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53-man roster projection following third preseason game

The 49ers played their dress rehearsal preseason game, and we are less than a week from roster cuts. Time for another look at the race for roster spots.

The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up the most important preseason game on their schedule this past Saturday. The third preseason game is the dress rehearsal game, which means this is the last we’ll see of most of the starters until Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings.

We have a pretty good handle on most of the 53-man roster, but there are still plenty of questions — and changes since my last projection.

There is one notable change to make on the projection. I had removed Erik Magnuson as an injured reserve candidate who would return in a month or two once his hamstring was healed. I forgot one issue, as noted by Matt Maiocco. If a team wants a plater to be eligible to return from injured reserve, they have to wait until after roster cuts to place him on IR. Last year, that happened with Ronald Blair, who was placed on IR the day after the team cut down to 53 players. He was activated off IR in Week 9.

With that in mind, I removed Jonathan Cooper and slotted in Erik Magnuson. The 49ers gave Cooper a $2 million signing bonus, and $2 million more in other guarantees, but it seems like Joshua Garnett has moved past him on the depth chart. Additionally, if the 49ers do want to retain Cooper, they very well could work it out with him where they sign him back after Magnuson is moved to IR. We’ll need to keep an eye on the cuts because more than likely one of the players cut will be brought back — assuming somebody more interesting does not come available on waivers.

I swapped in Mark Nzeocha for Eli Harold as it seems safe to say Nzeocha and Pita Taumoepenu will both be making the roster at this point.

The only notable change is adding in Alfred Morris at running back and dropping Korey Toomer from the linebackers. I could see Toomer, or any other released inside linebacker as a candidate to return once Magnuson is placed on IR. That player would likely then be dropped again when Reuben Foster returns from injured reserve the suspended list.

What do y’all think? I know there will be some disagreements, but it’s hard for me to make any other adjustments. But as always, I’m open to disagreements.

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

DL (10): DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas, Arik Armstead, Cassius Marsh, Earl Mitchell, D.J. Jones, Sheldon Day, Ronald Blair, Jeremiah Attaochu, Jullian Taylor
LB (6): Malcolm Smith, Mark Nzeocha, Fred Warner, Dekoda Watson, Brock Coyle, Pita Taumoepenu
CB (6): Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon, Jimmie Ward, Tarvarius Moore, K’Waun Williams, Greg Mabin
S (4): Jaquiski Tartt, Adrian Colbert, 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
IR: Marcell Harris

Last four on: Greg Mabin, Richie James, Kendrick Bourne, Alfred Morris
First four off: Aaron Burbridge, Joe Williams, Tyvis Powell, Korey Toomer