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49ers: Predicting the 53-man roster

We will officially know who the members of the 2014 San Francisco 49ers are by Saturday 4pm ET.

In the meantime, we can only play the guessing game.

Throughout the preseason, the positions of greatest importance have been debated and hopefully sorted out, some more than others.

Will the 49ers keep two or even three quarterbacks? How many defensive lineman will make the roster? Will Aldon Smith‘s suspension bear any weight on keeping an extra linebacker?

We’ll know by Saturday, but in the meantime, here’s my projected 53-man roster for our 49ers.

Quarterbacks (2)

Colin Kaepernick and Josh Johnson

Gabbert was far too inconsistent in the preseason, Johnson on the other hand, played for Harbaugh in college and is athletic enough to run the pistol offense that includes set running plays for the QB. This move makes sense.

Running backs and fullbacks (4)

Frank Gore, LaMichael James, Carlos Hyde, Bruce Miller

I loved the way Glenn Winston played and hope he makes it through waivers and becomes part of the practice squad. Four RBs is kind of thin to carry, but the 49ers will do it in favor of special teams.

Wide recievers (6)

Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Stevie Johnson, Bruce Ellington, Quinton Patton, Kassim Osgood

The WR group is very good, much better than last year’s squad. Osgood is too good on special teams to pass up on, so he stays.

Tight Ends (3)

Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald and Derek Carrier

Probably the easiest position to pick for the 49ers.

Offensive Line (8)

Joe Staley, Anthony Davis, Jonathan Martin, Mike Iupati, Adam Snyder, Joe Looney, Daniel Kilgore, Marcus Martin

Once the 49ers take care of the Marcus Martin injury, they’ll add back guard Ryan Seymour, in the meantime, they’ll carry eight lineman. Snyder can play tackle and guard and Looney got reps in at center. 49ers have lineman that can play several positions so they’ll be fine.

Defensive Line (7)

Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Ian Williams, Glenn Dorsey, Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial, Tony Jerod-Eddie

The 49ers can’t move Dorsey to the reserve list with designation to return or even the injured reserve list (gone for the season) until Tuesday, so in the meantime, this is the defensive line, and I love it! 

Linebackers (8)

Patrick Willis, Michael Wilhoite, Chris Borland, Aldon Smith, Corey Lemonier, Dan Skuta, Aaron Lynch and Nick Moody

Aldon Smith is gone for nine games, so the 49ers will use a combo of linebackers as pass rushers, most notably Lemonier, Skuta, and Lynch.

Cornerbacks (6)

Tramaine Brock, Chris Culliver, Darryl Morris, Chris Cook, Dontae Johnson, Kenneth Acker

The rookies are a must keep, Morris is a solid special teams player, and Cook reminds me of Carlos Rogers, not just because they both wore 22, but of their careers paths. They both underachieved before signing with the 49ers, where Rogers turned around everything, hopefully Cook follows suit.

Safeties (6)

Eric Reid, Antoine Bethea, Craig Dahl, C.J. Spillman, Raymond Ventrone, Jimmie Ward

Dahl, Spillman and Ventrone add to special teams, and Ward should be the immediate backup to either starter. He’s better in pass coverage than Dahl is.

Special teams (3)

Andy Lee (punter), Phil Dawson (kicker), Kevin McDermott (long snapper)

The Big 3 return for a second season together.

Other Notable players currently on the 49ers but will not count against the 53-man roster include:

Reserve/PUP list

Navorro Bowman (LB), Garrett Celek (TE) and Kaleb Ramsey (DL)

Reserve/non-football injury

Marcus Lattimore and Trey Millard (RBs), Brandon Thomas (OL) and Keith Reaser (CB)

Reserve/Did not report
Alex Boone (OL)

And there you have it, my 53-man projection. We’ll see how it goes Saturday when the 49ers unveil their official roster. Thoughts?

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