Good morning folks, it’s that strange time of the year once again. Summer is coming to a close, schools are opening back up, and in short order, nearly 1,000 people are about to lose their spots on NFL rosters. While it’s wholly unfortunate for those folks, it’s the nature of the beast - and is usually marked by an uptick of 53-man roster projection articles all over the internet.
Although the 49ers roster has been in a major state of flux since Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch took over, the it seems that the “surprise!” portion of the cuts is starting to fade away. The gutting of Baalke’s fingerprints on the roster is virtually complete, so the vast majority of cuts will be underperforming veterans or UDFA who didn’t quite show enough - and mostly guys that have been brought in by this regime. The writing, surely, is on the wall for many of these guys, and I’d be surprised if there were more than a very small handful of guys who make the roster that haven’t already been identified by the 49ers fanbase.
On offense, it seems like most positions are already solidified, save, perhaps a few bottom-of-the-roster battles. At receiver, we’ll soon see how the brass feels about the special teams value of Aaron Burbridge, or if they’re unwilling to let Richie James Jr. be scooped up on waivers. The battle for the third TE has seemingly tipped in in Cole Wick’s favor, as he’s started over Cole Hikutini the past two games. Along the offensive line, Jonathan Cooper has a cumbersome contract and hasn’t shown, well, anything during the offseason, but with the extended injury to Erik Magnuson, there remains a question if someone else will show up before time runs out. Lastly, does Alfred Morris make the roster? If so, does that mean Raheem Mostert’s special teams ability land him a spot again?
The defensive side of the ball seems to be mostly wrapped up at this point, although the remaining questions remain along the linebacking/LEO corps. The trade of veteran Eli Harold opened up a spot - but who is in line to take it? Of the group of Mark Nzeocha, Elijah Lee, and Dekoda Watson, who will the odd man out be? Does Jeremiah Attaochu make the roster? Between Greg Mabin and Tyvis Powell, who has more value at the end of the CB roster? Finally, the last question I can think of - will this be the year that Jimmie Ward gets cut?
We’ll have our answers soon enough. The team plays their final game against the Chargers at home on Thursday, and cuts will be due by 1pm PST on Saturday.
Pierre Garcon’s big gainer wasn’t meant for him | Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area
Malcolm Smith eager to play after 17 months | Branch, SF Gate
Joshua Garnett inspired confidence from Kyle Shanahan | Biderman, Sac Bee
Studs & Duds from 3rd preseason game | Madsen, Ninerswire