Roster cutdown: Offensive line

After releasing six players Sunday, the 49ers still must cut down their roster from 77 players to 65 by 1 p.m. Tuesday, and <EM>SF Illustrated </EM>is analyzing the six major positional categories and forecasting who is staying and who is on the way out. Today: Offensive line, where 14 players currently reside on the roster after center Jeff McCurley was released Sunday.

Starters: Derrick Deese, Dave Fiore, Jeremy Newberry, Ron Stone, Scott Gragg. If healthy, one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.

Roster locks: Matt Willig, Dave Costa, Eric Heitmann. Willig can play virtually every position, and it's obvious Heitmann will be sticking around after listening to coach Steve Mariucci gush about him the past week.

Definitely sticking past this cut: Ben Lynch, Kyle Kosier. The Niners still don't appear sold on Lynch, even though the preseason has vividly displayed they need a dependable backup center. The Niners want to look at Kosier as long as possible.

Cloudy status: Chad Ward. He suffered a medical collateral sprain in Saturday's game against the Raiders and will be out several weeks, a definite blow to his chances of making the roster.

On the bubble: Ty Wise, John Feugill, Austin Lee. At least two of these guys likely will be gone as soon as Monday.


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