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49ers bubble watch: Defensive line could be impacted by injuries

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The San Francisco 49ers have questions at almost every position while they work to figure out their 53-man roster. We’ll break down the bubble watch for each one. Today we look at the defensive line.

Welcome back to another week without 49ers football. I know that sounds particularly inspiring. But we are now less than six weeks away from the start of training camp, so that’s a plus. With that in mind, we’re back for another round of the 49ers bubble watch.

Over the next week and a half, we’re going to take a look at each position, and what the bubble watch looks like. As we’ve done for many years now, the bubble watch breaks down to lock, strong bubble, weak bubble, and longshot. For some positions, we'll have multiple players listed at strong bubble, even though not all are likely to make the roster. But the idea is that they both stand a good shot, even if it is just one of them. Thus far, we have looked at quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, and offensive line. Today we look at the defensive line.

Lock: Arik Armstead, Quinton Dial, Ian Williams, DeForest Buckner, Glenn Dorsey, Ronald Blair

Strong bubble: Mike Purcell, Tony Jerod-Eddie

Weak bubble: Kaleb Ramsey, Garrison Smith, Darren Lake

Longshot: Demetrius Cherry

Injuries will impact this position as much as any on the roster. Ian Williams and Glenn Dorsey are both dealing with injuries that could land them on the PUP list to start the season. Dorsey is entering the final year of his contract. When healthy he is a force for this defensive line, but we don’t yet know where things will stand the first few weeks of training camp. My guess is he opens camp on the PUP list, and we’re left to wait and see when he comes off. But he’ll either be on the 53-man roster or on the PUP list when Week 1 arrives.

I had pondered listing Ronald Blair as a strong bubble, but I see no chance he doesn’t make the roster. We’ve discussed why he could be the most productive of the 49ers day three picks. He’s a guy who can play several spots on the line, and that kind of versatility only helps him.

Garrison Smith and Darren Lake are two of the more interesting players on the bubble watch. Their chances at a roster spot depend almost entirely on the health of Ian Williams and Glenn Dorsey. They could earn a roster spot even if those two are healthy, but my guess is one or both of Smith and Lake only end up on the roster if Williams and/or Dorsey open the season on the PUP list.