Jim Harbaugh and his coaches released the 49ers dept chart for the start of the regular season. There were a few surprise starters on offense and defense. Harbaugh went with veterans over younger players at some positions. Overall the depth chart is what I expected even with who is starting at quarterback.
On offense the most notable player position on the depth chart is Michael Crabtree who is listed last at wide receiver. WR’s Joshua Morgan and Ted Ginn Jr. are listed as the starters with Braylon Edwards lining up as the number three receiver in the slot. I thought Edwards would be the number two receiver starting along Morgan but having Ginn on the outside makes sense. He can use his speed to be the deep threat on the outside with Edwards in the slot position. Today Crabtree went through his second straight day of full practice and he is expected to suit up on Sunday. Even if he does Crabtree will be sitting on the sidelines because he has missed all of the preseason with a broken foot. It will be a while before we see any significant playing time from Crabtree.
At center Jonathan Goodwin won the job over Adam Snyder. Snyder struggled along with the rest of the O-line in the preseason but he had a good game against the Raiders. I thought Snyder had played well enough in that game and against the Chargers to start at right guard but Chilo Rachal will be the starter at guard on the right side of the line. Rachal entered training camp 30 pounds lighter and was determined to be the starting right guard. Rachal has played up and down for the 49ers since he was drafted in the second round in 2008. With Rachal coming into training camp lighter and more focused he knows this could be a make or break season.
At running back Anthony Dixon is listed as the number two RB ahead of rookie Kendall Hunter. Hunter had the better preseason than Dixon but both should see plenty of touches during the season. Hunter will spell Frank Gore while Dixon will see most of his carries in short yardage and goal line plays. Another reason why Hunter is listed at number three is because he will be returning kickoffs, if there are any to return with the new rules.
OFFENSE DEPTH CHART
POS First Second Third
WR Ted Ginn Jr. Braylon Edwards
LT Joe Staley Alex Boone
LG Mike Iupati Daniel Kilgore
C Jonathan Goodwin Adam Snyder
RG Chilo Rachal Adam Snyder
RT Anthony Davis Mike Person
TE Vernon Davis Delanie Walker
WR Joshua Morgan Kyle Williams Michael Crabtree
FB Moran Norris Bruce Miller
RB Frank Gore Anthony Dixon Kendall Hunter
QB Alex Smith Colin Kaepernick Scott Tolzien
On defense there were two positions that stood out. Tarell Brown will start at right cornerback beating out last season’s starter Shawntae Spencer. Spencer has been slowed down with a hamstring injury which is why he is not listed as the starter but it will be interesting to see if he can come back from the injury. I think Spencer will be able to contribute to the defense but not as a starter because of the injury.
Dashon Goldson will be the starter at free safety winning the battle over free agent Madieu Williams. Goldson, like Spencer, is suffering from an injury. Goldson has a knee injury that will keep him from playing in the season opener. Williams will start against the Seahawks but if Goldson wants to keep his starting job he needs to play in week two.
Parys Haralson is listed as the starter at outside linebacker over rookie Aldon Smith. Smith showed his ability in training camp and his pass rushing skills in the preseason but Harbaugh went with the more experienced veteran. Smith will be in the mix with Haralson at outside linebacker but I think it is only a matter of weeks before Smith is the starter, like next week.
DEFENSE DEPTH CHART
POS First Second Third
LDT Ray McDonald Demarcus Dobbs
NT Isaac Sopoaga Ricky Jean Francois Ian Williams
RDT Justin Smith Will Tukuafu
OLB Ahmad Brooks
ILB NaVorro Bowman Larry Grant
ILB Patrick Willis Tavares Gooden Blake Costanzo
OLB Parys Haralson Aldon Smith
LCB Carlos Rogers Chris Culliver
RCB Tarell Brown Tramaine Brock Shawntae Spencer
FS Dashon Goldson Madieu Williams Colin Jones
SS Donte Whitner C.J. Spillman Reggie Smith