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53-man roster projection heading into 49ers training camp

We include a look at the last four on and the first four off as camp opens.

The San Francisco 49ers have officially begun their first practice of 2018 training camp, and thus begins the push for starting jobs and roster spots. A sizable chunk of the 49ers roster is fairly settled, but there are opportunities to be won.

Shortly before OTAs opened, we took a look at the team’s 90-man roster and projected out who would make the 53-man roster. Now that practice is underway, I thought it made sense to get one more roster projection in before we start to get a handle on where everything stands. Jennifer Chan will be apprising us of the depth chart following practice today, and plenty is going to change between now and the end of August. Heck, things are going to change between now and the first preseason game in two weeks.

I am going to list Reuben Foster as suspended since we know he will sit out the first two games of the season. He will be part of the roster the vast majority of the year, but for now we’re talking about what the 53-man roster will look like after final cuts. I also included Victor Bolden, Jr. on the suspended list as he is facing a four-game suspension.

The most notable change is swapping out Joshua Garnett for Jonathan Cooper. I had previously included Garnett given the work he’s done losing weight, but Cooper’s guaranteed money might give him the edge. He signed a one-year, $4.95 million deal, with $4 million of it guaranteed. That includes a $2 million signing bonus and his $2 million base salary. There is no word on when the base salary became (or becomes) guaranteed, but if all of that is fully guaranteed, that’s a lot of money to commit. Yes, the 49ers can afford to cut him, but for the time being, I have him sticking around.

The other change I made was bumping Richie James from the wide receivers and adding in Aaron Burbridge. That sixth wide receiver is not going to see much in the way of targets, and so you need someone who can contribute on special teams. James has some punt and kick return experience, but the 49ers have considerable depth there already. Burbridge was expected to be a core special teamer last year before he went on IR.

I also formally moved D.J. Reed from cornerback to safety. He is likely going to be a versatile threat, but entering camp he has been working primarily at safety. I had considered dropping Chanceller James for another cornerback, but Reed’s versatility might mean they can keep a thumper like James.

Here’s what I’ve got so far, with plenty of room for change in this group. I’ve also included last four on and first four off.

QB (2): Jimmy Garoppolo, C.J. Beathard
RB (4): Jerick McKinnon, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert, Joe Williams
FB (1): Kyle Juszczyk
WR (6): Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, Dante Pettis, Kendrick Bourne, Aaron Burbridge
TE (3): George Kittle, Garrett Celek, Cole Hikutini
OT (3): Joe Staley, Mike McGlinchey, Garry Gilliam
OG (3): Jonathan Cooper, Laken Tomlinson, Erik Magnuson
C (2): Weston Richburg, Mike Person

DL (9): DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas, Arik Armstead, Cassius Marsh, Earl Mitchell, D.J. Jones, Sheldon Day, Ronald Blair, Jerry Attaochu
LB (7): Malcolm Smith, Eli Harold, Fred Warner, Dekoda Watson, Korey Toomer, Brock Coyle, Pita Taumoepenu
CB (5): Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon, Jimmie Ward, Tarvarius Moore, K’Waun Williams
S (5): Jaquiski Tartt, Adrian Colbert, Marcell Harris, Chanceller James, D.J. Reed

K (1): Robbie Gould
P (1): Bradley Pinion
LS (1): Kyle Nelson

Suspended: Reuben Foster, Victor Bolden Jr.
NFI: Kentavius Street

Last four on: Chanceller James, Aaron Burbridge, Mike Person, Cole Hikutini
First four off: Joshua Garnett, Aldrick Robinson, Richie James, Greg Mabin