49ers' final 53-man roster projection (with 2023 season around the corner)

Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch are going to be forced into some awfully tough challenges, aren't they.
San Francisco 49ers Offseason Workout
San Francisco 49ers Offseason Workout / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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Fred Warner
San Francisco 49ers Training Camp / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

49ers' Defensive Lineman (10)

EDGE Nick Bosa

DT Javon Hargrave

DT Arik Armstead

EDGE Clelin Ferrell

EDGE Drake Jackson

DT Javon Kinlaw

EDGE Robert Beal, Jr

DE Kerry Hyder

DT Kevin Givens

DL Austin Bryant

This has historically been the position that the 49ers have made the largest unit on the team since head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have been with the franchise. Don't expect anything less in 2023.

For various reasons, the top six guys — Bosa, Hargrave, Armstead, Ferrell, Jackson, and Kinlaw — are locks, while a guy like rookie Robert Beal has done enough that subjecting him to waivers is probably a move the 49ers don't want to make.

Beyond that, injuries have helped make some decisions for the 49ers, leading to guys like veteran utility lineman Kerry Hyder making the team alongside Kevin Givens and free agent Austin Bryant.

Obviously, the biggest thing for this group is getting Nick Bosa signed (a move that is hopefully coming soon), but this is also a unit that the 49ers may look to bolster via a player on the waiver wire or a trade.

49ers' Linebackers (5)

LB Fred Warner

LB Dre Greenlaw

LB Jalen Graham

LB Dee Winters

LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles

In Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw, the 49ers have one of the strongest linebacker pairings in the NFL. And while Azeez Al-Shaair left to be a starter with the Titans, it looks as though the 49ers have drafted well at the position yet again.

Rookies Jalen Graham (7th round pick out of Purdue) and Dee Winters (6th round pick out of TCU) look the part of your prototypical 49ers' linebackers, as both have shown excellent sideline-to-sideline speed and quality pass coverage skills throughout the preseason.

Because of those two young players both taking roster spots, look for the 49ers to add a veteran to the mix alongside them.

That role has gone to Oren Burks on all previous iterations of these projections, but in this case it falls to Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, who wins the tie becasue of the financial situation.

If cut, DFF saves the Niners just $525,000 against the cap while incurring a $1.25 million dead cap hit, while Burks will save San Francisco $2.5 million against the cap this year, albeit with small dead cap hits until 2026 due to void years built into his contract.

49ers' Cornerbacks (6)

CB Charvarious Ward

CB Deommodore Lenoir

CB Samuel Womack

CB Ambry Thomas

CB Isaiah Oliver

CB D'Shawn Jamison

If we're being honest, Isaiah Oliver is staying on this roster because of the financial reprecussions of cutting him: an immediate $1.446 million dead cap hit against $240,000 in cap savings may save the former Falcon's roster spot.

But it doesn't feel like Oliver will slide into the starting nickel corner role as anticipated due to an up-and-down training camp and preseason performance.

Nothing is set, outside of the fact that Charvarious Ward and Deommodore Lenoir will start in some capacity, but Ambry Thomas and Samuel Womack have both made strong cases for playing time.

D'Shawn Jamison cracks the roster because of his versatility as a returner and special teams ace along with showing out early in training camp.

Look for the 49ers to try to keep guys like Qwantrezz Knight and rookie Darrell Luter, who didn't play at all during the preseason, on the practice squad.

49ers' Safeties (4)

FS Tashaun Gipson

SS Talanoa Hufanga

S Ji'Ayir Brown

S George Odum

Keeping a sixth cornerback probably means the 49ers will need to go a little thinner at safety, although you've got to like this group, particularly the play of rookie Ji'Ayir Brown who has shown why the 49ers thought enough of him to make the former Penn State standout their first pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.

The starters are locked in with 2022 All-Pro Talanoa Hufanga seeking to improve on his breakout season and Tashaun Gipson serving as the unit's wiley veteran.

George Odum remains as the team's top special teams ace and a capable backup if called upon.