The bubble boys

There are almost three dozen players on the 49ers' roster today that will be out of a job by Saturday, when the team must pare down its summer roster to the NFL-mandated 53-player limit for the regular season. Here's a look at the bubble players at every position, and who likely will be the first to go when the 49ers make their first cuts to get down to Tuesday's mandatory limit of 80 players.


The 49ers currently have 86 players on their roster, meaning they must clear six players by Tuesday. Tight end Nate Byham, who tore knee ligaments at the start of training camp, is out for the year and likely will be placed on injured reserve before the final cutdown. If the 49ers make that move by Tuesday, they will only have to release five players at the first roster cutdown.

Here's a look at players at each position who figure to be on the bubble this week as the 49ers prepare for their final exhibition game Thursday at San Diego, and also a look at the players most likely not to make it to that game.

Quarterback

The bubble boys: Josh McCown, McLeod Bethel-Thompson
Could be gone by Tuesday: Bethel-Thompson
Cutdown analysis: With so few roster decisions to make Tuesday, the 49ers probably will keep all four quarterbacks until the final cutdown, particularly since neither McCown or Bethel-Thompson has played a snap during the preseason. They'd like to finally see one or both in Thursday's game.

Running back

The bubble boys: Seth Smith, Xavier Omon, Jack Corcoran, Moran Norris, Bruce Miller
Could be gone by Tuesday: Smith, Corcoran
Cutdown analysis: The Niners face some tough decisions here and will likely waive three of the players listed above by Saturday. Rookie Miller is pushing Norris hard for a job at fullback, a position at which the 49ers are likely to keep just one player. Smith does not have a carry during the preseason and could be one of the first to go Tuesday.

Wide receiver

The bubble boys: Chris Hogan, Tyler Beiler, Joe Hastings, Kevin Jurovich, Dominique Zeigler, Lance Long, Ronald Johnson, Kyle Williams
Could be gone by Tuesday: Hogan, Beiler, Hastings
Cutdown analysis: Of the three players listed immediately above, only Hastings played a snap in Saturday's game against the Houston Texans, and only for San Francisco's final three offensive plays of the game. This position definitely will lose one more players on Tuesday, with the Niners keeping around the rest of the bubble boys for a final look this week.

Tight end

The bubble boys: Konrad Reuland, Nate Lawrie
Could be gone by Tuesday: Lawrie
Cutdown analysis: Byham also is on the roster, but he's headed for injured reserve as mentioned above. The 49ers likely will keep the two bubble boys around until the final cut, and both figure to see action Thursday as the team decides whether it wants to keep one of them on the final roster.

Offensive line

The bubble boys: G Nick Howell, C Chase Beeler, C/G Donovan Edwards, T Kenny Wiggins, C/G Tony Wragge, T Derek Hall, G/T Michael Person
Could be gone by Tuesday: Howell, Edwards, Wiggins, Hall, Beeler
Cutdown analysis: Somebody also will be leaving from this unit on Tuesday. Howell, Edwards, Wiggins and Beeler each didn't play a snap against the Texans. One or more of them won't get a chance to play another snap with the 49ers.

Defensive line

The bubble boys: NT Sealver Siliga, NT Ian Williams, DT/DE Will Tukuafu, DT Brian Bulcke, DE Demarcus Dobbs
Could be gone by Tuesday: Siliga, Bulcke
Cutdown analysis: The 49ers have gotten promising play and seen summer progress from several youngsters along this unit and might keep all of the bubble boys around for the rest of this week as they make decisions regarding their defensive front.

Linebacker

The bubble boys: OLB Monte Simmons, OLB Kenny Rowe, ILB Blake Costanzo, ILB Larry Grant, ILB Scott McKillop, ILB Keaton Kristick, ILB Alex Joseph, OLB Antwan Applewhite, OLB Parys Haralson
Could be gone by Tuesday: McKillop, Joseph, Simmons
Cutdown analysis: There's lots of competition for roster spots here at both the inside and outside positions. Linebacker is a 49ers strength, and some roster battles will go down to the final decision-making of coaches late Friday/early Saturday. The 49ers will ultimately be cutting some roster-quality players here. McKillop got a late start this summer and played in his first exhibition game Saturday, playing well and recording a game-high seven tackles. If he or Joseph are let go Tuesday, it will be because the 49ers want to give them a head start on catching on with another team.

Secondary

The bubble boys: S Madieu Williams, CB Tramaine Brock, S C.J. Spillman, S Curtis Taylor, CB Cory Nelms, CB Phillip Davis, CB Phillip Adams, S Chris Maragos, S Colin Jones, CB/S Anthony West
Could be gone by Tuesday: Nelms, Davis, West
Cutdown analysis: This is another position that could lose as many as two players Tuesday. The tough decisions for the 49ers here will come Saturday when they have to decide between several players where there isn't much separation in talent and performance level.

Specialists

The bubble boy: P Sam Paulescu
Could be gone by Tuesday: Paulescu
Cutdown analysis: As he displayed during Saturday's game against the Texans, when he averaged 50.0 yards on eight punts while subbing for Andy Lee, Paulescu definitely is NFL quality. He could remain on San Francisco's roster as long as the 49ers feel Lee isn't ready to perform because of his undisclosed hip injury. At the same time, Paulescu likely will be released once Lee is good to go, but that decision probably won't be made by Tuesday.


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