Setting expectations for the 49ers' roster

August, 20, 2010
8/20/10
12:30
PM ET
Tre9er, upon realizing the San Francisco 49ers had a league-low eight defensive linemen on their 80-man roster, was pretty sure the team would keep only seven in Week 1, anyway.

That is likely true. The team opened two of the last three regular seasons with seven defensive linemen and it carried only six in Week 1 of the 2008 season.

The chart shows the 49ers' roster counts by position as of Friday, with Week 1 counts for every season since 2003. This makes it easier to see how many players the team might cut at a position before the regular season.

Teams must reduce to 75 players by Aug. 31 and to 53 by Sept. 4.

Analysis: The 49ers have recently kept extra defensive backs on their Week 1 roster. Quality has improved at that position this offseason, I think. Will that make it easier to justify keeping more defensive backs once again, or might the quality be high enough for the team to justify keeping fewer? Reggie Smith's emergence has been striking. Second-round choice Taylor Mays is only the fourth safety, a reflection more of Smith's improvement than of anything Mays might be doing wrong. On offense, the 49ers kept only two tight ends last season. Perhaps rookie Nate Byham sticks as the third one this year.

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