Predicting 49ers 53-Man Roster, Practice Squad

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Getty Images

As the San Francisco 49ers prepare to mold their 53-man roster many players are already locks to make the team. A team that has more depth than any other NFL franchise, it’s no surprise that roster spots will be at a premium more so than in year’s past. From free-agent signings to a solid rookie draft class, many players will be on the unemployment list once the season begins. Below is my 53-man roster list of “locks” as well as some players who I believe to be on the “bubble.”

So without further ado, my 53-man roster is…

Player designation:

PUP- Physically Unable To Perform (Player does NOT count against 53-man roster until active)

  • ILB NaVorro Bowman

  • TE Garrett Celek

  • DT Kaleb Ramsey 

NFI- Non-Football Injury/illness (Player does NOT count against 53-man roster until active)

  • RB Marcus Lattimore

  • FB Trey Millard

  • CB Keith Reaser

  • G Brandon Thomas

IR- Injured Reserve (Does NOT count against 53-man active roster)

  • RB Kendall Hunter

Reserve/Did Not Report (Does NOT count against 53-man roster)

  • G Alex Boone


Locks (2): QB Colin Kaepernick, QB Blaine Gabbert

Analysis: It seems highly unlikely that the 49ers carry more than two quarterbacks due to roster spots coming at a premium. And with Gabbert all but assured the backup role due to his high salary it’s hard to argue that he won’t be the backup despite his preseason woes.

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Running Back/Fullback

Locks (5): RB Frank Gore, RB Carlos Hyde, RB LaMichael James, FB Bruce Miller, FB Will Tukuafu

The Arizona Republic

The Arizona Republic

Wide Receiver

Locks (6): WR Anquan Boldin, WR Michael Crabtree, WR Stevie Johnson, Quinton Patton, WR Bruce Ellington, WR Brandon Lloyd

Analysis: I think it’s safe to say that Boldin, Crabtree, Johnson, Patton and Ellington are all but assured roster spots. However, the same can’t be said for Osgood and Lloyd. Two savvy veteran football players it will likely come down to one of these two players. The question is, who will that be? In the end, I believe that Lloyd will be the answer as Osgood will likely be cut due to not standing out during the preseason.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images


Locks (2): TE Vernon Davis, TE Vance McDonald




Locks (3): T Joe Staley, T Anthony Davis, T Jonathan Martin

Analysis: There is no question that Martin makes the team. He’s been the primary backup at right tackle all camp while being able to be kicked in to guard due to his versatility.


Locks (3): G Mike Iupati,  G Joe Looney, G Adam Snyder


Locks (2): C Daniel Kilgore and C Marcus Martin



Defensive End

Locks (5): DE Justin Smith, DE Ray McDonald, DE Tank Carradine, DE Quinton Dial, DE Tony Jerod-Eddie



Nose Tackle

Locks (2): NT Glenn Dorsey (Injured reserve/designated to return) NT Ian Williams, and NT Mike Purcell

Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports

Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports

Outside Linebacker

Locks (5): OLB Aldon Smith, OLB Ahmad Brooks, OLB Corey Lemonier, OLB Aaron Lynch, OLB Dan Skuta

Analysis: It seems to me that Lynch is looking more and more like a second-round pick. A draft day steal as Lynch fell to the 49ers in the fifth-round (No. 150), there is no question he has more upside than Lemonier to be a double digit sack artist year in and year out. Look for Lynch to play sparingly on passing situations as he helps fill in for Aldon’s absence.

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Getty Images

Inside Linebacker

Locks (4): ILB Patrick Willis, ILB Michael Wilhoite, ILB Chris Borland, and ILB Nick Moody

Analysis: The 49ers love to keep an abundance of linebackers which makes this part of predicting pretty much a cakewalk. Moody provides a special-teams presence and thus makes the team for the second consecutive year.




Locks (6): CB Chris Culliver, CB Tramaine Brock, CB Chris Cook, CB Dontae Johnson, CB Perrish Cox, and CB Darryl Morris

On the Bubble: CB Perrish Cox, CB Kenneth Acker, and CB Darryl Morris 

Analysis: Both Cox and Acker have shown the ability to be a nice addition to the Niners secondary. Cox filled in admirably during last season’s playoff run as he took CB Carlos Rogers’ spot in the slot while Acker has had a tremendous preseason. Then you mix those players with the stellar play of CB Darryl Morris and you have a hard decision to make. A tough call but I think both Morris and Cox get the nod here due to making the team last season.

Strong Safety

Locks (2): SS Antoine Bethea, DB Jimmie Ward



Locks (3): FS Eric Reid, Raymond Ventrone, C.J. Spillman



K Phil Dawson, P Andy Lee, and LS Kevin McDermott

Practice Squad

CB Kenneth Acker, WR Devon Wylie, ILB Shayne Skov, OL Ryan Seymour, G Al Netter, T Carter Bykowski, S L.J. McCray, TE Derek Carrier, OLB Chase Thomas, and DL Lawrence Okoye

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.