The San Francisco 49ers face the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday in their first exhibition game of the year. You’re kidding yourself if we won’t spend the next handful of days overreacting to what happens. We’re not going to see much of the starters if any. My guess is Jimmy Garoppolo, Kwon Alexander, Jason Verrett, and a handful of other players dealing with minor injuries sit out.
Knowing that we’ll see plenty of players that are fighting for a roster spot, I feel like now is a perfect time to predict the Niners 53-man roster. So, without further adieu, here’s what I think happens:
You have your starter and a guy with upside. I don’t see the value in keeping three quarterbacks, and yes I know Jimmy G is coming off an injury. That extra roster spot could go to somebody that can contribute on special teams. I hope Shanahan gets this one right. How many playoff teams keep three QBs?
Five seems like an awful lot. Something to keep an eye on will be how effective McKinnon is once he returns from the PUP list. If there’s another setback, will the 49ers designate him as an IR candidate so McKinnon can return, or part ways? The other four aren’t going anywhere.
Tight ends not named Kittle haven’t done anything to separate themselves from the pack this camp. Juice can play tight end and special teams, so the 49ers aren’t really losing out on a body here. I think it comes down to Smith and how the team views him as a receiver, compared to Ross Dwelley’s special teams ability.
Kyle Shanahan spoke about the possibility of keeping seven receivers on Sunday. I don’t see it happening, and I’m going against the flavor of the week, which is Richie James. James had an effective few days of practice. Bourne had an effective few games in 2018. It’s tough leaving James off knowing his value on Special Teams, but as an every-down receiver, I’m going Bourne.
It has been a struggle for the tackles during practice. The offensive line as a unit, really. Early on, that’s to be expected. The defense can play fast as they aren’t thinking as much. Garnett was tempting, but I think he’ll continue to get the benefit of the doubt.
Plenty of power in this group with Bosa, Armstead, and Street. Ford brings quickness that the team hasn’t had in some time off the edge, and Blair “wins,” is Robert Saleh would say. One of the younger players will need to jump street if they want to make the roster. Street has the leg up in versatility, though.
Because Arik and Kentavius can bounce inside in a pinch, the 49ers will probably keep four interior linemen. Even then, Solly is going to play outside here and there. Recently signed Jay Bromley is already working in. Julian Taylor is a name to keep an eye on during the preseason.
Six feels like a lot, but Special Teams play a big part of winning football, and Nzeocha and Mayo will make an impact there. If it were me, Smith would be the odd man out, and I’d roll with Greenlaw.
Moseley is a surprise name here. He continues to take advantage of the reps he’s getting. Moseley primarily plays in the slot. He’ll spend the majority of his time covering kicks and punts this season. I believe the top five are locked in. Who plays where and how much will figure itself out during August.
Colbert went from running with the starters to hardly rotating in. His spot could be in jeopardy, but I don’t think he’s going anywhere. Keeping Marcell Harris will be tempting, but I think Colbert can play in the box in an emergency situation, as can
Ideally, we never get to find out how great Wishnowsky is and Gould is only kicking extra points.