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19 thoughts on the initial 53-man roster

The good, the bad, and the what were they thinking?

Los Angeles Chargers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers announced their initial 53-man roster on Tuesday with few surprises. The 53-man roster will already be different on Wednesday with potential waiver wire claims and even the 49ers bringing a player or two back they cut on Wednesday.

With many changes in the coming weeks and months, these are my initial 19 thoughts on the 49ers’ initial 53:

  • Something that got lost in the whole QB2 drama was Brock Purdy’s quick recovery. Sam Darnold was signed in March to be Purdy’s replacement - er, I mean to compete with Trey Lance to be Purdy’s temporary replacement while he recovered. Early thoughts after the injury had Purdy potentially missing the 2023 season.
  • The best-case scenario for the 49ers is that this is the last time Darnold’s name is notable.
  • The running back room is as expected, with Jack Colletto being one of the more prominent names to watch from those cut to sign with the practice squad. Colletto lined up in the backfield, out wide, and in the slot during the preseason.
  • Ronnie Bell earned his spot on the roster with his impressive preseason. The nickname Diet Deebo has been floated on Twitter. It’s hard to think of a better player compared to as a seventh-round rookie trying to make an NFL roster for the first time.
  • With Ray-Ray McCloud and Danny Gray injured, the 49ers must bring another receiver in if either or both go on the IR. Tay Martin was waived and is a practice squad candidate, or could the 49ers bring back Chris Conley, who has NFL experience and played well in the preseason.
  • Four tight ends are the most kept on the 49ers’ initial 53-man roster since 2020. Brayden Willis was the surprise choice, with just two receptions in three preseason games.
  • There was some thought that Brandon Allen would be among those cut. If that happened, Trent Williams would have been my pick for the emergency third quarterback.
  • Ilm Manning was a popular sleeper pick to make the 53-man roster but the 49ers hope he clears waivers to place on their practice.
  • On the other side of the coin, Nick Zakelj made the roster despite his five penalties called in three preseason games.
  • The eight defensive linemen kept are the fewest on the initial 53-man roster in the Shanahan era.
  • However, the key word being initial as Kerry Hyder and Austin Bryant, who were cut on Tuesday, are expected to sign with the 49ers on Wednesday with some potential IR moves.
  • As expected, Nick Bosa is on the reserve list with his ongoing contract discussions. Everything is definitely fine here; don’t read into it too much and definitely DO NOT search about Bosa on Reddit.
  • Good to see Kalia Davis after missing all of his rookie season due to injury.
  • Remember when Fred Warner wore No. 48?
  • Both rookie linebackers made the 53-man roster as the 49ers continue to strike gold in drafting linebackers.
  • Isaiah Oliver received the vote of confidence after a shaky preseason might have cost him the starting nickel cornerback spot. The 49ers cut Qwuantrezz Knight and D’Shawn Jamison, leaving Oliver and Deommodore Lenoir as the only two nickel spots.
  • Charvarius Ward is a known entity, but there’s a lot of pressure on Ambry Thomas or Samuel Womack - whoever earns CB2 - to perform. Either will likely be targeted plenty with Ward on the opposite and the 49ers don’t have any leeway behind the young cornerback duo.
  • Hufanga, Gipson, Odum, and Brown. Chalk.
  • The 49ers might have missed out on recouping a draft pick with Zane Gonzalez with the amount of kicker trades that happened on Tuesday.