The first cuts: Player-by-player analysis
DT Jerry DeLoach: The sixth-year veteran was brought in during the first week of training camp and was getting a serious look in the defensive line rotation, where he has nose tackle size (335 pounds) but also the skills to play end. But DeLoach suffered a MCL knee sprain during the second week of camp, missed the first two preseason games and was only rounding back into practice form by the end of this past week. With the emergence of Lance Legree, another sixth-year veteran picked up after DeLoach was hurt, the 49ers decided that DeLoach simply was too far behind to have a shot at making the final roster. LB Renauld Williams: The third-year veteran played in two games last year and was getting a look on the outside where the 49ers have been thin and in need of bodies that can give them production. But Williams suffered a high ankle sprain in the second week of camp and has been unable to get back on the field. Williams was waived with an injury settlement as the Niners opted to give a longer look at outside linebacker instead to rookies Bobby Iwuchukwu and Sarth Benoit. TE Onye Ibekwe: It was pretty obvious from the first few days of camp that the first cut would be the stop-off point for Ibekwe, because the past three months have been his first taste of competitive football since he was in high school. Ibekwe played basketball the past two years at Long Beach State, and while he has great size for the position (6-foot-8, 254 pounds) and decent athleticism, he is a long way from possessing legitimate NFL skills. With the 49ers stocked at tight end, Ibekwe rarely got a look in practice and didn't play in any of the team's first three preseason games. "We have a good bit of depth at the tight end position," coach Mike Nolan said. "He hasn't played it before. He is a true developmental type of guy. He has size, speed and strength and a lot of desire. That's a good thing for the practice squad. We have five other tight ends that we feel need the reps." Nolan said Ibekwe "is one guy in consideration" for the eight-player practice squad the 49ers will assemble on Sept 3 – a day after all NFL teams cut down to their final 53-man rosters. K Luis Berlanga: Luis who? The native of Mexico – signed in July - didn't make it to training camp until almost three weeks had elapsed because of problems obtaining his work visa. Nolan said he wanted to give Berlanga a look in at least one preseason game, but that never came close to happening. With the team set at kicker with veteran Joe Nedney and still needing to look at several players at several other positions, Berlanga's stay with the team was a short one. K Andrew Jacas: The first-year player from Fort Valley State, brought in to give Nedney a rest during the training camp grind, showed a live leg and some good ability to put distance on his kickoffs both this spring and summer. The first cut, however, is where extra kickers usually sign off, and it's no different for Jacas. He has the leg strength to compete at this level, but he needs a lot of work on his accuracy if he's ever going to get a legitimate opportunity with some other NFL team. WR CJ Brewer: Brewer, signed as a rookie free agent when he went undrafted in April out of Wyoming, actually was a nice-looking young receiver who displayed some athleticism and good use of his 6-foot-2, 205-pound when shielding defenders away from the football. But his skills are raw and he doesn't have the speed to separate from defensive backs. As the last player on the depth chart at receiver, he also didn't get many repetitions in practice and seldom got a look in the team's first three preseason games. CB Gabe Franklin: The first-year player, who spent time on the practice squads of the San Diego Chargers and New York Giants last year, was signed on August 17 after Shawntae Spencer was hurt but was unable to work his way up the depth chart. He got a look during the preseason but wasn't going to make a dent in the competition ahead of him that involved rookie Marcus Hudson and several young veterans with NFL experience.
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