Inaugural 49ers 53-man roster prediction with 2024 NFL Draft now complete

It's never too early to think what the 49ers roster might look like going into the 2024 season. With the NFL Draft smog clearing, let's take a look at what the 53 might look like.
The decision makers in San Francisco.
The decision makers in San Francisco. / Chris Unger/GettyImages
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The Skill Positions

Running Backs

Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell, Jordan Mason, Isaac Guerendo, Kyle Juszczyk (5)

There's actually very little intrigue here, despite the surprise selection of Isaac Guerendo via trade up on Saturday. The 49ers have continually valued running back depth, and now have given themselves four very different skill sets to choose from going into the season.

The only question might be if head coach Kyle Shanahan will allow that depth to show itself, given his reluctance to take McCaffrey off the field.

Outside of that, Juszczyk looks a total lock to make the roster yet again. There's no competition for his spot on the roster, and he's continually been one of the most reliable 49ers in previous years. I'm sure taking a pay cut didn't harm him either.

Wide Receiver

Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, Jauan Jennings, Ricky Pearsall, Jacob Cowing, Chris Conley (6)

From a position of need a month or so ago to one of the most crowded positions on the 90-man roster, the 49ers' decision to invest two draft picks at the position certainly insulated them against the stark reality of having a top three at this position with contract issues of various kinds.

Despite all the rumors, not having traded Aiyuk nor Samuel in the draft ensures that all three come back here.

The two draft picks stick as well. Cowing as much for his versatility and ability to offer something different as much as anything else, given his jitterbug-like size and ability versus man coverage.

The debate then stretches to how many of the 11 wideouts currently on the roster the 49ers will seek to keep. I've plumped for six, with Chris Conley's veteran wiles and coaching staff favouritism beating out Ronnie Bell, but seven is a possibility if one can stand out on special teams, particularly given the hole left at returner by Ray-Ray McCloud's departure.

Of those provisionally cut, Ronnie Bell and Danny Gray in particular need huge offseasons to win the coaching staff over, while Tay Martin and Trent Taylor look likely to make up the numbers. Terique Owens feels like an extreme long shot but a possible practice squad candiate if he can flash in training camp.

Tight End

George Kittle, Eric Saubert, Brayden Willis (3)

This might now be the 49ers' weakest skill position. Kittle continues to amaze and will no doubt have another excellent season, injuries permitting, but the depth behind him is...well, there isn't any.

As it stands, veteran free-agent Saubert and last year's seventh-rounder, Brayden Willis, get the nod, partly due to actual in-game experience. To be honest, though, it's wide open for someone not only to claim a third roster spot here, but possibly claim the No. 2 tight end job, given the paucity of talent behind Kittle.

The team will be hoping Cameron Latu is the man to step up, but based on Kyle Shanahan's comments about him in the post-draft presser, he's an uphill struggle to make an impact. Could he be another wasted third round choice?