Taking stock

Friday's exhibition in Minnesota will be the last game in a San Francisco uniform for more than a dozen 49ers hopefuls as the team officially breaks training camp on Saturday then must get down to an NFL-mandated 65-man roster by Tuesday. Here, SFI takes a look at whose stock is rising, falling or holding with those cuts looming.

QUARTERBACKS

Rising: Tim Rattay

Holding: Ken Dorsey, Cody Pickett

Falling: Brandon Doman

Market watch: All four QBs will make it past the first cuts, and the possibility exists that injuries will force team to consider keeping all four in September. ... Rattay finally is getting it all together after injury-plagued camp. ... Back problem only a temporary setback for Dorsey. ... No. 3 role up for grabs between Doman and Pickett over next 10 days. "You can flip a coin on that right now," coach Dennis Erickson said.

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RUNNING BACKS

Rising: Maurice Hicks, Jamal Robertson

Holding: Kevan Barlow, Fred Beasley, Brian Johnson, Jasen Isom

Falling: Terry Jackson, Jason Wright, Matt Stanley

Market watch: Hicks is making push for roster berth, but it will be tough with Robertson and Jackson already roster locks. ... Check back in regular season on Barlow and Beasley; there is nothing for them to prove now. Beasley making progress in rehab from ankle injury. ... Isom back to practice next week and will have to work immediately to show that there's no reason for Niners to keep Johnson and Stanley around. ... Wright has been outperformed by Hicks and Robertson.

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WIDE RECEIVERS

Rising: Cedrick Wilson, Derrick Hamilton, P.J. Fleck, Rashaun Woods

Holding: Brandon Lloyd, Curtis Conway, Arnaz Battle, Adam Herzing

Falling: Bosley Allen, Kahlil Hill, Arland Bruce

Market watch: Woods finally healthy enough to practice after a lost training camp. Now it's time to show what he can do, and the team will give him that chance, because it wants to see. ... Hamilton still raw, but making great progress. ... Wilson, Lloyd and Conway already a lock to start season as San Francisco's top three receivers. ... Fleck making it tough for Niners not to keep him around. ... At least a few of these names will be gone by Tuesday.

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TIGHT ENDS

Rising: Aaron Walker, Gabe Crecion

Holding: Eric Johnson, Brian Jennings

Falling: James Jordan, Kevin Ware

Market watch: Johnson and Walker have had great camps, and Crecion has made an impression as a receiving threat. He needs to show better progress in other areas. ... Jennings, of course, is actually the team's star long-snapper and would only play TE in a dire emergency. ... Shoulder injury has wiped out Jordan's chance to impress team with his ability as a receiver and also has thwarted his development as an undersized blocker. ... Recent leg injury a setback to Ware's hopes, too.

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OFFENSIVE LINE

Rising: Kwame Harris, Kyle Kosier, Jeremy Newberry, Dwayne Ledford

Holding: Scott Gragg, Eric Heitmann, Justin Smiley, Rob Murphy, Norm Katnik, Scott Rehberg

Falling: Brock Gutierrez, Alonzo Cunningham, Brent Swaggert, Jerome Davis, Matt Knutson

Market watch: Harris, Kosier have displayed fine development in camp. ... Newberry making fast return from knee surgery. ... Heitmann, Gragg have been solid and steady and are preparing themselves for regular season. ... Knee injury a setback for Gutierrez, who held his own with first team in place of injured Newberry. That could leave an opening for Katnik, though Ledford's versatility probably will bump the rookie. ... Smiley had a few conspicuous penalties last week, but he still could win job at RG if pass-blocking skills come along. ... Davis knee injury has thwarted his opportunity to lock down backup role at tackle. Good news for him is that other young tackle prospects haven't shown much, and top backup Kosier already is overworked with other duties.

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LINEBACKERS

Rising: Jeff Ulbrich, Richard Seigler, Brandon Moore, Julian Peterson

Holding: Derek Smith, Jamie Winborn, Renauld Williams

Falling: Saleem Rasheed, Melvin Simmons, Greg Carothers

Market watch: Peterson goes on the rise just by showing up Wednesday to sign one-year deal that makes him $6.1 million richer. ... Moore and Seigler have been locking down backup roles in a highly competitive field. ... Scrappy Seigler leads team in tackles after two preseason games. ... Team would like to keep seven linebackers, and there is tremendous competition for the 6-7 spots. ... Rasheed has shown fine flashes when healthy, but injuries continue to be his downfall. He gets hurt every week and has trouble staying in practice consistently. ... Williams, Simmons, Carothers must make more plays when given the opportunity in preseason. In this field, they need standout impressions to stick around.

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DEFENSIVE BACKS

Rising: Jimmy Williams, Ahmed Plummer, Keith Lewis, Shawntae Spencer

Holding: Mike Rumph, Ronnie Heard, Calvin Carlyle, Joselio Hansen, Tony Parrish, Richard Yancy

Falling: Allan Amundson, Rayshun Reed, Dwaine Carpenter, Mike Adams, Erik Totten

Market watch: No matter which one ends up as the team's third cornerback, Williams and Spencer both will provide an upgrade this season and see plenty of time at the position. ... Plummer looking strong now that he's all the way back from groin problems. ... Secondary roster berths all but set, and names will be loped off roster from this unit. ... Hansen, Carlyle fighting to stick around until final cut. ... Knee injury further sets back Carpenter's development, which wasn't coming along as well as team had hoped to begin with.

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DEFENSIVE LINE

Rising: Michael Landry

Holding: Bryant Young, Anthony Adams, John Engelberger, Andre Carter, Chris Demaree, Josh Shaw, Josh Cooper, Demetrius Maxie, Dan Rumishek

Falling: Isaac Sopoaga, Andrew Williams, Riddick Parker, Christian Ferrara, Brandon Whiting

Market watch: Nobody really standing out on this entire unit, which is of big concern to team. ... Landry has been solid, though, and he has locked up a berth at tackle and maybe even a place in the regular rotation. ... Starting foursome of Young, Adams, Engelberger and Carter have had, collectively, a quiet camp. They're gearing toward the regular season and team is more concerned about depth behind them. ... Injuries to Williams, Sopoaga, a big blow to that depth, and Sopoaga back injury has been one of team's biggest summer frustrations. Even when healthy, he'll still need time to develop before he can contribute. ... Is Parker an end or a tackle? Veteran must distinguish himself at least at one of those positions. ... Team must decide soon that status of Whiting and what it will do with him. If he can't be counted on, it could leave an opening for an unheralded prospect such as Cooper or Demaree.

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SPECIALISTS

Rising: Kirk Yliniemi, Brian Jennings

Holding: Todd Peterson, Nate Fikse

Falling: Andy Lee, Andy Groom

Market watch: Yliniemi has had good camp, but that doesn't make him a serious challenger to Peterson because of the veteran's experience and stability. ... Changes at punter, holder make it slightly more evident how important Jennings' role really is on the specialty units. ... Strong in camp, both punting Andys have been less than stellar when thrown into the real thing during the preseason. One of them must step forward during the next two weeks, particularly Lee, who still has the job to lose. But now it actually appears he could do that if he continues to bomb over the next week.


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