Projected 49ers 53-man roster heading into 2019 NFL Preseason finale
In (2): Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens
Out: C.J. Beathard, Wilton Speight
Shanahan insists that the 49ers intend to keep three quarterbacks. With all the injuries elsewhere on the roster, that is a luxury I’m not sure the 49ers will be able to afford. The 49ers are clearly open to trading either Mullens or Beathard. But if there is no market for either, will the club still keep all three QBs on their 53-man roster? Shanahan said the 49ers “plan” to keep both Mullens and Beathard behind Garoppolo, but plans can change when tough decisions must be made.
In (5): Tevin Coleman, Kyle Juszczyk, Matt Breida, Jerick McKinnon, Raheem Mostert
Out: Jeff Wilson, Austin Walter
McKinnon is a candidate for injured reserve. But in order for him to be eligible to play this season, he must first have a spot on the team’s 53-man roster. That makes the running back position clear-cut with Coleman, Juszczyk, Breida and Mostert joining McKinnon on the initial 53-man roster. Wilson has shown he’s an NFL-caliber running back. He will be in the league at some point this season – either with the 49ers or another team.
In (7): Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel, Jalen Hurd, Trent Taylor, Marquise Goodwin, Jordan Matthews, Richie James
Out: Kendrick Bourne, Malik Henry, Chris Thompson
The uncertainty surrounding Taylor’s return from foot surgery might prompt the 49ers to keep an extra wide receiver on the 53-man roster to open the regular season. James is the most likely trade candidate. If they can’t work it out to get something in return, his big-play ability and versatility are enough to keep him around. Then, it comes down to Matthews or Bourne for the final spot. It’s a tough call: The veteran presence of Matthews or the youth and potential of Bourne. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in Jordan, and I know we can win with Jordan,” Shanahan said recently.
In (3): George Kittle, Kaden Smith, Levine Toilolo
Out: Garrett Celek (PUP), Ross Dwelley, Daniel Helm, Tyree Mayfield
Since the opening of training camp, it looked as if Dwelley were the second-best tight end on the team behind Kittle. But Dwelley has fallen back a bit, while Smith has gotten better and better. Toilolo is a big-bodied tight end who gives the 49ers some options to go heavy in short-yardage situations. Again, this is a tough call. Smith, a sixth-round draft pick, gets the benefit of the doubt. Dwelley (or Smith) could be back on the practice squad. Celek will be eligible for a midseason return if/when he fully recovers from back surgery.
In (8): Joe Staley, Laken Tomlinson, Weston Richburg, Mike McGlinchey, Mike Person, Ben Garland, Sam Young, Daniel Brunskill
Out: Joshua Garnett, Najee Toran, Justin Skule, Wesley Johnson, Ross Reynolds, Andrew Lauderdale, Willie Beavers, Dillon Day
Potentially, the 49ers could look elsewhere for a swing tackle, but Young looks like the guy at this stage after Shon Coleman sustained a season-ending ankle injury in the first preseason game. The 49ers’ biggest decision is what to do with Garnett, who has missed virtually all of training camps the past three seasons due to injuries. He was a first-round draft pick the year before Shanahan and GM John Lynch arrived. Finger surgery has kept him sidelined since the first weekend of training camp. It’s a tough call with Brunskill, Garnett, Toran and Skule all sitting on the roster bubble.
In (10): DeForest Buckner, Dee Ford, Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, Sheldon Day, Ronald Blair, D.J. Jones, Jullian Taylor, Kentavius Street
Out: Damontre Moore, Kevin Givens, Jay Bromley, Jamell Garcia-Williams, Jordan Thompson, Jeremiah Valoaga
As stated previously, this is the deepest and most talented position on the 49ers’ roster. There is certainly a spot in the NFL for Moore, a six-year veteran who has bounced around the league and seemed to benefit from a spring of playing in the now-defunct Alliance of American Football. Givens could be attractive to some team, but he most likely would be ticketed back to the 49ers’ practice squad. The 49ers can keep 10 defensive linemen with Day, Jones, Taylor and Street holding down the final four spots. But if injuries require the 49ers to keep another player elsewhere, they will have to make a tough call to cut another among this group.
In (5): Kwon Alexander, Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, Mark Nzeocha, Azeez Al-Shaair
Out: Malcolm Smith, Elijah Lee, David Mayo, Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, LaRoy Reynolds
Al-Shaair has played his way onto the 49ers’ 53-man roster. The club simply cannot take the chance of exposing him to waivers with the hope of re-signing him to the practice squad. Al-Shaair has the potential to develop into a starter in the future. He can earn his way initially as a core special-teams player. Nzeocha, Smith, Lee and Mayo are squarely on the roster bubble. Nzeocha brings some different skills to the table, including his ability to rush the passer.
In (10): Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon, Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt, K’Waun Williams, Tarvarius Moore, Jason Verrett, Marcell Harris, Emmanuel Moseley, D.J. Reed
Out: Adrian Colbert, Dontae Johnson, Antone Exum, Quinten Rollins, Tim Harris, Tyree Robinson
Colbert was a starter to open last season. Now, it’s going to be difficult for him to find a spot on the 53-man roster. He sustained a hamstring injury in Denver, and that is a big blow at this stage of the preseason. Johnson played well enough during camp to be on an NFL roster. And the same goes for Exum. But there are just are not enough spots for everyone. Moseley and Reed are also on the bubble. Both have shown enough versatility to be key reserves at the bottom end of the roster.
In (3): Robbie Gould, Mitch Wishnowsky, Colin Holba
Out: Kyle Nelson (suspended)
The 49ers’ specialists are set with Gould and Wishnowsky. A decision awaits the 49ers after the sixth game when Nelson is scheduled to be reinstated off the league’s suspended list. Holba has a six-game audition to show that he is worthy of remaining in his role as the long-snapper for the entirety of the season.