The San Francisco 49ers are a week and a half away from the start of training camp, which means the downtime is just about set to come to a close. While we prepare for that, I came across a fun idea over at our Packers blog, Acme Packing Company. They had five of their writers rank out the team’s entire 88-man roster (indeed, they still have two spots available), and come up with a composite ranking. You’ll be stunned to learn that Aaron Rodgers finished in first place.
I spoke with ten of our contributors, and we each put together our rankings of the 49ers entire 90-man roster. It was a blind ranking, with each person submitting their rankings to me. I then created a composite ranking, which will be revealed over the next nine days, ten players at a time. After that is complete, I will post the individual rankings, along with comments from each voter on any particularly notable high or low ranked players. The voters included myself, Pat Holloway, James Brady, Tracy (49ersfangirl), Billy from the Nuggets, Jason Hurley, Greg Valerio, Oscar and David from Better Rivals, Alex Rubenstein who does video work for SB Nation, and Jennifer Chan.
Since this is entirely subjective, I did not provide a specific framework for voting. I simply told them to factor in injuries and the Aaron Lynch suspension, and figure it out from there. This could shuffle around plenty between now and the team’s final roster cuts. Here are spots 51-60.
60. Erik Pears (High: 33, Low: 90)
The 49ers signed Pears as a free agent last year, and early indications are that he would fill a utility role. Anthony Davis retired and that quickly resulted in Pears moving into the starting lineup. Pears moved to right guard after Alex Boone’s injury, and Trent Brown took over at right tackle for two games. Pears and Brown are competing for the right tackle job, with John Theus, Fahn Cooper, and Colin Kelly among those competing behind them. If Pears loses the job to Brown, does he get cut before the season starts?
59. Marcus Martin (High: 28, Low: 89)
The 49ers spent a third round pick on Martin in 2014. He moved into the starting lineup midway through his rookie season after Daniel Kilgore went on injured reserve. Martin struggled with inconsistency, but was the only legit option at center heading into 2015, with Kilgore opening the season the PUP list. When Kilgore returned to the starting lineup in Week 15, Martin moved to right guard. Martin was then inactive the final two weeks due to a concussion. The 49ers added Joshua Garnett at guard, and have Kilgore at center, so he would seem to be competing for an interior utility role.
58. Brandon Thomas (High: 36, Low: 84)
The 49ers spent a late third round pick on Brandon Thomas in 2014. He spent his rookie season on the NFI list due to an ACL tear a month before the draft. His second year he was on the roster, but only active once (and a DNP in that game). Thomas mentioned in the offseason that he dealt with a high ankle sprain, but it is hard to tell what that meant. He started at right guard in the team’s offseason workout program, but Joshua Garnett should be there from day one at training camp, so we’ll see what happens with Thomas.
57. Kelvin Taylor (High: 38, Low: 76)
The 49ers spent a sixth round pick on Fred Taylor’s son this past May. He is competing with Shaun Draughn, DuJuan Harris, Mike Davis, and Kendall Gaskins for work behind Carlos Hyde. We haven’t heard much thus far, with pads and contact next month giving us a better handle on the competition. Taylor dealt with a bad offensive line in Florida, finishing his senior season with 1,035 yards, averaging 4.0 yards per carry.
56. John Theus (High: 39, Low: 75)
The 49ers spent a fifth round pick on Theus this year. He spent OTAs and minicamp playing right tackle and left tackle, getting up into some second team work. He could be a favorite for the swing tackle role, and might very well make a competitive bid for the right tackle position.
55. Corey Lemonier (High: 32, Low: 78)
It’s been up and down Lemonier in his three seasons with the 49ers. The team spent a third round pick on him in 2013, and he did some decent work as a rookie pass rusher. However, he struggled to develop more than a bull rush, and he has since turned into primarily a special teams player. Aaron Lynch’s suspension opens the door for some more opportunities, however.
54. DeAndrew White (High: 41, Low: 77)
The 49ers signed White as a UDFA last season, and he made the 53-man roster out of training camp. He got some work as a return man, but was not a contributor as a wide receiver. The 49ers added Aaron Burbridge, Bryce Treggs, and Devon Cajuste this year, with Anquan Boldin’s departure opening up a lot of snaps.
53. Jerome Simpson (High: 27, Low: 89)
The 49ers signed Simpson as a free agent last year, but he had to serve a suspension to start the season. He sat out the first seven weeks, and then was in and out of the lineup the rest of the season. He finished the season with five receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown. He’s incredibly athletic, but has been fairly inconsistent. He averaged 15.1 yards per catch on 48 receptions in 2013, but did not play in 2014, and is coming off a limited 2015.
52. Ray-Ray Armstrong (High: 35, Low: 71)
The 49ers claimed Armstrong off waivers late last season, and he finished out the year playing special teams the final five weeks. Jim O’Neil announced during OTAs that Armstrong is competing with Gerald Hodges and Michael Wilhoite for the inside linebacker role next to NaVorro Bowman. The three ILBs split first team reps during OTAs and minicamp, so we’ll see what happens when training camp gets started.
51. Marcus Cromartie (High: 36, Low: 62)
The 49ers signed Marcus Cromartie to the practice squad in late 2014, and he then spent the first eight weeks of the 2015 season on the practice squad. He was promoted for Week 9, and got some work immediately. He got starter snaps his first two games due to injuries, but spent the rest of the season primarily on special teams. He has gotten some safety work, so he has some flexibility heading into training camp.
61. Aaron Burbridge, WR
62. Mike Davis, RB
63. Jeff Driskel, QB
64. Ian Silberman, OL
65. Shayne Skov, ILB
66. Nick Bellore, ILB
67. Dres Anderson, WR
68. Devon Cajuste, WR
69. Kaleb Ramsey, DT
70. DiAndre Campbell, WR
71. Chris Davis, CB
72. Busta Anderson TE
73. Marcus Rush, OLB
74. Prince Charles Iworah, CB
75. Alex Balducci, OL
76. Kendall Gaskins, RB
77. Thad Lewis, QB
78. Bryce Treggs, WR
79. Jason Fanaika, OLB
80. Colin Kelly, OL
81. Darren Lake, DT
82. Jered Bell, S
83. Garrison Smith, DT
84. Demetrius Cherry, DL
85. Blake Muir, OL
86. Je’Ron Hamm, TE
87. Wynton McManis, ILB
88. John Lunsford, K
89. Lenny Jones, OLB
90. Norman Price, OL