The 49ers will announce their final cuts today at 3 PM, and while leaks of who’s cut and who’s not will probably slip to Twitter before then, I thought I’d throw my name in the hat of those making predictions for the 53-man roster (pretty much everybody). There are some interesting position battles going on with the team right now, and a lot has certainly transpired following Thursday’s drudging of the San Diego Chargers.
So without further ado, here’s who I think the 49ers are keeping:
Quarterback — 3: Colin Kaepernick, Colt McCoy and B.J. Daniels
Running back/Fullback — 5 : Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Bruce Miller and Anthony Dixon
Who’s out: Jewell Hampton, D.J. Harper and Jason Schepler. Hampton is an intriguing player the 49ers will hope to stash on the practice squad, but Dixon’s abilities on special teams and as a backup fullback give him the edge. Harper has simply been unimpressive.
Wide receiver — 5: Anquan Boldin, Kyle Williams, Quinton Patton, Jonathan Baldwin and Marlon Moore
Who’s out: Chuck Jacobs, Kassim Osgood, Chad Hall, Austin Collie and — yes — Lavelle Hawkins. They’ve got some tough decisions to make with a position where few have stood out but many have contributed this preseason. Hawkins has made the decision pretty difficult, but his ability to return punts won’t trump the others’ receiving prowess (Quinton Patton showed he can return punts too). His roster spot will be needed for special teams coverage. Jacobs is a player they’ll hope to slip through the cracks and keep on the practice squad. Osgood is a player who can contribute on special teams, but that’s about it.
Tight end — 3: Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald and Garrett Celek
Who’s out: MarQueis Gray. He’s a player with many abilities but hasn’t stood out enough to steal a spot from a player in a position of more dire need. They’ll try to get him on the practice squad.
Offensive tackle — 2: Anthony Davis and Joe Staley
Who’s out: Practice squad eligible Carter Bykowski and Kenny Wiggins.
Offensive guard/center — 6: Mike Iupati, Alex Boone, Adam Snyder, Joe Looney, Jonathan Goodwin and Daniel Kilgore
Who’s out: Practice squad eligible Patrick Omameh and Wayne Tribue.
Inside linebacker — 4: Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Michael Wilhoite and Nick Moody
Who’s out: Nate Stupar and Joe Holland.
Outside linebacker — 5: Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Corey Lemonier, Dan Skuta and Cam Johnson
Who’s out: Travis Johnson. Skuta’s contributions on special teams can’t be turned down, especially with Osgood likely on the way out. Johnson won a roster spot on Thursday.
Defensive end — 3: Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Tony Jerod-Eddie
Who’s out: Nobody. Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial can both be counted as defensive ends, but both are on the non-football injury list.
Nose tackle — 4: Ian Williams, Will Tukuafu, Demarcus Dobbs* and Glenn Dorsey
Who’s out: Mike Purcell.
Free safety — 3: Eric Reid, Craig Dahl and Michael Thomas
Who’s out: Trenton Robinson. Another disappointing camp for a 49ers’ 2012 draft pick. He could be practice squad bound yet again.
Strong safety — 3: Donte Whitner, C.J. Spillman and Raymond Ventrone
Who’s out: Lavelle Hawkins, basically. Ventrone won’t see any action at safety, but he’ll be an integral part of special teams. He was playing personal protector on punts Thursday.
Cornerback — 5: Tarell Brown, Perrish Cox, Nnamdi Asomugha, Carlos Rogers and Tramaine Brock
Who’s out: Marcus Cooper and Darryl Morris. Both are rookies who have seen no action in preseason. I suspect Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh are hiding them from the rest of the league, and with luck they won’t be claimed on waivers before reverting to the practice squad.
Special teamers — 3: P Andy Lee, K Phil Dawson and LS Brian Jennings
Who’s out: Kevin McDermott. Maybe I’m just being sappy, but I’m not prepared to say goodbye to the longest-tenured 49er just yet.
*Dobbs is suspended for the first game of the season, so although he makes the 49ers’ player count 54, he doesn’t actually count against the 53-man roster until he’s activated from his suspension. They’ll have to cut someone at that point.
Injured reserve — 5: WR Brandon Carswell, CB Chris Culliver, FB/LB Alex Debniak, LB Darius Fleming and S Darcel McBath
Physically unable to perform reserve — 2: WR Michael Crabtree and WR Mario Manningham
Non-football injury reserve — 5: DE Tank Carradine, DT Quinton Dial, RB Marcus Lattimore, OT Luke Marquardt, CB Eric Wright
There’s nothing particularly shocking about my list, short of the 49ers cutting Hawkins. The starting squad is pretty straight forward, and most of the backups I have making the roster got a lot of face time during the second and third quarters of this preseason.
What do you guys think?