Update: After Vic Fangio’s comments during his press conference today, I made a change on the defensive side, adding one player and dropping another I had originally penciled in to make the 53-man roster. I also added the 49ers’ announcement on the 10 moves they made today to get the roster down below the required 75.
After weeks of minicamps, OTAs, training camp practices and three preseason games, the cutdown has begun. Goodbye Scott Tolzien, D.J. Harper, Joe Holland, Al Netter and Colton Schmidt. Longtime 49er Parys Haralson is headed to New Orleans. Ten more players will be released by tomorrow, and the roster will shrink to 53 players on Saturday, Aug. 31. So I figured I might as well join the party and give this roster-projecting thing a try.
Cut/traded: Seneca Wallace
Despite what Jim Harbaugh said last night after giving Colt McCoy more snaps than the rest of the quarterbacks combined, if the 49ers could get a draft pick in return for McCoy they’d jump at the opportunity. Wallace only came in for three plays and two passes (both completed to Jason Schepler) last night, but it says a lot that he played at all after signing with the team just three days earlier. However, the season is just around the corner and the 49ers are probably rolling with McCoy, for better or worse. Since Daniels is the only non-Kaepernick option with upside, he’ll make the team and have an opportunity to seize the No. 2 job by midseason.
Running Back (5): Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Anthony Dixon, Bruce Miller
Cut: Jewel Hampton, Jason Schepler
Hampton had a nice game on Sunday night, rushing eight times for 45 yards and a touchdown. However, Dixon is a valued special teams contributor and isn’t making much more in 2013 than Hampton.
Wide Receiver (5): Anquan Boldin, Kyle Williams, Quinton Patton, Marlon Moore, Jon Baldwin
Cut: Chad Hall, Austin Collie, Lavelle Hawkins, Kassim Osgood, Chuck Jacobs
One could make an argument to keep each of the five wide receivers I’m “cutting” (and I think Jacobs will a practice squad invite). Osgood has value as a special teams player, but since he’s making $940K it’s hard to imagine the 49ers keeping him since he’s a wide receiver who isn’t much of a pass-catcher.
That’s right, four tight ends. Drops have been a problem for Celek throughout camp. He hasn’t shined as a blocker during the preseason, either. Harbaugh often mentions how players often improve drastically from year one to year two, and that doesn’t seem to have happened in Celek’s case. But they’re invested in him and he contributed as a rookie, so that’s why they’ll probably keep him. Gray needs some polish, but he’s big and has taken well to the tight end position. Plus, the former QB has the kind of versatility Harbaugh covets. If the 49ers decide to carry three tight ends, I think Gray will be (and should be) the choice.
Offensive Line (8): Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin, Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Adam Snyder, Daniel Kilgore, Joe Looney
Cut: Carter Bykowski, Kenny Wiggins, Wayne Tribue, Patrick Omameh
No surprises here. As far as the practice squad goes, I’m guessing Bykowski and Tribue are the two who get the nod, but Wiggins has a shot. It would be surprising if the 49ers kept Omameh around.
Defensive Tackle (4): Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Will Tukuafu, Tony Jerod-Eddie
Cut: Lawrence Okoye
Demarcus Dobbs is suspended for Week 1, and when he’s reinstated the 49ers will take a look at Tukuafu and Jerod-Eddie and decide who’s more valuable. Okoye suffered a knee sprain on Sunday. It doesn’t sound too serious, but he’s pretty far away from becoming an NFL contributor. The coaching staff has worked hard to teach Okoye how to play football, and there has been some progress. Okoye may find his way onto the practice squad.
Nose Tackle (2): Ian Williams, Glenn Dorsey
Cut: Lamar Divens, Mike Purcell
Williams and Dorsey have proven to be a pretty good 1-2 combo (or 1-1a, if you prefer). Purcell has an outside shot, but Divens didn’t even play against the Vikings.
Outside Linebacker (5): Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Corey Lemonier, Dan Skuta, Cam Johnson (new addition)
The 49ers traded Parys Haralson to the New Orleans Saints for a conditional seventh round pick, a move designed to shed over a million dollars and open things up for Lemonier and Skuta. Many NFL observers really like Johnson, who hurt his shoulder on Sunday. But compared to the others, Johnson didn’t seem to make much of an impact throughout August.
Update: Vic Fangio complimented all three backup outside linebackers today, including Johnson.
“Cam Johnson, who was our seventh round pick the year before — Cam’s a lot better player this year than he was last year. He’s made tremendous strides physically, mentally, emotionally. He’s light years ahead of where he was last year at this time,” Fangio said.
Inside Linebacker (4): Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Michael Wilhoite, Nick Moody
Cut: Nate Stupar, Travis Johnson
Stupar is dealing with an injury that has kept him out of action since the Chiefs game. Johnson — a former San Jose State Spartan, as many of you know — was signed in the middle of training camp. Whichever player doesn’t get snatched up by another team will be on the 49ers’ shortlist if one of any of the four ILBs on the 53-man get hurt.
Cut: Darryl Morris, Marcus Cooper (new subtraction)
Cooper’s size gives him the nod over the speedy Morris.
Update: With Johnson probably on the team I had to remove someone, and Cooper was the unlucky guy (hope he can somehow get over this). My guess now is that the 49ers will put Cooper on the practice squad if he goes unclaimed by another team, and if another team grabs him they’ll go with Morris on the PS.
Safety (5): Donte Whitner, Eric Reid, C.J. Spillman, Craig Dahl, Trenton Robinson
Cut: Michael Thomas, Bubba Ventrone
Thomas dropped a sure interception on Sunday night, but he could still make the squad due to his versatility (they’ve tried him out as a slot corner during practice). Some are wondering whether Ventrone will make the team as a special teams guy, but he didn’t play a snap on special teams during the preseason and isn’t going to see any time as a safety.
Special Teams (3): Phil Dawson, Andy Lee, Brian Jennings
Cut: Kevin McDermott
Harbaugh said the competition between Jennings and McDermott was “very, very even” on Friday, but Jennings has been snapping to Lee for a long time. So I figured there was no way Jennings would get cut … and then the 49ers dealt Haralson. I still think Jennings will make the team, but it seems like McDermott has a better shot now than I would’ve assumed before the Haralson trade.
Updated: Tuesday’s Roster Moves (49ers release)
The San Francisco 49ers today announced they have placed DT Tank Carradine, DT Quinton Dial, RB Marcus Lattimore, T Luke Marquardt and CB Eric Wright on the Reserve/NFI List.
The team has also announced that WR Michael Crabtree and WR Mario Manningham will be placed on the Reserve/PUP List.
Players on both lists do not count against the 49ers active roster, and will not be eligible to practice until at least the Tuesday following the completion of week six of the NFL schedule.
The 49ers have also placed CB Chris Culliver on the Injured Reserve List. DT Lamar Divens and DT Lawrence Okoye have been waived/injured.
The 49ers roster currently stands at 74.
Culliver is now officially out for the season, and Okoye gets a chance to stick around, get paid and possibly come back next year and get a shot. One has to imagine the 49ers will part ways with Divens, who got in that altercation that led to Ahmad Brooks hitting him in the head with a beer bottle.
Fangio made it sound like he was under the impression that the NFL had come out and said Brooks would not be suspended for that incident. The Santa Clara District Attorney decided not to pursue charges against Brooks for the incident, stating that the case was filed prematurely and, “The totality of the circumstances demonstrates that the charge cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to twelve jurors.”