SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Following their win over the Chargers in their preseason finale, the 49ers made their final cuts, which they confirmed Saturday. You can check out a breakdown of the 53-man roster here.
The following players were released:
DE Darnell Dockett: You can read about Dockett's release, and watch a video of me breaking it down, here. The 49ers elected to part with Dockett before the 34-year-old took a regular season snap. Limited in training camp while recovering from an ACL tear in 2014's preseason, Dockett was viewed as a one-dimensional player. With so much depth along the defensive line, San Francisco believes they can move forward without Dockett occupying a coveted spot on the 53-man roster.
ILB Philip Wheeler: Wheeler, 30, was cut despite a strong showing in Thursday's win over the Chargers, when he notched two tackles and a sack in 21 snaps. Wheeler was brought in to potentially provide depth at inside linebacker after the team lost Patrick Willis and Chris Borland in the offseason. But Wheeler missed the majority of training camp and the preseason while dealing with a muscle strain. The team will move on with projected starters NaVorro Bowman and Michael Wilhoite, with Nick Moody slated for a back up role.
C Joe Looney: The 49ers will part with Looney, who started the first two preseason games at center before giving way to second-year player Marcus Martin. Looney was the lone member of the 2012 draft class remaining with the 49ers. Looney could also play both guard positions, but it appears the 49ers prefer rookie sixth-round pick Ian Silberman, second-year player Brandon Thomas, and Dillon Farrell, as candidates to back up San Francisco's starting interior linemen.
WR Jerome Simpson: Simpson was dealt a 6-game suspension by the NFL for violating the substance abuse program, opening up a roster spot. Simpson made three catches for 40 yards in the preseason. The 49ers retain his rights during the suspension. He signed a two-year contract in the spring.
S Craig Dahl: The 49ers will part with Dahl, 30, after adding safeties early in the last three drafts (Eric Reid, first round 2013, Jimmie Ward, first round 2014, and Jaquiski Tartt, second round, 2015). Dahl came to the 49ers as a reserve safety in 2013 and played prominently on special teams, and repleaced Reid when he missed time due to concussions. Dahl appeared in three preason games and notched an interception in the second exhibition game against Dallas.
WR Issac Blakeney: At 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds, Blakeney certainly looked the part. But the Duke alum didn’t make a catch in the preseason and struggled to stand out on the practice field.
OT Patrick Miller: Spending his time working at left tackle with the second unit, Miller played 165 preseason snaps over four exhibition games. The undrafted rookie played eight games at Auburn in 2014, where they ran for 256 yards per game. Given their lack of overall depth at tackle, Miller could be a candidate for the practice squad.
G Andrew Tiller: Described by head coach Jim Tomsula as heavy handed, Tiller showed progression in his development during training camp, working at guard with the second-team offensive line after getting the majority of reps with the starters during the voluntary portion of the offseason program. Tiller's release was announced by his agent. Tiller joined the 49ers’ practice squad last season and made his league debut against the Seahawks in December. If they can get him through waivers, Tiller seems like another practice squad candidate.
QB Dylan Thompson: Colin Kaepernick has never missed time due to injury, affording the 49ers to keep just two quarterbacks on the final roster. Thompson played well when he got the nod to play the entire game against the Chargers, completing 17 of 25 for 225 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. Overall, he had a preseason quarterback rating of 76.8. With only two other quarterbacks on the team, the 49ers are hoping they can get the South Carolina alum to the practice squad.
CB Marcus Cromartie: The second-year player out of Wisconsin saw considerable playing time as a reserve and on special teams this preseason. Cromartie joined the team in 2014 and saw playing time late in the year. But the emergence of last year’s draft picks Reaser and Acker made it difficult to make the team. He is a candidate for the practice squad.
DT Kaleb Ramsey: The 49ers used a seventh-round pick on Ramsey in 2014 before he wound up missing his rookie year while dealing with an Achilles injury. Ramsey played 99 snaps this preseason along the team's defensive line and showed positive steps in his development. The team always hopes their former draft picks can reach the practice squad if they get through waivers.
OT Justin Renfrow: Working primarily as a right tackle with the reserve units, Renfrow played 40 preseason snaps, including 15 in the finale. He spent time with the Cardinals, Packers and Seahawks in 2014 before joining San Francisco. Renfrow transitioned to the offensive line as a pro after player along the defensive line at the University of Virginia and University of Miami.
RB Kendall Gaskins: At 6-foot-1, 238 pounds, Gaskins was one of the 49ers’ most physical running backs, along with starter Carlos Hyde. He had 55 yards on 21 preseason carries. The Richmond alum could be headed to the practice squad for depth purposes.
WR DiAndre Campbell: The undrafted rookie out of Washington was a standout among the group of five undrafted receivers the 49ers brought in. Campbell finished the preseason with two catches for 18 yards, playing in 55 preseason snaps, including 24 (33 percent) in the finale against the Chargers. Campbell is a candidate for the practice squad. He has good size at 6-foot-2, 206 pounds.
OLB Marcus Rush: Rush joined the 49ers as a undrafted free agent in May after playing on one of college football’s best defense with Michigan State over the last four years. Rush started a school record 53 games at defensive end and worked mostly at outside linebacker with San Francisco, playing 112 snaps this preseason. He registered five quarterback hurries over four games, according to Pro Football Focus, and had a sack against the Cowboys. His release indicates the 49ers are confident in Eli Harold and Corey Lemonier getting playing time while Ahmad Brooks' pending legal status could keep him off the field.
OL Dillon Farrell: With Ian Silberman, Brandon Thomas, Jordan Devey and now Nick Easton joining the competition along the interior of the offensive line, there wasn’t room on the roster for Farrell. He appeared in eight games last season after getting picked up as an undrafted free agent in the spring. Farrell can play all three interior positions and spent most of his time as the third-team center this preseason. He has a chance at the practice squad.
ILB Nick Moody: Moody's release comes as a surprise. Early in camp he received first-team reps while Michael Wilhoite was sidelined with a muscle strain. He appeared poised to be San Francisco's third inside linebacker, but was beaten out by Shayne Skov and got edged out on special teams by Nick Bellore.
RB Kendall Hunter (INJURED RESERVE): Hunter received 17 carries over the final exhibition games, for 36 yards, a 2.1-yard average. Hunter started camp slowly a year removed his ACL tear, his second significant leg injury, after tearing an Achilles midway through the 2012 season. Hunter struggled to shake the rust off while Jarryd Hayne emerged as a viable roster candidate with an explosive preseason.
TE Rory 'Busta' Anderson (INJURED RESERVE): Busta came on late, making a leaping touchdown grab late in the preseason finale over the Chargers. The 49ers like his speed and athleticism, but need the rookie seventh-round pick to develop his overall game, making him a prime candidate for the practice squad.
TE Xavier Grimble: The athletic tight end made two catches for four years in the preseason after spending last season with the Giants, 49ers and Patriots, before coming back to the 49ers practice squad in December. The former USC Trojan might be a practice squad candidate.
DL Garrison Smith: Given all the depth along the defensive line, Smith was going to have a hard time cracking the roster unless there was an injury. He played on the Dolphins and Saints’ practice squads last year before coming to the 49ers in December. Smith appeared in all four preseason games, playing 76 snaps, including 38 percent of the plays in the exhibition finale.
S Jermaine Whitehead: The undrafted rookie out of Auburn played 77 snaps with the reserves this preseason, making three tackles. He joined a team loaded at safety, but could be a candidate for the practice squad.
CB Leon McFadden: McFadden play frequently this preseason, 72 snaps over four games, but falls on the wrong side of the numbers game. The 49ers like what they have in second-year players Kenneth Acker and Keith Reaser. McFadden, a former third-round pick of the Browns. joined the practice squad last season and was elevated to the active roster in November because of injuries.
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