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2016 49ers 90-man roster ranking: players 30-21

We continue the countdown of our 49ers’ roster ranking, today looking at players ranked 30-21. We’re getting into tight ends and some key reserves.

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 21-30.

30. Blake Bell, TE (High: 19, Low: 59)

The 49ers spent a fourth round pick on Bell, who began his transition from quarterback to tight end during his final season in college. The development continued in the NFL, but his playing time got a bump when the team traded Vernon Davis, and then lost Garrett Celek to injury. Chip Kelly knows how to utilize his tight ends, opening the door for Bell amidst a large group of options.

29. Michael Wilhoite, ILB (High: 17, Low: 42)

28. Gerald Hodges, ILB (High: 24, Low: 39)

What do you know, another duo that belongs together. The 49ers signed Wilhoite as a UDFA and he has worked his way up from practice squad to the 53-man roster to starter. The team acquired Hodges via trade last year prior to Week 5. Wilhoite started the first 12 games of the season next to NaVorro Bowman, but then suffered a high ankle sprain, which resulted in Hodges starting the final four games. They are competing with Ray-Ray Armstrong for the starting spot next to Bowman this year.

27. Eli Harold, OLB (High: 9, Low: 40)

The 49ers used a third round pick on Harold last year, and he is getting a huge opportunity this year. He spent the offseason workout program starting opposite Aaron Lynch, while Ahmad Brooks dealt with an undisclosed injury. He was looking at a reserve role as the first OLB off the bench, but Lynch has since been suspended for four games. Harold is likely going to be starting opposite Brooks when Week 1 rolls around.

26. Dontae Johnson, CB (High: 14, Low: 59)

The 49ers drafted Johnson in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He worked his way into playing time as a rookie, taking over as the nickel back after Jimmie Ward was placed on injured reserve. He came off the bench most of his second season, but did eventually replace Kenneth Acker in the starting lineup the last two weeks of the season.

25. Glenn Dorsey, DT (High: 15, Low: 37)

The 49ers signed Dorsey to a two-year deal back in 2013. He started as the primary utility guy behind Justin Smith and Ray McDonald, but Ian Williams was lost for the year, and Dorsey moved to nose tackle. He suffered a torn biceps muscle during training camp the next season, and sat out the year. He returned in 2015, but ended up on injured reserve following a Week 11 torn ACL. His status for Week 1 is unknown at this point.

24. Zane Beadles, OG (High: 17, Low: 53)

The 49ers signed Beadles to a three-year deal this offseason, making him the only significant free agency addition. He is expected to slot in at left guard, in place of Alex Boone. He was released by the Jaguars, but a move to a zone-blocking scheme could benefit him.

23. Ahmad Brooks, OLB (High: 10, Low: 44)

Brooks dealt with an undisclosed injury during the offseason workout program, resulting in Eli Harold handling his reps. The last few years we’ve wondered if Brooks would be released, and each year he’s back in the starting lineup. He remains a solid contributor, but there have been headaches with him. Of course, now that Aaron Lynch is suspended, Brooks seems pretty assured of being back in the starting lineup this season.

22. Bruce Ellington, WR (High: 8, Low: 49)

The 49ers spent a fourth round pick on Ellington in 2014. He has not gotten a ton of work in the offense, but has been the primary return man. Now that Chip Kelly is in town, it could open the door to a significant opportunity for Ellington. The departure of Anquan Boldin opens the door for a lot of snaps, but Kelly’s offense as a whole means significantly more work across the board.

21. Garrett Celek, TE (High: 16, Low: 33)

The 49ers signed Celek to a four-year, $10.2 million extension this offseason. He’s a solid blocker and decent pass catcher, but he’s dealt with injuries off-and-on throughout his time with the 49ers. Every single player on the tight end depth chart has a significant question, so it’s safe to say things are pretty wide open at the position.

31. Tank Carradine OLB
32. Kenneth Acker, CB
33. Eric Rogers, WR
34. Vance McDonald, TE
35. Quinton Patton, WR
36. Andrew Tiller, OG
37. Will Redmond, CB
38. Bradley Pinion, P
39. Shaun Draughn, RB
40. DuJuan Harris, RB

41. Ronald Blair, DT
42. Tony Jerod-Eddie, DT
43. Mike Purcell, DT
44. DeAndre Smelter, WR
45. Keith Reaser, CB
46. Rashard Robinson, CB
47. Trent Brown, OT
48. Fahn Cooper, OL
49. L.J. McCray, S
50. Kyle Nelson, LS

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