Sakamoto: 49ers 53-Man Roster Prediction For 2015

As the San Francisco 49ers try to trim the fat on their current 90-man roster, one has to believe that surprise cuts will ensue. Last year we surprisingly saw three special-teams aces released, and there is no doubt in my mind that more shocking cuts will be in store in 2015. But who is on the ‘bubble’ and who is a ‘lock?’ These are all questions that many Forever Faithful already have or will be debating in the near future.

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Below is my take as I provide my two cents in predicting the team’s 53-man roster. So without further ado, your 2015 San Francisco 49ers roster includes:

USA Today

USA Today


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

Analysis: The 49ers once again stick with two quarterbacks to start the season and there is no question that these two will be with the team. QB Dylan Thompson should be brought back to the team’s practice squad if he clears waivers.

Running Backs

Locks (4): RB Carlos Hyde, RB Reggie Bush, RB Jarryd Hayne, and RB Mike Davis

Bubble Watch (1): RB Kendall Hunter

Analysis: Say what you want about keeping Hunter on the team but it appears that he is on his way out. Hayne’s versatility and potential on special-teams is too good of an asset for the team to overlook while Hunter has yet to partake in live NFL action. And to think the team will waive/release rookie RB Mike Davis instead think again, as GM Trent Baalke has never released a fourth-round pick his rookie season.  




Locks (1): FB Bruce Miller 

Analysis: I believe the 49ers will roll the dice and go with one fullback to start the 2015 season. There just isn’t enough room for two fullbacks making second-year FB Trey Millard a final roster-cut. If Millard clears waivers expect him to be added to the team’s practice squad.

Wide Receivers

Locks (5): WR Anquan Boldin, WR Torrey Smith, WR Quinton Patton, WR Bruce Ellington, and WR DeAndrew White

Analysis: WR Jerome Simpson will likely be placed on the Reserve/Suspended List to start the 2015 season and will NOT count against the team’s 53-man roster.



Locks (4): TE Vernon Davis, TE Blake Bell, TE Vance McDonald, TE Garrett Celek

Bubble Watch (1): TE Busta Anderson

Analysis: The team needs depth at the tight-end position and Anderson may provide what the 49ers are looking for. He is a bigger tight-end who can be a big red zone target for Kaepernick. However, he is not fundamentally sound and runs sloppy routes which makes him a final roster-cut. If Anderson clears waivers expect him to be placed on the team’s practice squad.



Locks (3): T Joe Staley, T Erik Pears, and T Trent Brown

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.



Locks (4): G Alex Boone, G Marcus Martin, G Brandon Thomas, G Jordan Devey

Bubble Watch (1): There is no question that G/C Dillon Farrell will be a solid starter in the NFL. However, it may not be in San Francisco as the team recently traded away TE Asante Cleveland in exchange for Devey.




Locks (1): C/G Joe Looney

Analysis: Until C Daniel Kilgore recovers from his broken leg, it appears that the 49ers will go with Looney at center. He appears to be the only player on the roster capable of handling center duties outside of the versatile Farrell.


Locks (6): DE Glenn Dorsey, DE Quinton Dial, DE Darnell Dockett, DE Tank Carradine, DE Arik Armstead, and DE Lawrence Okoye.

Analysis: It looks like DE Tony Jerod-Eddie will be gone, as I believe the team will keep Okoye as he’s made huge strides this off-season. As for Dial, I thought he would be the starter back in February and it appears that will hold true as he looks poised for a breakout season in 2015.




Locks (2): NT Ian Williams, NT Mike Purcell 

Analysis: Purcell has proved his worth during the team’s first two preseason games and will be the team’s primary backup at nose tackle.

Outside Linebacker

Locks (4): OLB Aaron Lynch, OLB Philip Wheeler, OLB Eli Harold, and OLB Corey Lemonier

Analysis: With Brooks’ possible suspension looming, that clears the way for Wheeler to make the roster.


Inside Linebacker

Locks (4): ILB NaVorro Bowman, ILB Nick Moody, ILB Nick Bellore, and ILB Michael Wilhoite  

Analysis: You can say bye to ILB Desmond Bishop.


Locks (5): CB Tramaine Brock, CB Shareece Wright, CB Dontae Johnson, CB Keith Reaser, and CB Kenneth Acker.

Analysis: The team likes their young cornerbacks and now they will see what they have as both Reaser and Acker are fully healed after red-shirting their rookie seasons.


Locks (3): FS Eric Reid, FS L.J. McCray, and DB Jimmie Ward.

Analysis: The 49ers love McCray’s hitting ability and special-teams presence which is why I believe he will replace SS Craig Dahl on the team’s 53-man roster.

Strong Safety

Locks (2): SS Antoine Bethea, and SS Jaquiski Tartt 

Analysis: The team appears set here. No analysis needed.


Locks (3): K Phil Dawson, P Bradley Pinion, LS Kyle Nelson


The following players do not count against the 53-man roster and will likely be on the team with the following designations:

Player designation:

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

  • G/C Daniel Kilgore

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

  • WR DeAndre Smelter

Reserve/Suspended List

  • WR Jerome Simpson
  • OLB Ahmad Brooks


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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.