At this point in the off-season teams are in the process of filling their 90 man roster. Throughout the off-season, those 90-man rosters will eventually be cut down to just 53 players. A mixture of veterans and rookies are all competing against each other to earn a spot on that 53-man roster. The San Francisco 49ers are sure to have plenty of new faces on the roster this season because of injuries and other roster moves. There are quite a few battles to make the final roster, so who is going to win them?
QB: Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert
It’s pretty safe to say that Colin Kaepernick will be starting the season at QB. The 49ers traded for Blaine Gabbert and will give him the Colt McCoy treatment by keeping him as a back-up while he is still decently cheap.
RB: Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Marcus Lattimore, Carlos Hyde, Bruce Miller
This position is much more harder to predict. With both Lattimore and Hyde being unknowns, the 49ers will most likely start off the season with Gore and Hunter, and then ease both Lattimore and Hyde into games. Unfortunately for LaMichael James, there just isn’t enough room on the roster for just a returner.
WR: Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Steve Johnson, Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington, Kassim Osgood
Unfortunately for Brandon Lloyd, it looks like he will be the odd one out. Crabtree and Boldin are the predicted starters, but Johnson will probably split time with both of them. The coaches seem to really like Patton and are hoping he can continue to develop into a starting WR. Ellington gets the nod over Lloyd most likely because he brings athleticism that none of the other WRs have. Osgood is probably the best special teams player on the roster, and that alone earns him a roster spot.
TEs: Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Garret Celek
Same as last year. Vernon Davis is the obvious number one TE, with McDonald and Celek as the two and three. With a season under his belt, McDonald should progress as an all around TE. He struggled with drops last year, so hopefully he’s finally gotten the jitters out of his system. Celek is a good blocker and the kind of tough, hard-nosed players that Harbaugh likes.
OL: Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Daniel Kilgore, Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Marcus Martin, Jonathan Martin, Joe Looney
The only position that is up for grabs on the offensive line is the center position. The battle is between Daniel Kilgore and rookie Marcus Martin. Kilgore is the favorite to win the starting job, but Martin is not someone you want to sleep on. The rest of the players are good depth for when Harbaugh wants to run his jumbo package.
DL: Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Tank Carradine, Glenn Dorsey, Quinton Dial, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Aaron Lynch
Really no surprises here. It will be interesting to see how well Carradine plays after missing his rookie year with an injury. He is primed to get a lot of playing time as both Smith and McDonald aren’t getting any younger, and the coaches would like to keep them fresh. Ian Williams started the 2013 at NT, but after he went down, Dorsey stepped in and played great. The rest of the line is the same as last year, except for Lynch earning a spot over DeMarcus Dobbs.
LB: Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Corey Lemonier, Dan Skuta, Chris Borland, Nick Moody
There might be trouble in paradise this year. On paper, the 49ers have the best LB corps in the entire league. Some claim it might even be the best ever. Unfortunately, Bowman will miss almost half the season and Smith might face a suspension from the league. Luckily, the 49ers have good depth behind their All-pros. Lemonier and Skuta did a good job last year filling in for Smith, and Borland is a good player to be filling in for Bowman while he is out.
CB: Tramaine Brock, Chris Culliver, Eric Wright, Perrish Cox, Dontae Johnson, Daryl Morris
The future for the CB position is a bit murky right now. Brock and Culliver are the favorites for the starting jobs, but Culliver might also miss some time because of his recent hit-and-run. Behind them are veterans Eric Wright and Perrish Cox, along with rookie Dontae Johnson and second year player Daryl Morris. They will all be fighting for that second starting spot, as Brock practically has the first one spot all locked up.
S: Eric Reid, Antoine Bethea, Jimmie Ward, C.J. Spillman, Craig Dahl
Reid and Bethea are the most likely starters at safety. Even though Ward is listed as a safety, he will be competing with the CBs for the nickel corner position. Spillman and Dahl are both very good special teams players, and that will most likely continue to be their roles.
K: Phil Dawson
P: Andy Lee
LS: Kevin McDermott
These three are pretty obvious.