49ers post-minicamp 53-man roster predictions with depth chart

San Francisco 49ers Offseason Workout
San Francisco 49ers Offseason Workout / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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Drake Jackson
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49ers Defensive Lineman

EDGE Nick Bosa

DT Javon Hargrave

DT Arik Armstead

EDGE Drake Jackson

EDGE Clelin Ferrell

EDGE Robert Beal, Jr

DT Kalia Davis

DT Kevin Givens

DE Kerry Hyder

DT Javon Kinlaw

As has always been the case during the Lynch/Shanahan regime, the defensive line is the largest unit on the roster. Fielding 10 may not even be enough, as this list leaves off a guy like Austin Bryant, who could be looking to make a statement on a one-year deal, as well as T.Y. McGill, who has shown himself to be a useful depth piece in the past.

The starters, barring a late free-agent signing or trade, seem set with Nick Bosa, Javon Hargrave, Arik Armstead, and Drake Jackson, although there is probably an opportunity for someone to take the other edge-rusher role opposite the reigning Defensive Player of the Year away from the second-year pro.

There's no doubt the 49ers would like Jackson to win the role, but he'll have to do just that: win it.

Depth is key for this group, even if the top end is better than it was in 2022, mostly on the strength of adding Hargrave to the mix. And, like in past years, they are relying on a combination of unheralded but solid rotation pieces (Kevin Givens, Kerry Hyder) and one-year reclamation projects (Clelin Ferrell) along with some unproven yet talented young guys (Kalia Davis, Robert Beal).

And then, of course, there's the Javon Kinlaw question. This is probably his last year with the 49ers, after the team declined his fifth-year option, meaning he'll be playing to earn another contract in 2023. Health has been an issue, yes, but he's also looked overmatched when has been on the field.

Kinlaw is unlikely to be cut because it a) provides the team no cap savings and b) leaves his $4.9 million cap hit on the books, but that doesn't mean he'll just earn a role on the team.

He'll be an interesting one to watch as training camp and the preseason progresses.

49ers Linebackers

MLB Fred Warner

WLB Dre Greenlaw

SAM Oren Burks

LB Dee Winters

LB Marcelino McCrary-Ball

Like other places on the roster, the starting roles for Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw are as entrenched as any on the team. The question becomes two-fold: who is the third "starter" and who else slides in as depth/core special teams players.

When either Azeez Al-Shaair or Greenlaw missed time last year, Oren Burks was often the next man up, so he'll get the benefit of the doubt for now, but expect a lot of competition for that role.

Among the names to watch are rookies Dee Winters and Jalen Graham along with veteran guys like Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Marcelino McCrary-Ball, and Curtis Robinson.

For now, we'll go with Winters, a tackling machine out of TCU who could prove to be an excellent special teams guy because of that skill, and McCrary-Ball, a guy the 49ers liked enough to keep around until the last minute last year and then bring back on a future's contract at the end of 2022.

But it could shake out in multiple ways in those spots.