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49ers bubble watch before final roster cuts

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The 49ers will settle on their 53-man roster Saturday morning. Here’s our final bubble watch in the meantime.

Welcome back to our last bubble watch of 2016! The San Francisco 49ers will announce their roster cuts later today, and the team will be down to the 53-man roster (1:00 p.m. PT deadline). The roster could change between now and Tuesday, with players waived and claimed around the league. And it will certainly change between now and the end of the season. But this is the last time we’ll consider the bubble for this year.

You can compare this to our bubble watch from earlier this week when the team was at 77 players. Since then, they waived Jason Fanaika, and placed Bruce Ellington on injured reserve, which got them to the 75-man requirement on Tuesday.

I made three adjustments this time around:

1. Andrew Tiller from lock to strong bubble

He went from the starting lineup to reserves with the move of Anthony Davis into the starting lineup. He still has a strong chance of earning a roster spot, but it’s not quite so clear now.

2. Michael Wilhoite from lock to strong bubble

When you play a lot of snaps in the fourth preseason game, you are not a lock to make the roster. I think he stands a good chance because he can play both ILB positions, but things have gotten dicier.

3. Dontae Johnson from lock to strong bubble

The cornerback position has a lot of interesting young talent on the depth chart. Johnson seemed to be emerging at the end of last season, but the team added two more corners, including another long, rangy corner in Rashard Robinson. It might not bode well.

I wasn’t sure what to do with the wide receivers. I’m pretty sure DeAndrew White, Jeremy Kerley, and Dres Anderson are among those on the 53-man roster later today, but I really don’t know who for certain. The same holds true at running back. I’m pretty sure Mike Davis makes it, and then one of Kelvin Taylor or DuJuan Harris. But who?

Lock

QB: Blaine Gabbert, Colin Kaepernick
RB: Carlos Hyde, Shaun Draughn
WR: Torrey Smith, Quinton Patton
TE: Garrett Celek, Blake Bell, Vance McDonald
OL: Joe Staley, Zane Beadles, Daniel Kilgore, Joshua Garnett, Trent Brown, Anthony Davis

DL: Arik Armstead, Quinton Dial, DeForest Buckner, Glenn Dorsey, Ronald Blair, Mike Purcell
OLB: Aaron Lynch, Ahmad Brooks, Eli Harold, Tank Carradine
ILB: NaVorro Bowman, Gerald Hodges, Ray-Ray Armstrong
CB: Tramaine Brock, Jimmie Ward, 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, DuJuan Harris, Kelvin Taylor
WR: DeAndre Smelter, Dres Anderson, Aaron Burbridge, DeAndrew White, Jeremy Kerley
TE: Bruce Miller
OL: Marcus Martin, John Theus, Fahn Cooper, Andrew Tiller

DL: Tony Jerod-Eddie, Garrison Smith
OLB: Corey Lemonier, Marcus Rush
ILB: Michael Wilhoite, Nick Bellore, Shayne Skov
CB: Keith Reaser, Dontae Johnson
S: L.J. McCray, Marcus Cromartie

Weak bubble

QB: None
RB: None
WR: Bryce Treggs
TE: None
OL: Alex Balducci, Colin Kelly

DL: Demetrius Cherry, B.J. McBryde
OLB: None
ILB: None
CB: None
S: None

Longshot

QB: None
RB: None
WR: Devon Cajuste, Ryan Whalen
TE: Je’Ron Hamm
OL: Norman Price

DL: None
OLB: None
ILB: None
CB: Prince Charles Iworah
S: None