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 41-50.
50. Kyle Nelson, LS (High: 41, Low: 73)
The 49ers had Nelson in and out of camp over the past few years, but in 2014 he broke through and claimed the long snapper job. He signed a four-year contract extension following the 2014 season, inking him through 2018.
49. L.J. McCray, S (High: 29, Low: 71)
The 49ers signed McCray as an undrafted free agent following the 2014 NFL Draft. He earned a roster spot out of training camp exclusively in a special teams role. The team gives him safety opportunities in training camp, but special teams is where he shines.
48. Fahn Cooper, OL (High: 29, Low: 65)
The 49ers spent fifth round picks this year on Cooper and John Theus. While Theus has practiced at both tackle positions in the 49ers offseason workout program, Cooper has gotten work at right tackle and right guard. Cooper and Theus are in reserve spots for now, but both could be darkhorses for the right tackle position.
47. Trent Brown, OT (High: 20, Low: 90)
The 49ers spent a seventh round pick on Brown last year, and he worked his way into the starting lineup the final two weeks of the season after Alex Boone’s injury. Brown’s biggest issue is conditioning. He was not in good shape at the start of the offseason workout program, and that has been an issue dating back to college. If he is not in shape early in training camp, his roster spot could quickly end up in jeopardy.
46. Rashard Robinson, CB (High: 27, Low: 72)
The 49ers spent a fourth round pick on Robinson in this year’s NFL Draft. Robinson has the length Trent Baalke likes, but off-field issues cost him numerous opportunities. He ended up suspended for much of the final season and a half of his career. He has the talent to push for serious playing time, but will there be any rust, and can he keep his nose clean?
45. Keith Reaser, CB (High: 20, Low: 70)
The 49ers spent a fifth round pick on Reaser in 2014, and placed him on the NFI list for the season due to a previous torn ACL. He earned a roster spot in 2015, and was active most of the season, primarily on special teams. He is competing for work as a slot corner, although Chris Davis got the starting work in most of OTAs and minicamp.
44. DeAndre Smelter, WR (High: 34, Low: 65)
Back-to-back ACL All Stars. The 49ers spent a fourth round pick on Smelter in the 2015 NFL Draft, and he sat out the season recovering from a torn ACL. He was back practicing in OTAs, but missed minicamp due to a hamstring injury. Assuming he is sufficiently recovered, he will be competing for significant snaps now that Anquan Boldin is gone. Boldin was a frequent comparison for Smelter coming out of college. The Georgia Tech receiver is relatively raw because he spent a lot of time focused on baseball, and was playing in the Yellow Jackets’ triple option offense.
43. Mike Purcell, DT (High: 32, Low: 78)
The 49ers signed Purcell as a UDFA in 2013, and he has slowly worked his way up the roster. After a lot of time on the practice squad, Purcell made the 53-man roster last season straight out of training camp. He was inactive the first eight games, but was active every game after that, and got three starts at left and right defensive tackle. He stands a good chance of opening the season as the starting nose tackle if Ian Williams and Glenn Dorsey are unable to go Week 1.
42. Tony Jerod-Eddie, DT (High: 29, Low: 71)
Like Purcell, Tony Jerod-Eddie had to work his way up from the bottom. The 49ers signed him as a UDFA in 2012, and he spent most of his first season on the practice squad. He was promoted late in the season with Justin Smith dealing with a partially torn triceps. He earned a roster spot out of camp in 2013, and has been a utility man ever since, serving in such a role last season.
41. Ronald Blair, DT (High: 25, Low: 70)
It’s fitting that Blair and TJE finished near each other in the vote. The 49ers spent a fifth round pick on Blair, and he could be the day three rookie who impacts earliest. He can play all along the line, and could be the guy who bumps TJE from the roster at some point.
51. Marcus Cromartie, DB
52. Ray-Ray Armstrong, ILB
53. Jerome Simpson, WR
54. DeAndrew White, WR
55. Corey Lemonier, OLB
56. John Theus, OL
57. Kelvin Taylor, RB
58. Brandon Thomas, OG
59. Marcus Martin, OG/C
60. Erik Pears, OT
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