Sakamoto: 49ers 53-Man Roster and 10-Man Practice Squad For 2016, Squad Goals!


The San Francisco 49ers did some wheeling and dealing, as the team maneuvered their way into fielding their best version of 53 players for the upcoming 2016 season. From trading their top special-teams gunner, S L.J. McCray to the rival Seattle Seahawks to acquiring serviceable WR Rod Streater from the Kansas City Chiefs –49ers GM Trent Baalke was a busy man trimming down the roster on final cut day.

If you read my 53-man prediction, than you would know that I had McCray missing the cut. Why? You can read all about that and more here. But back to the 53-man roster. Who made it? Who got the axe? Below is the team’s 53-man squad. So without further ado–your 2016 San Francisco 49ers:

2014: 44/53 = 84%

2015: 49/53 = 92%

2016: 46/53 – 87%


The following players do NOT count against the 53-man roster and are still on team.

Player designation:

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

  • NT Ian Williams

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

  • QB Thad Lewis
  • WR Bruce Ellington
  • WR Eric Rogers
  • CB Will Redmond

Reserve/Suspended List

  • OLB Aaron Lynch


Players Waived/Cut

10-Man Practice Squad


53-Man Roster (Official)

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Quarterback (3)

Prediction: QB Blaine Gabbert, QB Colin Kaepernick

Actual: 49ers decided to keep 3 quarterbacks-including “paint the fence” QB Christian Ponder. 

Pre-53-Man Analysis:

The 49ers stick with at least two quarterbacks to start the season. The uncertain future of Kaepernick is a cause for concern, but unless a “surprise cut” becomes available- what choice do the 49ers have then to declare Kap as the team’s primary backup?


Running Back (3)

Prediction: RB Carlos Hyde, RB Shaun Draughn, RB Mike Davis, RB DuJuan Harris

Actual: Harris was waived/cut

Pre-53-Man Analysis: 

Hyde is clearly Kelly’s workhorse. I’ve been saying since Day 1 that Draughn will be the No. 2 and OC Curtis Modkins echoed that recently. Harris and Davis are too good to leave off the roster as both run hard between the tackles while having the lateral quickness to evade tacklers in space.

All this being said, it appears that rookie RB Kelvin Taylor is the odd-man out, but should return as one of the team’s practice squad players should he clear waivers. 

Update: Harris was eventually added to team’s 53-man roster due to placing third-round pick CB Will Redmond on season-ending IR.

Tight-Ends (4)

Prediction: TE Vance McDonald, TE Garrett Celek, TE Blake Bell, and TE Bruce Miller

Actual: 100% Correct

Pre-53-Man Analysis:

The team appears set at the tight-end position, in my honest opinion. The wild-card here is Miller. He has consistently been praised as a “football” player but where does he fit in? If Kelly is truly taking into account versatility then Miller should easily make the team, as his special-teams presence makes him too good a value to pass up.

UPDATE: Miller has sine been released from team stemming from alleged assault incident.

Wide Receiver (5) 

Prediction: WR Torrey Smith, WR Quinton Patton,WR Jeremy Kerley, WR DeAndrew White, WR Dres Anderson, and WR Aaron Burbridge

Actual: White and Anderson were both final cuts, while team swung a trade for WR Rod Streater in the process. 


Tackles (3)

Prediction: T Joe Staley, T Trent Brown, and T John Theus 

Actual: 100% Correct

Pre-53-Man Analysis:

There is no question that the 49ers will keep behemoth offensive tackle T Trent Brown. At 6-8, 355, Brown is easily the biggest player on the team while showing quick feet for a tackle of his size. In fact, he will be starting Week 1, at least that’s my prediction.


Guards (4)

Prediction: RG Anthony Davis, LG Zane Beadles, G Joshua Garnett, G Andrew Tiller

Actual: 100% Correct

Pre-53-Man Analysis: 

This unit is arguably the team’s strongest link on the offensive side of the ball. Hard to imagine considering the team had to play musical chairs on the inside, the additions of both Beadles and Garnett have quickly turned around a weakness into a strength.



Center (2)

Prediction: C Daniel Kilgore, C Marcus Martin 

Actual: 100% Correct

Pre-53-Man Analysis:

I would honestly rather the team roll with OG/C Alex Balducci but it’s hard for me to imagine the team cutting ties with their second third-round pick (Martin) of the off-season.

Defensive End (5)

Prediction: DE Quinton Dial, DE DeForest Buckner, DE Arik Armstead, DE Ronald Blair, DE Tony Jerod-Eddie

Actual: 100% Correct

Pre-53-Man Analysis: 

The 49ers appear set at the defensive end position for the foreseeable future. D-Fo and Armstead will both be the bookend anchors for years to come. However, the 49ers have a dilemma with oft-injured DE Glenn Dorsey. Do they place him on season-ending injured reserve or do they use the ‘boomerang’ injured reserve designation in hopes he returns at some point during the year? I think the latter is the route they will go in (therefore) Dorsey doesn’t count against 53-man roster.

Nose-Tackle (1)

Prediction: NT Mike Purcell, NT Garrison Smith

Actual: Smith was waived/cut


Purcell will get his opportunity to start in the team’s base package. A player who made a name for himself during last year’s preseason, Purcell will look to tackle on a bigger role in 2016. The 49ers still need a backup in case Purcell goes down to injury, which makes Smith a likely candidate here.

The team could also kick Dial inside to nose tackle, but it appears DLC Jerry Azzinaro wants Dial as one of his anchors setting the edge in run-support.

Outside Linebacker (3)

Prediction: OLB Ahmad Brooks, OLB Eli HaroldOLB Tank CarradineOLB Marcus Rush

Actual: Rush was waived/cut

Pre-53-Man Analysis: 

With Lynch’s four-game suspension looming, that clears the way for Rush to make the roster. One of the team’s best pass-rushers during the preseason, I believe Rush will make the team simply because of his versatility on special-teams. The same can’t be said of Lemonier, who adds little value from both a pass-rushing standpoint and special-teams presence.

Inside Linebacker (5) 

Prediction: ILB NaVorro Bowman, ILB Gerald Hodges, ILB Ray-Ray Armstrong, and ILB Nick Bellore

Actual: All made the team, and so did ILB Michael Wiloite. A player I thought would make it right after announcement of Rush cut.

Cornerback (7)

Prediction: CB Jimmie Ward, CB Tramaine Brock, CB Chris Davis, CB Will RedmondCB Dontae Johnson, and CB Rashard Robinson.

Actual: As if keeping 6 CBs wasn’t enough, the team made way for one more roster spot with CB Keith Reaser

Pre-53-Man Analysis: The team has been adamant in fielding the best 11 players, prompting them to start Ward at cornerback. The surprise here is Davis, who has shown to be the team’s best nickel cornerback throughout the preseason.


Free-Safety (2)

Prediction: FS Eric Reid, FS Marcus Cromartie

Actual: 100% Correct

Strong Safety (2) 

Prediction: SS Antoine Bethea, and SS Jaquiski Tartt

Actual: 100% Correct

Pre-53-Man Analysis: The team appears set here. No analysis needed.

Special-Teams (3)

Prediction: K Phil Dawson, P Bradley Pinion, LS Kyle Nelson

Actual: 100% Correct

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.