I made my roster projections, then we traveled to parts of California where my smartphone was rendered useless before the San Francisco 49ers announced their final cuts. So it wasn’t until I checked my phone at a gas station on Monday afternoon that I saw how many of my 53-man and practice squad predictions/guesses came true.
Despite having far better numbers in the 49ers’ last preseason game, Josh Johnson was cut in favor of Tolzein. That leads me to believe that the decision on QB3 was made before the game against the Chargers. Johnson simply didn’t show much in terms of presence or improvement over the last couple of months, while Tolzein’s ceiling is unknown at this point. Jim Harbaugh seemed to be watching every single QB rep like a hawk during camp; unfortunately he won’t compare players publicly so we’ll never know exactly what tilted his scale in favor of Tolzein.
Clearly I was wrong on Cartwright, as the 49ers were probably never going to carry six running backs plus Bruce Miller. Dixon’s willingness to learn a new position and run harder than perhaps ever before gave him the edge. Cartwright showed nice burst in Week 1 of the preseason, but not much after that. After the 49ers let Blake Costanzo go, we probably had our clue that they were no longer as interested in special teams coverage specialists as they were in 2011.
No surprise here.
Ted Ginn, Jr.
This was by far the biggest surprise to me, although I had a slight inkling Celek might make the squad after watching parts of the last preseason game where he caught 3 passes for 54 yards and a TD (my 53-man projections post was written before that game). Celek was mentioned several times by the reporters at camp; one beat writer who will go unnamed LOVED him, while the rest agreed that Celek had dropped more passes than any other 49ers WR/TE (Vernon Davis wasn’t all that impressed by Celek’s hands early on, either). I really liked Konrad Reuland during camp, although — like the No. 3 QB battle — upside may have been the deciding factor here. Perhaps pedigree (Celek’s older brother Brent has 2,789 yards and 19 TDs over his 5-year career with the Eagles) had something to do with the the 49ers’ decision, as well.
I thought they’d keep Person around until Looney showed he was ready to step in when needed — I guess the Niners feel like Looney’s ready.
Ricky Jean Francois
I wrote that the 49ers might try to sneak Williams on the practice squad, but they clearly didn’t want to take that chance. With Sopoaga and RJF headed toward free agency, Williams gives the 49ers a nice fallback option.
Gooden may have already had a spot locked up anyway, but his first half against San Diego (which included several tackles and a sack) couldn’t have hurt his chances of making the team over Michael Wilhoite.
Haralson’s on IR with a triceps tear suffered in Denver, and now the 49ers hope Clark Haggans can step in, along with others (like Dobbs). Unless he takes a massive paycut in 2013, Haralson probably won’t play another down for the 49ers.
This group has been set for a while. In a related note, I’m expecting HUGE things from Brown this year … as long as Goldson doesn’t launch himself into the sixth-year corner like he did during the NFC Championship Game.
Jones is great in punt/kick coverage, but he isn’t much of a safety. McBath’s experience at the position helped him here, although the 49ers have to be praying that Goldson and Whitner stay relatively healthy this season.
Nothing much needs to be said here.
Eight-man Practice Squad
WR Chris Owusu
WR Nathan Palmer
TE Konrad Reuland
OL Derek Hall
DL Ian Williams
OLB Cam Johnson
ILB Michael Wilhoite
S Michael Thomas
DT Tony Jerod-Eddie
DT Matthew Masifilo
OG Al Netter
OT Kenny Wiggins
The Chargers added Owusu to their practice squad, Reuland was signed by the Jets and placed on their 53-man roster, Williams made the 49ers’ 53-man and the 49ers liked Netter and Wiggins more than Hall.
All in all, I erred on three of the 53-man roster spots, and half of the practice squadders. Hopefully I can do nearly as well when it comes to predicting NFL games against the spread this year.