Monday, August 17, 2009
Numbers games: 49ers roster in perspective
By Mike Sando
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The 49ers' roster appears most interesting at running back and receiver.
The more I think about how much the 49ers want to pound the ball on offense, the more I see them keeping two fullbacks on the Week 1 roster.
Zak Keasey's broken forearm prevents him from becoming part of the equation early, and it's tough to see a team waiting two months for a backup fullback to get healthy. Enter Bill Rentmeester. Formerly of the Chargers, Rentmeester offers what preseason touchdown machine Brit Miller does not: experience at fullback. For the sake of this roster exercise, I'll pencil in Rentmeester for Week 1.
The numbers at receiver figure to swell while the team waits for Brandon Jones to heal and Michael Crabtree to sign and get ready to contribute.
|San Francisco 49ers Week 1 Roster Counts since 2003 ||QB ||RB ||WR ||TE ||OL ||DL ||LB ||DB ||ST |
|Fewest ||3 ||4 ||5 ||2 ||8 ||5 ||6 ||7 ||2 |
|Most ||4 ||7 ||7 ||4 ||10 ||9 ||8 ||11 ||4 |
|Average ||3.2 ||5.2 ||5.8 ||3.2 ||8.8 ||7.2 ||7.3 ||9.3 ||3.0 |
|Currently on roster |
|8 ||12 ||4 ||14 ||9 ||12 ||14 ||4 |
The chart provides a framework for how many players the 49ers might keep at each position heading into the regular-season opener against the Cardinals.
Here's a quick look at which 49ers players I might keep on the cutdown to 53 players (I made one change, moving Cody Wallace into the group of offensive linemen at Joe Toledo's expense):
- Projected keepers (3) -- Shaun Hill, Alex Smith, Damon Huard
- Projected to miss cut (1) -- Nate Davis
- Key issue -- Teams generally keep fifth-round rookie quarterbacks. Davis lands on the practice squad if the 49ers release him.
- Projected keepers (5) -- Frank Gore, Glen Coffee, Moran Norris, Michael Robinson, Bill Rentmeester
- Projected to miss cut (3) -- Kory Sheets, Zak Keasey, Brit Miller
- Key issue -- Keasey's broken forearm could sideline him for two months. That's a long time to wait for a backup fullback. Rentmeester's experience puts him in position to contribute right away, while Miller is a project.
- Projected keepers (7) -- Michael Crabtree, Brandon Jones, Arnaz Battle, Josh Morgan, Isaac Bruce, Jason Hill, Dominique Zeigler
- Projected to miss cut (5) -- Chris Francies, Maurice Price, Michael Spurlock, Mark Bradford, Dobson Collins
- Key issue -- Hill could stand to show more. Zeigler has a chance, but it's tough to earn the final spot at receiver without contributing significantly on special teams. Might the 49ers keep seven while Jones recovers from a shoulder injury and Crabtree gets up to speed, assuming Crabtree signs?
- Projected keepers (9) -- Joe Staley, David Baas, Tony Wragge, Eric Heitmann, Chilo Rachal, Adam Snyder, Marvel Smith, Cody Wallace, Alex Boone
- Projected to miss cut (5) -- Joe Toledo, Matt Spanos, Kyle Howard, Jacob Bender, Barry Sims
- Key issue --Does Sims have enough left to project as a backup? Smith's health could answer that question. Spanos and Bender might have some versatility.
- Projected keepers (8) -- Takeo Spikes, Patrick Willis, Jeff Ulbrich, Ahmad Brooks, Scott McKillop, Parys Haralson, Manny Lawson, Jay Moore
- Projected to miss cut (4) -- Diyral Briggs, Justin Roland, Marques Harris, Mark Washington
- Key issue -- Brooks' strong camp moves him into position for a roster spot. Moore has also shown more lately.
- Projected keepers (9) -- Allen Rossum, Nate Clements, Tarell Brown, Mark Roman, Reggie Smith, Dre Bly, Michael Lewis, Dashon Goldson, Shawntae Spencer
- Projected to miss cut (5) -- Marcus Hudson, Curtis Taylor, Jahi Word-Daniels, Carlos Thomas, Terrail Lambert
- Key issue -- Rossum counts toward the defensive backs even though he contributes as a return specialist.