SANTA CLARA - Following Thursday night's preseason finale, a 14-12 win over the Chargers, it's time to project the 49ers' final 53-man roster ahead of final cuts, which will need to be made Saturday before 1 p.m.
Notes: Because Kaepernick has never missed a start, undrafted rookie Dylan Thompson won't make the team. But the 49ers would like to have him on the practice squad after a 225-yard performance against the Chargers.
Running Back (4)
Notes: The obvious omission is Kendall Hunter, who hasn't been the same this preseason since sustaining his torn ACL at the start of last year's training camp. If the team chooses, they can place Hunter on injured reserve with the return designation, allowing him to continue working on his knee for six weeks before being added back to the active roster. Hunter finished the preseason with 36 yards on 17 carries, a 2.1-yard average.
Notes: Miller's offseason misdemeanor for disturbing the peace is still being investigated by the NFL. But the 49ers have given no signs they are expecting Miller to be suspended, particularly after including the only other fullback, Trey Millard, in the first round of roster cuts.
Tight End (4)
Notes: The 49ers are going to rely on two-tight end formations frequently, meaning they will keep four on the active roster. Anderson progressed as the preseason went along, which included his touchdown catch Thursday, and is a strong practice squad candidate.
Wide Receiver (5)
Notes: With Jerome Simpson's six-game suspension, the 49ers are likely to keep five receivers. Ellington, White and Patton can all play on special teams. Ellington and White combined for 163 of Thompson's 225 yards passing in Thursday's win.
Notes: This group is pretty straight forward. Brown had a good camp and could find himself active on game days as insurance for Staley and Pears.
Notes: Devey's late insertion into the starting lineup this week at right guard gives him a roster spot. Boone will start at left guard, and will likely be Staley's back up. Thomas could be the first guard off the bench.
Notes: Looney gets the nod over rookie sixth-round pick Ian Silberman because Silberman has practice squad eligibility. Looney is far more experienced at center and can play both guard positions.
Defensive End (6)
Notes: Far and away the team's deepest position group. With six defensive ends, the team would have a hard time making Armstead, the most recent first-round pick, on the active 46-man roster on game days.
Nose Tackle (2)
Notes: Purcell's development has been in the spotlight this preseason. He makes the team. But because Dorsey, Dial and Jerod-Eddie can play nose tackle, he might have a hard time getting activated on Sundays.
Inside Linebacker (4)
Notes: Skov gets the nod over Philip Wheeler, but it was one of the closest calls in this projection. The 49ers like Wheeler's veteran presence after losing so many experienced players this offseason, but Skov is the younger and cheaper option. It really could have gone either way.
Outside Linebacker (4)
Notes: We're projecting Ahmad Brooks starts on the commissioner's exempt list as a result of his misdemeanor sexual battery charge. Bellore makes the team because of his versatility - he can also play inside linebacker - and his work on special teams. Marcus Rush was considered, but appears likely to hit the practice squad.
Notes: This group has appeared set for the last few weeks. But the 49ers are still looking to see who starts opposite Brock. All four candidates have received time with the first team in practice and the preseason.
Notes: Craig Dahl is good enough to make another 53-man roster. But it won't be with the 49ers. With Tartt and McCray around, Dahl becomes expendable.
Notes: Nothing new to report. Dawson, Pinion and Nelson are the only players at their position on the roster.
Reserve/physically unable to perform list
Reserve/non-football injury list
Commissioner's exempt list
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