We made a 53-man roster projection for the San Francisco 49ers after their second preseason game last week. Nine days later and you’d think this would be getting easier, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s give this another shot.
We’re two games into the preseason, and some players have already burst their roster bubble, while others are seizing their opportunities. There still isn’t much clarity when we get to the offensive line depth or the bottom of the wide receiver chart. Quietly, the backend of the defensive line may be the toughest to pick.
Jerick McKinnon is back on the roster this week. Kyle Shanahan praised C.J. Beathard for his “big-play” ability. He talked him up like he should be the starter. That was all in response to the backup quarterback. I’m going the other way with that and taking it as a no hard feelings, or getting someone to bite on Beathard.
At receiver, I swapped Kendrick Bourne for Richie James. James had two long kickoff returns. Bourne scored a touchdown and showed that he could get open down the field, as well as create after the catch. Deebo Samuel can return kicks, and that’s why James is left off this week.
I feel like once you get to the seventh offensive lineman, it’s a coin flip after that. I kept nine last week, and I’m down to eight this week. You’re not going to reward a player for not stepping up. A former first-round pick is off this week. He hasn’t played, and he hasn’t given me a reason to list him here.
It’s the opposite for the defensive line So many guys are playing their butts off, but there are only so many spots that can be handed out. Kevin Givens played well on Monday, but he’s a practice squad guy in this roster projection. Jay Bromley has performed well and is no rookie, but I don’t see the team carrying a fourth 1-tech. I think they like him, but not that much. I swapped out Damontre Moore for Jeremiah Valoaga. Both are producing, but Moore dislocated his thumb.
David Mayo started, which would indicate he’s higher on the depth chart than the other guys. No Jason Verrett until I see it with my own eyes. Sub in everyone’s favorite “cornerback.” At safety, Antone Exum is out, and Marcell Harris makes the squad. I know Adrian Colbert is a fan favorite, and the injury isn’t his fault, but that couldn’t have come at a worse time, and that leaves him off the roster.
Here is what I have, with the last four in and the last four out, March Madness-style.
QB (2): Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens.
RB (5): Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert, Kyle Jusczcyk. Jerick McKinnon
TE (3): George Kittle, Ross Dwelley, Kaden Smith.
WR (6): Dante Pettis, Trent Taylor, Marquise Goodwin, Jalen Hurd, Deebo Samuel, Kendrick Bourne.
OL (8): Joe Staley, Laken Tomlinson, Weston Richburg, Mike Person, Mike McGlinchey, Ben Garland, Sam Young, Najee Toran.
Edge rusher (6): Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Arik Armstead, Kenatvius Street, Ronald Blair, Jeremiah Valoaga
DT (4): DeForest Buckner, DJ Jones, Solomon Thomas, Sheldon Day,
LB (6): Fred Warner, Kwon Alexander, Dre Greenlaw, Malcolm Smith, David Mayo, Azeez Al-Shaair
CB (6): Richard Sherman, Ahkehllo Witherspoon, K’Waun Williams, DJ Reed, Emmanuel Moseley, Dontae Johnson
S (4): Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt, Tarvarius Moore, Marcell Harris
ST (3): Robbie Gould, Mitch Wishnowsky, Colin Hoba
Last four on: Valoaga, Johnson, Harris, Al-Shaair
Last four off: C.J. Beathard, Damontre Moore, Jay Bromley, Adrian Colbert