
FS: Jered Bell
K: John Lunsford