Breaking down the 49ers' 53-man roster entering Week 1


Breaking down the 49ers' 53-man roster entering Week 1

The 49ers open the regular season on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers at Levi's Stadium. And after a weekend of cuts and one waiver claim, here is how their 53-man roster shapes up at the beginning of the regular season:

Quarterback (2)
C.J. Beathard*
Brian Hoyer
There was never a question from the moment the 49ers targeted and signed Hoyer on the first day of free agency that he was the starter. Beathard beat out Matt Barkley for the backup job, but Barkley is only a phone call away in case he is needed due to an injury. The 49ers also have undrafted rookie Nick Mullens in the building to serve on the practice squad.

Running back (4)
Matt Breida*
Carlos Hyde
Kyle Juszczyk
Raheem Mostert
Hyde was the No. 1 running back all along, a status he strengthened during training camp when he reported in great shape. At 228 pounds, he said it’s the lightest he has been since high school. Breida, an undrafted rookie from Georgia Southern, clearly outperformed fourth-round draft pick Joe Williams, whom the 49ers placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury. “Carlos is going to be featured in this deal, but Matt Breida is very much a part of our plans,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. Mostert figures to be a core special teams player. The 49ers could also re-sign veteran Tim Hightower if they need help at any point in the season.

Wide receiver (6)
Victor Bolden*
Kendrick Bourne*
Pierre Garçon
Marquise Goodwin
Aldrick Robinson
Trent Taylor*
The 49ers retained six wide receivers, and their leading receiver from a year ago is not one of them. The new 49ers regime signed Jeremy Kerley to a contract extension in March – before they began adding the six receivers who ended up making the 53-man roster. Garçon and Goodwin are the starters, and Taylor takes over in the slot. Bolden and Bourne, both undrafted rookies, played their way onto the roster with their play on offense and special teams.

Tight end (3)
Garrett Celek
George Kittle*
Logan Paulsen
The trade that sent Vance McDonald to the Pittsburgh Steelers all but assured these three players of their spots on the 53-man roster. Kittle, a fifth-round draft pick, had a good offseason program and training camp. He could be in line to open the season as the starter, ahead of the two veterans. Paulsen is considered a blocking specialist.

Offensive line (9)
Zane Beadles
Trent Brown
Brandon Fusco
Garry Gilliam
Daniel Kilgore
Erik Magnuson*
Joe Staley
John Theus
Laken Tomlinson
The 49ers did something about their shortage of guards on Thursday with the acquisition of Tomlinson in a trade with the Detroit Lions. It will be difficult for Tomlinson to win a starting job for Week 1, but it appears as if Beadles’ spot at left guard is the most vulnerable. Fusco is the starter at the other guard spot. The 49ers feel secure with left tackle Joe Staley, right tackle Trent Brown and center Daniel Kilgore. Joshua Garnett, a first-round pick in 2016, will spend the entire season on injured reserve after undergoing knee surgery.

Defensive line (10)
Arik Armstead
DeForest Buckner
Tank Carradine
Xavier Cooper
Elvis Dumervil
D.J. Jones*
Aaron Lynch
Earl Mitchell
Pita Taumoepenu*
Solomon Thomas*
As training camp wound down, the 49ers had three defensive tackles competing for one backup job behind Buckner. In the end, the 49ers cut Quinton Dial and Sen’Derrick Marks, and placed Chris Jones on injured reserve. The 49ers claimed Cooper, a 2015 third-round pick of the Cleveland Browns, off waivers to replace all of them. Carradine, Mitchell, Buckner and Armstead appear to comprise the line on base downs. There will be a significant role for Thomas, the No. 3 overall pick. Pass-rushers Dumervil and Lynch also figure into the rotation.

Linebacker (6)
Ray-Ray Armstrong
NaVorro Bowman
Brock Coyle
Reuben Foster*
Eli Harold
Dekoda Watson
The combination of Harold and Watson convinced the 49ers that Ahmad Brooks was expendable at the strong-side linebacker position. The 49ers feel very good about Bowman and Foster on the inside. Foster, who might already be the team's most dynamic player, has made a strong case to remain on the field for all of the 49ers’ defensive packages.

Cornerback (5)
Dontae Johnson
Keith Reaser
Rashard Robinson
K'Waun Williams
Ahkello Witherspoon*
Robinson and Johnson convincingly won the starting jobs on the outside. And Williams may have come through with the best camp of any of the 49ers’ defensive backs. But after those three, there are some question marks. Reaser won the job over veteran Asa Jackson, who will remain with the club on a practice squad exemption. Witherspoon, a third-round draft pick, is worth developing.

Safety (5)
Adrian Colbert*
Lorenzo Jerome*
Eric Reid
Jaquiski Tartt
Jimmie Ward
Reid and Ward are big keys to Robert Saleh’s defense. While Reid looked good in his role as a box safety, there remain questions surrounding Ward. He sustained a hamstring injury during the conditioning test on the eve of training camp and has yet to fully recover. It is unclear if Ward will be available for the opening of the regular season. Tartt or Jerome would fill in at free safety if Ward is not cleared to play.

Specialists (3)
Robbie Gould
Bradley Pinion
Kyle Nelson
Gould has big shoes to fill, as he takes over for Phil Dawson, who now kicks for the Arizona Cardinals. Pinion is expected to make a big jump in production in his third season on the job.

Injured reserve
DL Ronald Blair (designated to return)
WR Aaron Burbridge
G Joshua Garnett
LB Jimmie Gilbert*
CB Prince Charles Iworah
DB Chanceller James*
WR B.J. Johnson*
DT Chris Jones
DB Don Jones
LB Donavin Newsome*
CB Will Redmond
LB Malcolm Smith
RB Joe Williams*


Roger Craig, Terrell Owens, John Lynch among Hall of Fame semifinalists


Roger Craig, Terrell Owens, John Lynch among Hall of Fame semifinalists

Former 49ers running back Roger Craig, in his final year on the modern-era ballot, is a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the 10th consecutive year.

Craig is among 27 semifinalists announced for the Class of 2018. The list includes six first-year eligible candidates and four other players who have been eligible previously but are semifinalists for the first time.

Wide receiver Terrell Owens and safety John Lynch, currently 49ers general manager, are among the return semifinalists. Lynch was among the final 10 players last year, while Owens made it to the top 15.

The list of first-year eligible semifinalists includes wide receiver Randy Moss, defensive back Ronde Barber, guard Steve Hutchinson, linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, and defensive lineman Richard Seymour.

The four previously-eligible players who are semifinalists for the first time are safety LeRoy Butler, defensive ends Leslie O’Neal and Simeon Rice, and cornerback Everson Walls.

In January, the list of modern-era candidates will be trimmed to 15 individuals. There will be a total of 18 finalists, including contributor finalist Bobby Beathard and seniors finalists Robert Brazile and Jerry Kramer. Hall of Fame rules stipulate from four to eight new members will be selected every year.

Beathard, Brazile and Kramer will be voted on separately and, like all other finalists, must receive 80-percent approval from the full selection committee at the annual selection meeting on Feb. 3, 2018 in Minneapolis, the day before Super Bowl LII.

Craig's teams made it to the playoffs in each of his 11 NFL seasons, including his first eight years with the 49ers. In 1985, he became the first player in NFL history with 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season.

Owens, who played his first eight seasons with the 49ers, was a first-team All-Pro performer six times. He ranks second all-time in receiving yards (15,934) and third with 153 receiving touchdowns.

Lynch, a hard-hitting safety with Tampa Bay and Denver, was selected to nine Pro Bowls in his 15-year career. He recorded 26 interceptions, forced 16 fumbles and recovered nine in his career.

Steve Atwater, S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2012-18)
Ronde Barber, CB/S – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Tony Boselli, T – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve) | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2016-18)
Isaac Bruce, WR – 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
LeRoy Butler, S – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 10 – 2005, 2010-18)
Roger Craig, RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings | (Times as a Semifinalist: 10 – 2009-18)
Brian Dawkins, S – 1996-2008 Philadelphia Eagles, 2009-2011 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2017-18)
Alan Faneca, G – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2016-18)
Torry Holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Steve Hutchinson, G – 2001-05 Seattle Seahawks, 2006-2011 Minnesota Vikings, 2012 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Joe Jacoby, T – 1981-1993 Washington Redskins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2005, 2008, 2013-18)
Edgerrin James, RB – 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Jimmy Johnson, Coach – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2014-18)
Ty Law, CB – 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005, 2008 New York Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Ray Lewis, LB – 1996-2012 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
John Lynch, FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2013-18)
Kevin Mawae, C/G – 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Karl Mecklenburg, LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2012-18)
Randy Moss, WR – 1998-2004, 2010 Minnesota Vikings, 2005-06 Oakland Raiders, 2007-2010 New England Patriots, 2010 Tennessee Titans, 2012 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Leslie O'Neal, DE – 1986, 1988-1995 San Diego Chargers, 1996-1997 St. Louis Rams, 1998-1999 Kansas City Chiefs | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Terrell Owens, WR – 1996-2003 San Francisco 49ers, 2004-05 Philadelphia Eagles, 2006-08 Dallas Cowboys, 2009 Buffalo Bills, 2010 Cincinnati Bengals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2016-18)
Simeon Rice, DE – 1996-2000 Arizona Cardinals, 2001-06 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2007 Denver Broncos, 2007 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Richard Seymour, DE/DT – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Brian Urlacher, LB – 2000-2012 Chicago Bears | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Everson Walls, CB – 1981-89 Dallas Cowboys, 1990-92 New York Giants, 1992-93 Cleveland Browns | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Hines Ward, WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2017-18)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area is one of 48 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

John Lynch: Eventually, Garoppolo 'is going to be our guy'


John Lynch: Eventually, Garoppolo 'is going to be our guy'

SANTA CLARA – General manager John Lynch came close Tuesday to announcing which quarterback will start for the 49ers this week.

But the official announcement that rookie C.J. Beathard will start Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks will have to come from coach Kyle Shanahan, he said.

“C.J. (Beathard) played extremely well against the Giants, and that’s likely,” Lynch told reporters at Levi’s Stadium. “But I’ll let Kyle speak to that.”

Lynch reiterated that they want to give newly acquired Jimmy Garoppolo the best chance to succeed. Garoppolo spent part of the 49ers' bye week learning the basics of the offensive system in meetings with quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello. Garoppolo also met one-on-one with Shanahan.

Beathard had his best game as a pro on Nov. 12, before the bye week, as he threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants. Garoppolo arrived in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 in a trade with the New England Patriots.

Lynch said he feels Garoppolo “is going to be our guy,” so the organization does not feel any urgency to rush him onto the field. In fact, Lynch sounded as if the 49ers are not placing a high priority on spending big on the quarterback position with Garoppolo and Beathard on the team.

"You still study every position, but we feel pretty good about where our quarterback room is,” Lynch said.