The final preseason game is upon us, playing at home against the Los Angeles Chargers at 7pm PST. A number of players are scheduled to be sat for the entirety, most of them being veteran starters. Although specific names weren’t explicitly divulged, it’s safe to assume the vast majority of the guys who see the field will be entrenched backups, rookies, and the rest of the bubble, health permitting.
As the exhibition season wraps up, the days in the immediate aftermath will be a flurry of activity, as rosters leaguewide are pruned to 53, waiver wires are scoured, and practice squads are populated. While this time inevitably signals the proverbial end of the line for some NFL dreams, it’ll also mark the opening of Kory Sheets season, giving us all another year worth of bickering over theoretical alternatives where Blaine Gabbert never made the team, or Marcus Rush did. Considering the complete organizational reboot, this year stands out as one that offers an exceptional assortment of grudges to be made, with vocal supporters of bubble candidates spanning every offensive skill position (other than QB), as well as the looming numbers game to be played along the defensive line.
This brings me to my projections for 2017’s -WOF candidates. First and foremost, I’d like to make the disclaimer that I believe Tim Hightower and Jeremy Kerley both make the team.
Believing that the team decides to keep 4 RBs, I think a decision will have to be made between Breida and Mostert. While most of our first takes would be emphatically for the former, I think there’s still a chance that Mostert makes it over him. If the coaches put extra value in special teams ability for the 4th roster spot, this competition becomes much more interesting. If things don’t go Breida’s way, which I see as a possibility, he could end up as one of the all-time great -WOF’s of Niners Nation history.
A great competition is taking place for future WR -WOF’s, as it’s a virtual guarantee that at the very least, one of Victor Bolden Jr., Kendrick Bourne, and DeAndre Smelter will not make the roster. As fans, we will always remember, respectively, the electric kickoff return, the dominant performance in the opening game of the Kyle Shanahan/John Lynch era, and being tall & from the same college as Demaryius Thomas and Calvin Johnson.
The Falcons did carry a 6th WR at times during the Shanahan era, although it seems to be mostly a special teams consideration. A possible scenario could emerge in which both Breida and Bourne are decisions made solely by the outcome of a special teams competition between Bolden Jr. and Mostert.
Lastly, Cole Hikutini. He’s not going to make the team and will be forever remembered for his interesting last name and heaps of hype that came out of nowhere. Sorry folks.
To the good stuff-
Team plans to sit most starters in preseason game 4 | Wagoner, ESPN
Jed York on embracing differences | Wagoner, ESPN
Former 49ers LB Ahmad Brooks joins Green Bay | Demovsky, ESPN
Roster battles to watch | Barrows, Sac Bee
Surveying the effects of the McDonald trade | Maiocco, CSN Bay Area
Saleh on Bowman, Bowman’s role | Maiocco, CSN Bay Area
Saleh on defensive philosophy & attitude | Bach, CSN Bay Area
Final 53-man roster projection | Maiocco, CSN Bay Area
Top QB prospect Josh Allen a 49ers fan | Mano, Mercury
Waxing poetic on how rad Kittle is going to be | Inman, Mercury
RB Raheem Mostert making a last-minute roster bid | Branch, SFGate
LB Aaron Lynch led NFL in week 3 QB pressure | Lowder, Ninerswire (Citing PFF)