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Comparing 53-man roster projections across 49ers media

There are a lot of similarities, and a handful of recurring differences.

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The San Francisco 49ers close out the 2018 preseason Thursday evening against the Los Angeles Chargers, after which they begin the process of cutting down to 53 players. We’ve had plenty of roster projections over the past month, and long before that during the offseason, but finally we’ll get some answers.

Earlier this week, I posted my most recent 53-man roster projection. I probably should have waited a day or two because safety Chanceller James was released shortly thereafter. Thankfully, nobody else on my projection has been cut as of this publishing time!

The various 49ers media take their own crack at a 53-man roster projection, and I wanted to try something new this year. I compiled all of their most recent roster projections into a spreadsheet to see where we agree and disagree. The spreadsheet is a working tool for me, but you can check out each of the writers’ roster projections below:

Chris Biderman
Dylan DeSimone
Matt Maiocco
Nick Wagoner
Cam Inman
Matt Barrows

A vast majority of the rosters are similar top to bottom. In comparing the projections to my own, nobody has more than four players different than me. Five of the writers, Maiocco, Inman, Wagoner, KNBR, and Barrows did not have Chanceller James, with four of them publishing their projections after the 49ers released him. Four of them had Tyvis Powell, and one had Marcell Harris.

Four of the writers had linebacker Elijah Lee on the roster as a reserve option. Three had him in place of Pita Taumoepenu, and one had him in place of Dekoda Watson. Lee got extensive work on defense and special teams, and seems like a strong candidate for a core special teams role.

Right guard brought some questions as well. Five writers had Jonathan Cooper, who I did not have. Three of them had him along with Erik Magnuson, meaning they were carrying an extra body on the offensive line — at least until after cuts when they can place Magnuson on injured reserve to eventually return in a couple months. All three of them made up for the extra man by not including defensive lineman Ronald Blair on their projections.

The other big question mark was at tight end. Cole Hikutini and Cole Wick are competing for the third spot behind George Kittle and Garrett Celek. Four of us have Hikutini on the roster, while the other four have Wick as the third tight end.

I have to think there will be at least one or two surprises when roster cuts happen. Here is my most recent 53-man roster projection, with my now incorrect Chanceller James projection still listed. From this group, where do you see surprises on cut-down day?

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