Updated: 49ers roster analysis after quiet day on waiver wire

San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly, left, talks to 49ers general manager Trent Baalke during the first day of training camp at the San Francisco 49ers practice facility in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, July 31, 2016. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke have hatched their first 53-man roster. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Over half the NFL’s team claimed roster scraps off the waiver wire Sunday. But not the 49ers, who stood pat with the initial, 53-man roster they crafted Saturday, with sights squarely set on their Sept. 12 opener against the Los Angeles Rams.

“The right 53 is what we were trying to get,” coach Chip Kelly said Saturday. “Hopefully we continue to grow as we get ready to play the Rams with this group of guys.”

This group includes three quarterbacks: starter Blaine Gabbert, top backup Colin Kaepernick, and No. 3 Christian Ponder.

Rookie Jeff Driskel was the odd-quarterback out, a sixth-round draft pick who got claimed Sunday by the Cincinnati Bengals. Also claimed were wide receiver Bryce Treggs (Philadlephia Eagles), outside linebacker Corey Lemonier (Cleveland Browns) and nose tackle Garrison Smith (Seattle Seahawks).

Before Kelly announced Saturday that Gabbert would start over Kaepernick, general manager Trent Baalke said last month he would distance himself from that call, as would be the case with other depth-chart issues.

“I’m not going to sit in there and pick who each starter is, regardless if it’s the quarterback,” Baalke said Aug. 17. “How much clearer can I make it? The head coach is in charge of making those decisions. But we work hand in hand to make the best decisions.”

It was up to Kelly to explain Saturday’s roster instead of Baalke, who wields ultimate personnel power, as has been the case since 2010. Kelly sounded comfortable with the roster rationale, a positive sign that the first-year coach remains in a honeymoon period with the embattled general manager, whose seen too few of his draft picks develop into stars.

Here is how their roster looks by position:

Quarterbacks (3): *Blaine Gabbert, Colin Kaepernick, Christian Ponder. Analysis: It’s a trifecta of 2011 draft picks, led by the one drafted highest, Gabbert (No. 10 overall). He may lug a 8-27 all-time as a starter, but Gabbert enters this season with an air of confidence, as if his record is 27-8. Kaepernick’s national-anthem protest aside, he’ll be background noise, unless Gabbert falters with a rough opening schedule. Ponder’s experience is handy, especially if things go sideways – or financial feuds come into play — between Kaepernick and the 49ers brass.

Running backs (3): *Carlos Hyde, Shaun Draughn, Mike Davis. Analysis: Hyde, their workhorse and projected catalyst, remains in the league’s post-concussion protocol, but he’s expected to play Week 1, Kelly said. Draughn is a versatile backup, and Davis rebounded well from a flat rookie year. Not much depth here, after the 49ers burned through nine running backs in an injury-plagued 2015.

Wide receivers (5): *Torrey Smith, *Quinton Patton, Jeremy Kerley, Rod Streater, Aaron Burbridge. Analysis: Baalke emphasized last month how hard it is for young receivers to acclimate to the NFL, and this past month proved that, as he jettisoned all prospects but Burbridge (drafted No. 213 overall in April). Smith and Patton won’t be coveted by fantasy-football owners unless Gabbert dares to take more chances than usual. Kerley, a slot receiver, and Streater,  an outside option, must mesh fast after last week’s trades.

Tight ends (4): *Garrett Celek, *Vance McDonald, Blake Bell, Bruce Miller. Analysis: Vernon Davis carried this unit for so many years, and now it’s up to Celek and McDonald, with assists from Bell and Miller, who’s converted from fullback.

Offensive line (9): *LT Joe Staley, *LG Zane Beadles, *C Daniel Kilgore, *RG Anthony Davis, *RT Trent Brown, G Joshua Garnett, G Andrew Tiller, C Marcus Martin, OT John Theus. Analysis: This appears a much stouter group from recent, feeble years. Only Staley remains from last season’s opening-day lineup. Davis’ switch from right tackle to right guard (and possibly swing tackle) is remarkable after his 2015 hiatus. Garnett, a first-round draft pick, could spring into action sooner than later at left guard.

Defensive line (7): *DT Arik Armstead, *DT Quinton Dial, *DT DeForest Buckner, DL Glenn Dorsey, NT Mike Purcell, DT Tony Jerod-Eddie, DT Ronald Blair. Analysis: Time to see what the 49ers got with their top picks from the past two drafts, Armstead and Buckner, 6-foot-7 towers out of Oregon. Dorsey’s return from an ACL tear is a big question mark, as in whether he’ll be ready for Week 1, which Dial (knee) might not be.

Outside linebacker (3): *Ahmad Brooks, *Eli Harold, Tank Carradine, (Aaron Lynch). Analysis: Lynch is suspended the first four games, so the 49ers need Harold and Carradine to fill that void, and hope the 32-year-old Brooks can reach his goal of double-digit sacks for the first time in his career.

Inside linebacker (5): *NaVorro Bowman, *Gerald Hodges, Ray-Ray Armstrong, Michael Wilhoite, Nick Bellore. Analysis: Bowman looks far healthier than a year ago as he launched a stirring comeback that paid off with the NFL’s tackle title. Who’ll be next to him? It’s still a mystery, though fellow Penn State product Hodges could be the favorite. Armstrong is athletic and versatile while Wilhoite and Bellore are at least special-teams cogs.

Cornerback (7): *Tramaine Brock, *Jimmie Ward, Keith Reaser, Chris Davis, Dontae Johnson, Will Redmond, Rashard Robinson. Analysis: Ward, their 2014 draft’s top pick, takes on a full-time role at a new spot on the outside after playing nickel back. It’s a deep unit but still very unproven and unthreatening, for now.

Safety (4): *Antoine Bethea, *Eric Reid, Jaquiski Tartt, Marcus Cromartie. Analysis: Reid plans to play with a torn ligament in his thumb while Bethea looks to revert to the 2014 form that earned him team MVP honors from coaches. Tartt is an up-and-comer.

Specialists (3): K Phil Dawson, P Bradley Pinion, LS Kyle Nelson. Analysis: Same group as last year.

Injured reserve: WR Bruce Ellington, QB Thad Lewis, WR Eric Rogers, WR DeAndre Smelter, NT Ian Williams (reserve/non-football injury).

Practice squad (as announced Sunday): Outside linebacker Marcus Rush, wide receiver Dres Anderson, running back Kelvin Taylor, tight end Je’Ron Hamm, cornerback Prince Charles Iworah, linebacker Shayne Skov and offensive linemen Alex Balducci, Fahn Cooper and Norman Price. The final spot is likely ticketed for Chris Harper, a former Cal and New England Patriots wide receiver.

The post Updated: 49ers roster analysis after quiet day on waiver wire appeared first on 49ers Hot Read.

Full article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *