San Francisco 49ers: Kassim Osggod

Examining the San Francisco 49ers' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (2)

Because of heavy competition elsewhere, the 49ers will likely only carry two quarterbacks. They finished last season that way. The competition will be to see if undrafted rookie Kory Faulkner can take McLeod Bethel-Thompson's spot on the practice squad.

RUNNING BACKS (5)

The fact that the 49ers drafted Hyde in the second round and Lattimore is healthy means some tough decisions will have to be made. Hunter is too valuable to let go. That means 2012 second-round pick LaMichael James will have difficulty making the roster.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6)

The 49ers are so much deeper here this year than last. That means they will likely have to keep six receivers. Lloyd may look good and Patton has too much potential to give up on. That means it could be tough for Kassim Osgood to make it even though he is a special teams cog.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

If Davis ends his holdout, I can't see the 49ers keeping more than three tight ends because of the glut at receiver. Unless Garrett Celek has a big camp, he may be in trouble. Carrier intrigues the 49ers because of his size and speed.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8)

Assuming Boone ends his holdout, this is a pretty nice group of eight players. It's improved from last year. A solid veteran like Adam Snyder and a promising youngster like Ryan Seymour will have trouble making the team.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)

This is another power spot. It's deep. Players like Jerod-Eddie and Dial are too valuable to cut. Ramsey has looked good and I have a hunch the 49ers may like him too much to expose him to the waiver wire. That means Demarcus Dobbs could be in trouble.

LINEBACKERS (7)

Most teams carry six linebackers but the 49ers are stacked here, especially with NaVorro Bowman out for about half the season. Because fifth-round pick Lynch is promising he should make the roster. Dan Skuta is an excellent player, but there might not be any room for him. I could see him being one of those later-summer Trent Baalke trade specials because he has value.

CORNERBACKS (5)

This unit is in flux, but I see Johnson making it. Don't be surprised if there is some in-camp jockeying as the 49ers look for the best mix.

SAFETIES (5)

Ward, the 49ers' first-round pick, will play nickel cornerback as a rookie, but projects long term as a safety. Ventrone and Spillman should stick because they are great on special teams. Craig Dahl could be in trouble.

SPECIALISTS (3):

This group is set and it's excellent.
A revamped special-teams unit in San Francisco has gotten stronger.

The 49ers are re-signing special-teams ace Blake Costanzo, his agent David Canter said Tuesday. Costanzo was with the 49ers in 2011, and then left in 2012 for Chicago. The 49ers' special teams unit dipped when he departed.

The 49ers recommitted to special teams last season when they brought in Bubba Ventrone and Kassim Osgood. Costanzo, a fan favorite in San Francisco, only strengthens the 49ers’ special teams. He played for 49ers special-teams coach Brad Seely in Cleveland.

Costanzo plays inside linebacker and gives that unit depth as NaVorro Bowman recovers from a torn ACL. The 49ers have yet to announce the deal. They must make a corresponding move because they are at the 90-man limit.
The San Francisco 49ers added 12 players in the draft (and veteran receiver Stevie Johnson through a trade) during the weekend. The 49ers entered the draft with a stacked roster. Whittling down to the 53-man roster will not be an easy task this summer.

Let’s take a look at positions where veterans who could be in jeopardy of making the roster due to the additions.

Quarterback

Who could be on the bubble? McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

Why: Bethel-Thompson finished last year on the practice squad. The 49ers are signing Southern Illinois quarterback Kory Faulkner as an undrafted free agent. The two will likely be battling for a practice squad gig.

Running back

Who could be on the bubble? Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James.

Why: The 49ers drafted Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde in the second round. The 49ers will definitely roll with Frank Gore, Hyde and Marcus Lattimore (if healthy) at tailback. Bruce Miller will be the fullback. That leaves one or two spots. I bet the 49ers find a way to keep the valuable Hunter. But James, who would be open to a trade, could be expendable.

Receiver

Who could be on the bubble? Jon Baldwin, Brandon Lloyd and Kassim Osgood.

Why: Johnson will be the No. 3 receiver and fourth-round pick Bruce Ellington will certainly make the team. The team also likes second-year player Quinton Patton. If the 49ers keep six receivers, Osgood has a good chance to make the team because he is simply awesome on special teams. Baldwin has virtually no chance to make the team and Lloyd, who was signed earlier this offseason, would have to have a tremendous camp to make it.

Offensive line

Who could be on the bubble? Joe Looney and Adam Snyder

Why: The 49ers drafted center Marcus Martin (fellow third-round pick Brandon Thomas will likely be on the PUP all season). That could mean Looney, who played well at guard in a limited role last year, could be in trouble, but I think the 49ers will give him every chance to make the team. Synder could be on the odd man out although the team likes this experience. This could be a position where the 49ers go heavy.

Linebacker

Who could be on the bubble? Nick Moody

Why: The 49ers drafted inside linebacker Chris Borland in the third round and they are expected to add former Stanford standout Shayne Skov on undrafted free agency. Borland will surely make the team. If Skov makes the 53-man roster Moody, a sixth-round pick last year, would have difficulty sticking.

Secondary

Who could be on the bubble? Chris Cook, Eric Wright, Craig Dahl, Bubba Ventrone

Why: This position will likely take some time to develop. The 49ers added three cornerbacks in the draft and first-round safety Jimmie Ward will play nickel. Ward and fourth-round pick Dontae Johnson will definitely make the team. So, a veteran or two may be expendable. Again, this will be a heated camp battle.

49ers' remaining free agents

March, 25, 2014
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With special-teams ace Kassim Osgood re-signing on Monday with the San Francisco 49ers, their list of unrestricted free agents is dwindling. Let’s take a look:

Perrish Cox: The 49ers brought back Eric Wright and signed Chris Cook from Minnesota. I wouldn't close the door on Cox, who played well in the playoffs, coming back at some point, but he's clearly not a priority.

Jonathan Goodwin: I could also see Goodwin coming back at some point, perhaps after the 49ers take a look at their young centers. If Daniel Kilgore struggles, San Francisco could always turn to the crafty veteran.

Colt McCoy: McCoy most certainly will not return. The 49ers traded for Blaine Gabbert to be the backup quarterback.

The team cut cornerback Carlos Rogers, and he is still on the open market.

Change is likely at receiver

January, 28, 2014
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One of the San Francisco 49ers' top need positions is wide receiver. There's a strong chance the team could use their first draft pick on the position.

Let's take a look at their 2013 receivers and where they stand moving forward:

Michael Crabtree: The future is bright. Crabtree should be completely healed from his May 2013 torn Achilles by training camp. He is a focal point of the offense. He is a strong candidate to be re-signed in the next year. He is a free agent in 2015.

Anquan Boldin: Boldin was an instant success in his first year with the 49ers. He is 33 and he is a free agent. Expect the 49ers to do what it takes to keep him in San Francisco.

Quinton Patton: The fourth-round pick missed most of the season with a broken foot. But he was impressive when he was on the field. He made some big plays down the stretch. If he continues to develop, he can be an impact player.

Jon Baldwin: He was traded for fellow former first-round pick A.J. Jenkins. Baldwin made no impact with the 49ers. He had three catches for 28 yards (Jenkins had eight catches or 130 yards for the Chiefs). I expect the 49ers to consider cutting Baldwin to save money. He had plenty of chances to contribute and he couldn't come through.

Kassim Osgood: He played some offensive snaps, but he is mostly a special-teams player. In fact, he's a great special teamer.

Mario Manningham: The oft-injured Manningham is recovering from multiple knee issues. He is a free agent. The 49ers will likely look to move on unless they decide to give Manningham one more chance in training camp.

Veterans add special-teams 'pizzazz'

December, 10, 2013
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Thirteen games into the season and it's clear the San Francisco 49ers' special teams, particularly its coverage unit, are much improved.

The coverage unit was one of the team's few weak spots in 2012. It was a season-long problem that culminated in the team allowing a kick return for a touchdown in the Super Bowl loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Osgood
Osgood
Ventrone
Ventrone
Upgrading the unit was paramount. The team turned to Kassim Osgood and Bubba Ventrone for help. Both are veterans who are essentially just special team players. But they have long been considered among the best special teams players in the NFL.

Along with C.J. Spillman, long the star of the 49ers coverage unit, Osgood and Ventrone have helped make this a dominant group. Osgood had a blocked punt that led to three points for the 49ers in their 19-17 win over Seattle on Sunday. Ventrone added four tackles on special teams.

Harbaugh says Osgood and Ventrone bring a zest to the game for the 49ers.

"They haven't had a bad day between the two of them," Harbaugh said of his additions.

On Ventrone, Harbaugh had this to say: "He's got a lot of talent. He plays fast. He runs fast. That's what he's been doing extremely well. Penetrating on the kickoff. And, he's smart, physical on the punt. He's our punt protector. He just plays with a lot of great energy and effort. He's special in that way. He's a shining light, shining star in that regard … been thrilled to have him on our team. He's a joy to be around every single day. He doesn't have a bad day. He doesn't come to work down or, he's just not had one bad day since we've been with him. A great teammate. "

This is what Harbaugh had to say about Osgood's approach:

"We've talked about this a lot just as a team, just how great Kassim has been for our team. A wonderful, wonderful teammate. Every day he comes with a bounce in his step. Pizzazz. There are guys that have just got oomph. Don't know another way to say it other than he's got a lot of pizzazz. There are some people, we all know them, that kind of sleepwalk through the day and got no oomph. He's the opposite of that. He's got a lot of pizzazz."

With Ventrone and Osgood in the mix, so does San Francisco's special teams.

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