The first of the final cuts: Why they're gone

The 49ers began the reduction process to their final 53-man roster Friday by releasing seven players, all predictable cuts. Gone are six undrafted rookie free agents and one first-year player, with the 49ers set to make their toughest decisions Saturday.

CB Markus Curry: The only player among the cuts to have previous NFL experience, Curry spent time on the San Diego Chargers' practice squad last season but never made it up to the 53-man squad. He was signed on July 17 to fill one of the final spots on San Francisco's summer roster, and then showed some polish when given an opportunity in training camp and the preseason. Curry tied for the team lead with two passes defensed during the exhibition season, when he also had four solo tackles and showed a willingness to stick his nose into plays while also contributing on special teams. He had a tough road to go, however, as he came into camp as the seventh cornerback and could never make it up the depth chart with the emergence of rookie Tarell Brown and young veterans Donald Strickland and Marcus Hudson holding him off. He still has practice squad eligibility and could be asked back to that squad in a few days, since either Strickland or Hudson – and perhaps both – are sure to be cut on Saturday, and neither of them has practice squad eligibility.

S Jake Patten: The undrafted rookie from Virginia Tech didn't look bad this summer, but he had no chance to make the roster with rookie Dashon Goldson displaying he is plenty worthy of a fourth-round draft choick. Instead of keeping Patten, the team will take another day to think about Vickiel Vaughn and Darnell Bing, who came to the team later this summer but has shown some good things. Patten made two solo tackles on defense during the preseason and also had a tackle on special teams in the preseason finale. He's also a practice squad candidate.

OG Sean Estrada: Displayed some versatility along the line, with some ability also to play tackle. Was among the second wave of undrafted free agents signed by the 49ers in May and got some good exposure on film during the preseason, but had no chance to make the final roster with San Francisco's quality depth along the line, perhaps the strongest area on the team. A candidate for the practice squad, as the 49ers like to keep around young linemen to develop there.

DE Zack Anderson: The Louisville product needs to work on his strength to step in as a 3-4 end, but the experience of camp with the 49ers had to be good for him, though he seems better suited to end duty in a 4-3 defensive set. Got some film time at the end of preseason games, but finished the exhibition season with just one tackle.

DE Darius Sanders: A raw product who has nice size and athleticism but also seems better suited to a 4-3 system than a 3-4. Sanders made some plays during the preseason when given an opportunity match up with reserves late in exhibition games, recording three tackles and one of San Francisco's five preseason sacks.

QB Luke Getsy: Never really established himself as much more than a camp arm, and he wasn't about to challenge Shaun Hill for the No. 3 role at quarterback. The rookie didn't get any playing time in the preseason, which had to be something of a disappointment for the Akron University product. While coach Mike Nolan likes some of the things Getsy can do, it doesn't seem like he did enough this summer to warrant the team asking him back to the practice squad, particularly with Nolan saying the 49ers wouldn't keep a quarterback on their practice squad unless they considered him a legitimate prospect to develop for the future.

RB Arkee Whitlock: Whitlock wouldn't have been asked to camp if Pro Bowl halfback Frank Gore hadn't broken a bone in his right hand on the first padded practice of training camp, but he did well for himself after joining the team on August 2. After getting comfortable with the offense, and getting a fair amount of work during practice, the Southern Illinois product began to get his legs underneath him and got stronger as the summer progressed, breaking off some nice runs in the preseason finale at San Diego, when he finished with 54 yards rushing on nine carries. That allowed Whitlock to finish second on the team in rushing during the preseason with 86 yards on 23 carries. But it wasn't enough to displace sixth-round pick Thomas Clayton as the rookie running back the 49ers will consider keeping on the final roster, or sign back to the practice squad if they don't keep a fourth halfback.

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