The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their 2018 preseason schedule on Thursday with a 23-21 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, and now it’s on to roster cuts. The team has until 1 p.m. PT on Saturday to cut the roster down to 53 players. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said the team will make some initial cuts on Friday, but there will be some decisions that come down to the wire on Saturday.
We’ll be tracking the cuts, but before then I wanted to put together one last 53-man roster projection. There are not a whole lot of changes to make, but I decided to shake some things up a little bit.
I swapped out Kendrick Bourne for Aaron Burbridge. Bourne has had some decent moments in the preseason, but he has not stood out like we have seen from someone like Richie James. The latter was consistently productive, and seemed to secure a roster spot and potentially a decent little role. The fifth and sixth receivers are players who need to excel on special teams. Bourne can play on special teams, but the team seems more comfortable with Burbridge’s special teams skills. That could be the difference.
I jumped on the Cole Wick bandwagon. Wick did not play Thursday evening, with Cole Hikutini and Ross Dwelley getting a sizable amount of playing time. Hikutini had a couple solid moments, but his inconsistency could cost him a roster spot.
The offensive line remains a tough one for me to figure out. Jonathan Cooper has slowly been getting more work, but I just don’t know what to expect. I see inconsistent reports about whether he had $2 million or $4 million of his salary guaranteed, but given the 49ers sizable cap space, will that matter?
The other change I made was at safety. I had Chanceller James on my projection, but the 49ers have since released him. I swapped in Tyvis Powell for the time being, but one has to wonder if they might look for a veteran reserve at safety.
The only other area I’m not super sure about is at linebacker. Some of the beat writers see Elijah Lee landing a reserve linebacker role over Pita Taumoepenu or Dekoda Watson. It makes sense to have an extra inside linebacker option the first two weeks of the regular season while Reuben Foster is suspended, but I’m not sure at this point.
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, Aaron Burbridge, Richie James
TE (3): George Kittle, Garrett Celek, Cole Wick
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, Tyvis Powell, 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, Cole Wick, Aaron Burbridge, Tyvis Powell
First four off: Cole Hikutini, Joe Williams, Kendrick Bourne, Elijah Lee