49ers training camp: Updated bubble watch after opening cuts

Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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George Kittle, 49ers
George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The 49ers trimmed their offseason roster to get down to 80 players, shifting how the remaining roster bubble might look starting training camp.

Under normal circumstances, we’d be talking about the San Francisco 49ers‘ lengthy evaluation of 90 players on their offseason roster.

Yet the 2020 offseason has been anything but normal. And part of the widespread changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been to both eliminate the preseason and require teams to cut their offseason roster sizes from 90 down to 80 players. In many ways, it stinks for those fringe hopefuls who needed a mere chance to prove their value to make the cut. Many won’t even get a sniff of an in-game snap against another NFL squad.

But that’s the reality of the current situation.

The Niners have already made their cuts in advance of the Aug. 16 deadline, waiving some players who were deemed long shots anyway while also designating others on injury lists.

San Francisco waived or released the following players:

  • DL Alex Barrett
  • OL Leonard Wester
  • LB Joey Alfieri
  • CB Jermaine Kelly
  • S Derrick Kindred
  • OL Ray Smith
  • QB Broc Rutter
  • WR Chris Finke
  • DL Willie Henry Jr.

It’s possible the 49ers bring back one or more of these players for the practice squad, which will see an increase to 16 players in light of the pandemic. For now, however, they’re no longer part of the Niners roster.

So, with training camp underway, it’s worth looking at a revised roster bubble watch. Per usual, there are four categories Niner Noise uses to evaluate each player:

  1. Lock
  2. Strong Bubble
  3. Weak Bubble
  4. Long Shot

While nearly all of the above names constituted long shots, there are still a number of other players who could essentially be long shots at the start of camp.

Let’s break those down, as well as the other categories, position by position.

* denotes rookie