49ers initial 53-man roster breakdown

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49ers initial 53-man roster breakdown

The 49ers are down to 53 players.

But will the 53 players they settled on Friday at 6 p.m. be the same 53 players they have on the practice field Saturday at 1:30 p.m.?The claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 9 a.m. So there will still be some roster shuffling around the NFL.RECAP: 49ers transition tracker recap
But at least for a few hours, the 49ers' 53-man roster is the 49ers' 53-man roster.Let's take a closer look, shall we?Quarterbacks (3): Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Scott Tolzien.
Comment -- It's the same depth chart as a year ago, when Kaepernick and Tolzien were rookies. The thing to keep in mind is that the 49ers' coaching staff and personnel department see these players every day for nearly three-hour practices. They also work with them in the classroom. Everybody else gets to see the players only in the exhibition games. Josh Johnson was cut after a good performance Thursday night. But let's remember, he badly overthrew two wide-open receivers in games at Houston and Denver. He threw two touchdown passes Thursday against San Diego. One was a pass at the line of scrimmage that Nathan Palmer turned into a 51-yard score, and the other was a 3-yard toss. I think Tolzien's consistency in practices is what won him the job. And it also doesn't hurt that -- if it was a toss up -- Tolzien is younger and is scheduled to make approximately 300,000 less than Johnson this season.REWIND: 49ers release Josh Johnson; Tolzien wins No. 3 QB job
Running backs (6): Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Brandon Jacobs, LaMichael James, Bruce Miller, Anthony Dixon.
Comment -- Dixon worked his way onto this roster through his play at halfback, fullback and special teams. His willingness to help the team in every area made veteran Rock Cartwright expendable. The other running back spots were clear cut. The only thing that's not clear cut is their exact roles, especially for rookie LaMichael James.Wide receivers (6): Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, Ted Ginn, Kyle Williams, A.J. Jenkins.
Comment -- This was a pretty straight-forward position grouping. Crabtree, Moss and Manningham are the 49ers' top three receivers. Ginn and Williams are the top return men. And Jenkins is a player they can afford to take time to develop.Tight ends (4): Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Demarcus Dobbs, Garrett Celek.
Comment -- Davis and Walker are set. Dobbs doubles as a defensive lineman, but his availability for early in the season is in question due to a calf injury. Celek was the initial surprise. He won a roster spot over Konrad Reuland. Celek is the younger brother of Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek. Garrett had an injury-plagued college career at Michigan State, where he caught 14 passes in his four-year career, including just five for 52 yards in his final two seasons. After dropping his share of passes early in camp, Celek came on strong.
Offensive line (8): Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin, Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Leonard Davis Daniel Kilgore. Joe Looney.
Comment -- The 49ers' backup tackle is also their starting right guard. Boone is the only reserve who plays tackle. He was the swing tackle a year ago. If the 49ers need a tackle, Leonard Davis steps into the lineup at right guard and Boone moves to tackle. If the 49ers need a guard, Leonard Davis is the man. If the 49ers need a center, that's where Kilgore comes in. All indications are that the 49ers will try to bring back Mike Person to the practice squad.Defensive line (6): Ray McDonald, Isaac Sopoaga, Justin Smith, Ricky Jean Francois, Will Tukuafu, Ian Williams.
Comment -- Also, add Dobbs to this list. He's now wearing No. 83, so he'll be listed primarily as a tight end. So the 49ers decided to go heavy with defensive linemen again this season. Williams was on the bubble. He'll begin the season inactive for games as the 49ers have plenty of depth at this position.Outside linebackers (3): Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Parys Haralson.
Comment -- The 49ers could not justify, at this point, retaining a fourth outside linebacker, either Eric Bakhtiari or Ikaika Alama-Francis. Haralson has an undisclosed injury that kept him out of Thursday's game. The 49ers could look to the outside for some help here.Inside linebackers (4): Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Larry Grant, Tavares Gooden.
Comment -- Willis and Bowman were two first-team All-Pros last season. Grant was the player off the sideline to fill-in, and both Grant and Gooden were core special-teams players. Nothing changes.Cornerbacks (5): Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox, Tramaine Brock.
Comment -- Cox played his way onto the roster with a strong offseason program and training camp. It remains to be seen exactly how the 49ers plan to use him, but we'll find out Sept. 9 when the 49ers face the multi-receiver attack of the Green Bay Packers. Brock was up-and-down at cornerback, but he's a very good special-teams player, particularly at gunner in punt coverage.Safeties (5): Dashon Goldson, Donte Whitner, C.J. Spillman, Trenton Robinson, Darcel McBath.
Comment -- Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio never spoke highly of the backup safeties. Last year, the third safety was Reggie Smith. After the season, he and GM Trent Baalke agreed that it would be in Smith's best interest -- and the team's -- for him to test the free-agent market. Smith went to Carolina, and was cut on Friday. Currently, Spillman is the No. 3 safety. McBath earned his way onto the roster at this point with a good camp. Robinson, a sixth-round draft pick, is still developing. The 49ers parted ways with a good special teams player when they traded Colin Jones to Carolina. But Jones offered nothing as a safety. Specialists (3): David Akers, Andy Lee, Brian Jennings.
Comment -- This veteran group of Pro Bowl players was never in doubt. Beginning Saturday at 9 a.m., clubs may establish a practice squad of eight players by signing free agents who do not have an accrued season of free agency credit or who were on the 46-player active list for less than nine regular season games during each of any accrued seasons. A player cannot participate on the practice squad for more than three seasons.Among the strong candidates for positions on the 49ers' practice squad are: receiver Nathan Palmer (or Chris Owusu), linemen Mike Person, Al Netter and Derek Hall, linebackers Michael Wilhoite and Cam Johnson, and safety Michael Thomas.

49ers begin final phase of offseason program

49ers begin final phase of offseason program

The 49ers have graduated back to the phase of the offseason when offense-vs.-defense drills are allowed.

Because of the hiring of Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers were allowed an additional “voluntary” minicamp before the NFL draft. That meant the 49ers were permitted to skip from the two-week conditioning phase of the offseason straight to what is allowed under Phase III.

But after the three-day minicamp in late-April, the 49ers were forced to retreat back to Phase II, when on-field drills but could not include offense vs. defense.

Beginning Monday – and over the next three weeks -- the 49ers can get back to conducting the standard one-on-one, 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 "non-contact" drills. The 49ers have the maximum number of 10 organized team activities scheduled. The official offseason program concludes with a mandatory minicamp scheduled for June 13-15.

The real competition does not begin until the pads go on during training camp. but here’s a look at the team’s most notable offseason competitions (one position you will not find is quarterback, where the depth chart of Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley and C.J. Beathard appears clearly set):

Running back: Carlos Hyde, entering the final year of his original four-year contract, has a lot of competition to hold onto his role as the featured back. He is coming off his most-productive season, finishing just 12 yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark when he sustained a knee injury with one game remaining. Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner lobbied for Utah running back Joe Williams in the draft. They clearly see a fit for him within the system.

Pass-rush end: The 49ers’ pass rush was among the worst in the NFL the past two seasons. Arik Armstead will be given an opportunity to see if he can adapt to the “Leo” position. Aaron Lynch must earn the confidence of the coaching staff and front office. The 49ers added explosive, 243-pound pass Pita Taumoepenu in the sixth round.

Tight end: The 49ers confirmed Vance McDonald was available for a trade during the draft. After finding no takers, the 49ers brought back McDonald and he rejoins the competition among rookies George Kittle and Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

Cornerback: Rashard Robinson is the obvious choice to start on one side. And assuming Jimmie Ward remains at free safety, the 49ers have no other player on the roster who has started a significant number of games at cornerback. Rookie Ahkello Witherspoon, a third-round draft pick, will have a legitimate opportunity to win a starting job, as long as he displays a willingness to stick his nose into the action and play with the requisite level of physicality. Dontae Johnson, Keith Reaser and Will Redmond should also be in the mix to replace Tramaine Brock, who was released shortly after his arrest after an alleged domestic incident last month.

Center: Jeremy Zuttah, a Pro Bowl performer, was added in the offseason via a trade with the Baltimore Ravens. Daniel Kilgore has been the 49ers’ center the past three seasons but injuries have limited him to just 23 starts over that period of time. Zuttah has position flexibility. The 49ers could determine the best thing for the offensive line is to move Zuttah to one of the guard positions – to challenge Zane Beadles or Joshua Garnett -- if he is not clearly better than Kilgore.

Weakside linebacker: The 49ers signed veteran Malcolm Smith on the first day of free agency, providing him with $11.5 million of fully guaranteed money. The 49ers ranked Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster as the No. 3 overall prospect in the draft. They traded up to select him at No. 31 overall. Assuming Foster is ready to compete at the beginning of training camp after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, it appears likely he would line up in that position and compete with Smith. The 49ers’ medical staff does not believe Foster will require any additional surgery, and Foster said he expects to be cleared for the opening of camp.

Barkley continues work with personal coach of Brady, Ryan

Barkley continues work with personal coach of Brady, Ryan

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spent last offseason working with Tom House and Adam Dedeaux on his throwing mechanics.

Ryan went on to set career-bests in completion percentage (69.9), yards passing (4,944), touchdowns (38), interceptions (7) and passer rating (117.1).

New 49ers quarterback Matt Barkley worked with House and Dedeaux for the fourth offseason in Southern California before reporting to Santa Clara for the team’s offseason program.

“Kyle (Shanhan) is on board with what House and those guys are doing – I think, really, because of the year Matt Ryan had,” Barkley said on “The 49ers Insider Podcast” on NBC Sports Bay Area.

“He’s a believer in that. He saw the benefits of what Matt did with some of his drops and the timing on routes, how he changed his feet on some things. So we’re kind of sticking with that plan. Everyone is a little different, but for the most part we’re all on the same page when it comes to what our drops are looking like, our footwork and how the ball is coming out.”

House is a former major league pitcher and pitching coach who founded the 3DQB training facility in Los Angeles. Dedeaux pitched at USC and is the grandson of USC baseball coaching legend Rod Dedeaux. Former NFL quarterback John Beck is a motion mechanics instructor.

Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Alex Smith and Carson Palmer are among the NFL quarterbacks who have worked with 3DQB.

“I believe in those guys and what they’re doing,” Barkley said. “They’re at the top of their game, working with Brady and a bunch of other guys. They’ve helped me.

“He won’t change your throwing motion or really tweak how the ball comes out, but he’s going to try to maximize velocity and ground force production and torque -- a lot of sports science terms. But, really, just maximizing efficiency with your motion and making sure you’re sequencing is right.”

Barkley had never played for Shanahan before signing a two-year contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency. But there are two obvious connections. Barkley’s offensive coordinator last season with the Chicago Bears was Dowell Loggains, Shanahan’s quarterbacks coach in 2014 when Shanahan was the Cleveland Browns’ offensive coordinator. The other connection is House.

"It’s kind of funny, he worked with Atlanta’s staff all of last year, helped Matt Ryan, kind of build his base from the ground up and helped him a lot and he had an MVP year," Barkley said of House.

"There may have been talks down the pipeline, who knows. I don’t think that was the deciding factor by any means, but it never hurts.”