49ers’ 2018 Bubble Watch
The big question for any coaching staff, of course, is how to get 90 players down to 53 after the preseason concludes.
This means the bubble watch — which players have the best chances, OK chances, not-so-great chances and no chance.
As we typically do leading up to roster cuts, Niner Noise breaks down the bubble watch into four categories: lock, strong bubble, weak bubble and a long shot.
Here’s each player currently on the roster in their respective categories:
DL Arik Armstead, QB C.J. Beathard, DL DeForest Buckner, TE Garrett Celek, S Adrian Colbert, LB Reuben Foster, QB Jimmy Garoppolo, WR Pierre Garçon, WR Marquise Goodwin, K Robbie Gould, FB Kyle Juszczyk, TE George Kittle, EDGE Cassius Marsh, OT Mike McGlinchey, RB Jerick McKinnon, NT Earl Mitchell, DB Tarvarius Moore, LS Kyle Nelson, WR Dante Pettis, P Bradley Pinion, C Weston Richburg, CB Richard Sherman, LB Malcolm Smith, OT Joe Staley, S Jaquiski Tartt, WR Trent Taylor, DL Solomon Thomas, G Laken Tomlinson, DB Jimmie Ward, LB Fred Warner, CB K’Waun Williams, CB Ahkello Witherspoon
EDGE Jeremiah Attaochu, DL Ronald Blair, WR Kendrick Bourne, RB Matt Breida, OG Jonathan Cooper, LB Brock Coyle, DL Sheldon Day, OG Joshua Garnett, T Garry Gilliam, LB Eli Harold, S Marcell Harris, TE Cole Hikutini, WR Richie James, NT D.J. Jones, OL Erik Magnuson, CB Tarvarus McFadden, RB Raheem Mostert, OL Mike Person, CB D.J. Reed, LB Korey Toomer
WR Victor Bolden, WR Aaron Burbridge, WR Steven Dunbar, DB Antone Exum, CB C.J. Goodwin, DB Chanceller James, DB Don Jones, CB Greg Mabin, OT Pace Murphy, LB Mark Nzeocha, DB Tyvis Powell, WR Aldrick Robinson, EDGE Pita Taumoepenu, DT Jullian Taylor, LB Dekoda Watson, OL Darrell Williams, RB Joe Williams
TE Ross Dwelley, S Corey Griffin, QB Jack Heneghan, FB Malcolm Johnson, OL Alan Knott, OL Andrew Lauderdale, LB Elijah Lee, P Jeff Locke, WR Max McCaffrey, OL Jamar McGloster, RB Jeremy McNichols, CB Emmanuel Moseley, QB Nick Mullens, DL Niles Scott, OL Coleman Shelton, DL Kentavius Street (injured, ACL), OL Najee Toran, TE Cole Wick, S Terrell Williams, RB Jeff Wilson, DL Blaine Woodson
These projections will obviously change between now and the preseason’s conclusion. Players rise or fall, there are always injuries to be wary of and a slew of other factors that could make the bubble watch all the more interesting.
Some of the strong-bubble players should wind up on the 53-man roster. Case in point, it would be weird to see Kendrick Bourne or second-year nose tackle D.J. Jones not make the cut. Same goes with offensive guards Joshua Garnett and Jonathan Cooper. While one will start, the other could easily be a backup. Since there are unanswered questions, though, they have to be included on the bubble.
And, as always, a strong camp and preseason effort could bump some of the weak-bubble or long-shot players higher up the list.