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49ers bubble watch heading into Broncos Week 2 preseason game

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Welcome back to another round of the San Francisco 49ers bubble watch. The team is in Denver preparing for their second preseason game, this Saturday against the Broncos. We’ve seen some roster changes due to injuries, and that influences the bubble watch. We’ve got a new player, and a handful of adjustments compared to our last bubble watch in early August.

1. Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington moved to lock - Patton and Ellington have done some strong things in practice, and with nobody else really stepping up in a consistent way, I don’t see how Patton and Ellington don’t make the roster. Ellington is dealing with an ankle injury, so we’ll see what the Broncos game brings, but I see both making it.

2. Dres Anderson, Aaron Burbridge, DiAndre Campbell, Jerome Simpson, DeAndrew White moved to strong bubble - The 49ers need some receivers and while nobody has firmly grasped a job, they all stand a good chance of making the roster. And so, I’m just bumping them all up to strong bubble

3. Brandon Thomas moved down to weak bubble - If he’s playing third string again this week, it might be time to move him to longshot. His stock has plummeted.

4. Christian Ponder added, placed in strong bubble with Jeff Driskel - The 49ers quarterback situation is a mess. With Colin Kaepernick dealing with arm fatigue, it suddenly looks very likely the team will carry a third quarterback. My guess is it would be Driskel, but either way, one of the team seems a stronger bet to make the team.

I was tempted to move Vance McDonald up into lock, but I want to see another game without a drop. That could just be my own stubbornness, but I’ll stick with it for now. As for the inside linebacker trio, it might make sense to include all three in the same category, but I’m just not sure quite yet. They continue to rotate, and it would not surprise me if the team kept all three or tried to deal one for a seventh round pick.

The offensive linemen in the strong bubble category all seem to have a strong chance of making the roster, but there could be a numbers game that costs at least one of them a roster spot. I’m close to moving a few of them into lock status, but I want to see what another preseason game brings, rather than overreact after just one game.

Lock

QB: Blaine Gabbert, Colin Kaepernick
RB: Carlos Hyde
WR: Torrey Smith, Bruce Ellington, Quinton Patton
TE: Garrett Celek, Blake Bell
OL: Joe Staley, Zane Beadles, Daniel Kilgore, Joshua Garnett, Trent Brown

DL: Arik Armstead, Quinton Dial, DeForest Buckner, Glenn Dorsey, Ronald Blair
OLB: Aaron Lynch, Ahmad Brooks, Eli Harold, Tank Carradine
ILB: NaVorro Bowman, Gerald Hodges, Michael Wilhoite
CB: Tramaine Brock, Jimmie Ward, Dontae Johnson, Will Redmond, Rashard Robinson, Chris Davis
S: Eric Reid, Antoine Bethea, Jaquiski Tartt

K: Phil Dawson
P: Bradley Pinion
LS: Kyle Nelson

Strong bubble

QB: Christian Ponder, Jeff Driskel
RB: Mike Davis, Shaun Draughn, DuJuan Harris, Kelvin Taylor
WR: DeAndre Smelter, Dres Anderson, Aaron Burbridge, DiAndre Campbell, Jerome Simpson, DeAndrew White
TE: Bruce Miller, Vance McDonald
OL: Andrew Tiller, Marcus Martin, John Theus, Fahn Cooper, Erik Pears, Anthony Davis

DL: Mike Purcell, Tony Jerod-Eddie
OLB: Corey Lemonier
ILB: Ray-Ray Armstrong, Nick Bellore, Shayne Skov
CB: Kenneth Acker, Keith Reaser
S: L.J. McCray, Marcus Cromartie

Weak bubble

QB: None
RB: None
WR: None
TE: None
OL: Alex Balducci, Ian Silberman, Colin Kelly, Brandon Thomas

DL: Garrison Smith, Darren Lake
OLB: Marcus Rush
ILB: None
CB: None
S: None

Longshot

QB: None
RB: Kendall Gaskins
WR: Devon Cajuste, Bryce Treggs
TE: Busta Anderson, Je’Ron Hamm
OL: Norman Price, Blake Muir

DL: Demetrius Cherry, B.J. McBryde
OLB: Jason Fanaika, Lenny Jones
ILB: Wynton McManis
CB: Prince Charles Iworah
S: Jered Bell

K: John Lunsford