FanPost

Projected 2019 Niners' Final-53 Roster

Joe the Wizard:

Responding to your Nuggets lead-in last Friday concerning a projected 2019 roster for the offensive side of the ball, I provided my thoughts in the Comments section. Later I indicated that I would do the same thing on the defensive side in today's Nuggets. That was probably a mistake ... I've now realized that such a comment would be far too long ... but I did make a commitment. Please except this post as the alternative.

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Historically I have written a multi-part FanPost each Spring outlining my thoughts on roster retention, free agency signings, draftees, expected final cuts, and the resulting Final-53 roster and practice squad make-up. I've decided not to do that any longer. Alternatively, as indicated above, I was just going to comment on other's projections and told Joe that I would do so. Then I realized that that solution would be far too lengthy. So, I've decided to simply dump the whole thing into one post and be done with it. Result ... this post.

Doing a roster projection in early March (my usual schedule), when the number of unknowns have been substantially reduced, would provide a more reliable projection ... for example, we won't know actual free agent availability until early March, we don't even know who will be in the actual draft class until next Tuesday, we have yet to see the post-season all-star games and practices, the Combine, pro days, all of which will determine prospect rankings, etc. Nonetheless, Niners Nation participants seem to be jumping the gun very early this year ... probably as a result of the desire to move on after such a disappointing season. Thus, I have made educated guesses about how the unknowns will turn out and made my roster projections accordingly.

Let's start with my projected free agent signings:

Projected Re-Signings

RB Raheem Mostert

OG Mike Person

K Robbie Gould

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Projected Free Agent Signings

WR Adam Humphries (Tampa Bay) or Golden Tate (Philadelphia)

TE Jesse James (Pittsburgh) or Jared Cook (Oakland)

OG Rodger Saffold (LA Rams)

E Brandon Graham (Philadelphia) or Dante Fowler (LA Rams)

SAM LB Shaquil Barrett (Denver) or Anthony Barr (Minnesota)

MIKE LB C. J. Mosley (Baltimore) or Preston Brown (Cincinnati)

FS Earl Thomas (Seattle) or Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix (Washington)

CB Rashaun Melvin (Oakland) or Eric Rowe (New England) or Pierre Desir (Indianapolis)

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Next, let's deal with the draft. Given that (a) Kyler Murray may yet declare for the NFL draft, and (b) Arizona's new HC (Kliff Kingsbury) has said in the past that he would select Murray over any other QB (and he did coach Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech), who knows what Arizona (or another team that trades for the #1 pick) will do? Arizona could decide to trade Josh Rosen for more draft capital and then select Murray with the first pick, leaving Nick Bosa to drop to us. Again, who knows? Either way, there is still a decision for Lynch to make regarding Pick #2 ... use it or trade down to obtain one or more additional picks? IF he stays at #2 he will select either Bosa or Allen ... it would be crazy to do anything else. However, there is ONLY ONE trade-down that I would be willing to make ... IF Oakland wanted to select a particular guy (including Bosa or Allen) at #2 and was willing to trade Pick #4 plus Pick #25 in exchange for Pick #2 (roughly equivalent trade value on the Jimmy Johnson chart), I would make that trade. It could mean having to select Clelin Ferrell at #4, but I'm OK with that IF also getting an additional first-round pick ... with which to get a better WR prospect (at #1/25) AND a better CB prospect (at #2/36). However, I would be unwilling to trade down any lower than #4 because (a) we could lose one of the 3 best edge-rusher prospects (completely unacceptable given the need), and (b) the 2019 draft compensation forthcoming from any other team wouldn't be any better than a mid-second-round pick plus change (it would take at least one 2020 pick to balance the trade and we're trying to build a roster NOW) ... that's simply not worth it IMO. At this point in the rebuild I'm interested in quality, not quantity. This will make more sense after reviewing projected changes at the SAM linebacker position.

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Projected Draft Selections

..........................................No Trade.......................................Trade-Down with Oakland

  • Pick #1/2 ...........E Nick Bosa or E Josh Allen
  • Pick #1/4 ..................................................... ............E Josh Allen or E Clelin Ferrell
  • Pick #1/25 ....................................................................WR C.K. Metcalf or WR Hakeem Butler
  • Pick #2/36 .........WR Butler or WR Kelvin Harmon ......CB Trayvon Mullen
  • Pick #3/67 .........OL Andre Dillard ...............................OL Andre Dillard
  • Pick #4/98 .........CB Trevon Diggs ..............................TE Kaden Smith
  • Pick #6/163 .......TE Josh Oliver ..................................ILB Bobby Okereke
  • Pick #6/~200 .....ILB Bobby Okereke ...........................P Mitch Wishnowsky

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So, now let's put it together with the existing roster to form my projected 2019 Final-53 roster. Here is a key as to the source of each member:

  • Projected free agent signings are shown in CAPS ... avoiding wishful thinking, I've selected from among the guys that I believe will actually become free agents; if more than one guy is shown, the preferred is listed first.
  • Projected draftees are shown in italics ... obviously there's a long way to go before realistic prospect rankings clear up; if more than one guy is shown, the preferred is listed first. Expected Round and Pick # are indicated in parentheses.
  • Projected carryovers (including re-signings) from the 2018 roster are shown in plain font. I've limited my comments about released players to the biggest question marks.

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Projected 2019 Final-53 Roster

OFFENSE -- 24 players

Quarterbacks (2): Garoppolo and Mullen or Beathard ... of the later two, the guy beaten out could be traded for a future draft choice or retained on the Practice Squad if he clears waivers. Side Note: There are going to be some good UDFA QBs available after the draft who would fit nicely into Kyle's offensive scheme.

Running Backs (4): McKinnon, Breida, Mostert, and Wilson. Morris and Dayes will be released.

Fullback (1): Juszczyk.

Wide Receivers (6): Retained from the current roster are Pettis, Bourne, Goodwin, and either Taylor or James. Free agent signing of ADAM HUMPHRIES (Tampa Bay) or GOLDEN TATE (Philadelphia). Draftee C. K. Metcalf (Mississippi) [Pick #1/25 -- if trade-down with Oakland], Hakeem Butler (Iowa State) or Kelvin Harmon (North Carolina State) [Pick #2/36 -- if no trade with Oakland]. Garcon will be released. Either Taylor or James will be traded of waived to the Practice Squad.

Tight Ends (3): Kittle will be retained ... duh! But Celek, Dwelley and Wick will be released. Free agent signing of JESSE JAMES (Pittsburgh) or JARED COOK (Oakland). Draftee Kaden Smith (Stanford) [Pick #4/98] or Josh Oliver (San Jose State) [Pick #6/163], depending upon the trade situation.

Offensive Tackles (3): Staley, McGlinchey and Coleman will be retained. Gilliam will be released.

Offensive Guards (3): Tomlinson will be retained and Person will be re-signed. I hope that Lynch will attempt to sign free agent RODGER SAFFOLD (LA Rams) ... if that is successful, Person can be a backup at both OG and C. Draftee Andre Dillard (Washington State) [Pick #3/67].

IF Saffold is signed or if Garnett beats out Dillard, Person can be moved to backup C to replace Eric Magnuson, who will be moved to the Practice Squad. IF Saffold is NOT signed, Person remains at OG with Tomlinson and Dillard and Magnuson remains the backup C. So, the shoot-out will be between Garnett and draftee Dillard ... IF Dillard wins, Garnett will be traded; IF Garnett wins, Dillard will likely replace Magnuson, who will be moved to the Practice Squad.

Centers (2): Richburg is retained. Backup will be Person, Dillard or Magnuson, depending upon whether Saffold is signed and/or how the Garnett / Dillard battle at OG turns out.

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DEFENSE -- 26 players

Nose Tackles (2): D. J. Jones and Sheldon Day we be retained. Mitchell will be released.

Three-Techniques (3): Buckner, Thomas and Street will be retained. Blair will be traded.

Big Ends (2): Armstead and Taylor will be retained.

Weak-Side DEs / LEOs (2): Now it gets interesting ... expectations of a complete turnover ... from famine to feast. Free agent signing of BRANDON GRAHAM (Philadelphia) or DANTE FOWLER (LA Rams). Draftee Nick Bosa (Ohio State) or Josh Allen (Kentucky) [Pick #1/2 -- if no trade] or possibly Clelin Ferrell (Clemson) [Pick #1/4 -- with trade-down]. Marsh will be released.

Why Graham or Fowler? It's simply folly to believe that guys like Lawrence, Clowney, Clark, Ford, and others will not be re-signed by their present clubs ... it simply isn't going to happen. Ansah will be available but, like Jimmie Ward, his injury history and diminishing availability doesn't justify the likely cost. Both Graham and/or Fowler MAY be available because of salary cap issues.

SAM Linebackers (2): Free agent signing of SHAQUIL BARRETT (Denver) or ANTHONY BARR (Minnesota). One of the present SAM linebackers ... Nzeocha, Taumoepenu or Watson ... will be retained as the backup. One of the other two will be retained on the Practice Squad if they clear waivers and still have eligibility and the other will be released.

MIKE Linebackers (2): Free agent signing of C. J. MOSLEY (Baltimore) or PRESTON BROWN (Cincinnati) as starter. Draftee Bobby Okoreke (Stanford) [Pick #6/163 -- if trade-down, or Pick #6/~200 -- without trade]. Coyle will be retained but battle Okoreke for the backup Mike position in Training Camp ... if Coyle wins the battle, Okoreke will be retained on the Practice Squad if he clears waivers; if Okoreke wins, Coyle will be released.

WILL Linebackers (2): Warner will move over from MIKE and start at WILL, for which he is actually better suited. Lee will be retained as the backup. Malcolm Smith will be released.

Strong Safeties (2): Both Tartt and Harris will be retained. Exum will be released.

Free Safeties (2): Colbert will be retained as the backup. Free agent signing of EARL THOMAS (Seattle) or HA-HA CLINTON-DIX (Washington) as the starter. Jimmie Ward will finally be released.

Cornerbacks (7): Sherman, Witherspoon, Moore, K'Waun Williams and Reed will be retained. Free agent signing of RASHAUN MELVIN (Oakland) or ERIC ROWE (New England) or PIERRE DESIR (Indianapolis). Draftee Trevon Diggs (Alabama) [Pick #4/98] or Trayvon Mullen (Clemson) [Pick #2/36 -- if trade-down with Oakland].

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SPECIAL TEAMS -- 3 players

Kicker (1): Gould will be re-signed.

Punter (1): If a draft trade-down with Oakland, draftee Mitch Wishnowsky (Utah) [Pick #6/~200]; else, a free agent or a UDFA will be signed. Pinion, whose performance has diminished and whose cost will increase, will be released.

Long-Snapper (1): Holba will be retained and Nelson will be released because of his suspension.

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Analysis of Projected 53-Man Roster

Re-signings (3) constitute 6% of the projected roster ... 2 on Offense and 1 on Special Teams.

Free Agents (8) constitute 15% of the projected roster ... 3 on Offense and 5 on Defense.

Draftees, (7) if a trade-down, constitute 13% of the projected roster ... 3 on Offense, 3 on Defense, and 1 punter.

Hold-Overs (35) constitute 66% of the projected roster ... 16 on Offense, 18 on Defense, and 1 on Special Teams.

Thus, I expect to see approximately 15 new players on the roster, which represents another 28% turnover of the Final-53 roster ... another step forward from the disastrous roster starting point.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.