San Francisco 49ers: Kevin McDermott

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.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- One of the biggest training camp surprises last year was when rookie Kevin McDermott beat out Brian Jennings for long-snapping job.

Jennings was with the 49ers for 14 years and was a fan favorite.

Many were shocked McDermott, a UCLA product, beat out Jennings, who was famous for his consistency.

Yet, the rookie went out and had a flawless first NFL season. Any worry about the kid whiffing on snaps, quickly dissipated. He showed the same consistency that the venerable Jennings did.

Now that he is entering his second season, McDermott is hoping to become even better.

"There are bigger expectations now, because I've done it all once," McDermott said. "I just have to go and get better and better."

McDermott said he never worried about the pressure of replacing the longest tenured player on the team. He said he couldn't think about that. His only goal was to prove the 49ers right.

As he did last season, McDermott praised veteran kicker Phil Dawson and Andy Lee.

"They are unbelievable," McDermott said. "Without them, I could have had the success I had last year."
Much has been made about the Seattle Seahawks building their Super Bowl-winning roster on the power of undrafted free agents. Seattle had 21 undrafted free agents on their 53-man roster.

The Seahawks’ biggest competitor, the San Francisco 49ers, also have built their roster with the help of undrafted free agents. The 49ers ended the season with 16 of their 53 players being players who entered the league after not being drafted. They also have defensive tackle Ian Williams, who was on the injured reserve, as an undrafted player in their program.

Let’s take a look at the 17 San Francisco players who were not drafted:

Guard Alex Boone
Cornerback Tramaine Brock
Tight end Derek Carrier (originally signed by Oakland)
Tight end Garrett Celek
Safety Craig Dahl (Giants)
Kicker Phil Dawson (Oakland)
Defensive tackle DeMarcus Dobbs
Defensive tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie
Long-snapper Kevin McDermott
Cornerback Darryl Morris
Receiver Kassim Osgood (San Diego)
Linebacker Dan Skuta (Cincinnati)
Safety C.J. Spillman (San Diego)
Fullback Will Tukuafu (Seattle)
Safety Bubba Ventrone (New England)
Linebacker Michael Wilhoite
Defensive tackle Ian Williams

49ers rankings: 41-45

February, 6, 2014
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We are taking a look at the top 60 players in the San Francisco 49ers' program and will rank them from 1-60. We are going to take a look in a 12-part series, moving upward. The ranking considerations are based on 2013 production, future projections, age and contract status:

41. Darryl Morris: The undrafted rookie was a nice surprise for the 49ers. He became a big part of the special teams, and the 49ers like him as a cornerback moving forward. He should only get better.

42. Bubba Ventrone: First-year 49er was a huge part of the special teams and a big reason why the unit improved so much. A keeper.

43. Kassim Osgood: Similar to Ventrone. But he is 33 compared to Ventrone's 31. Osgood is a free agent, but I wouldn't be shocked if he is back.

44. Perrish Cox: The cornerback bounced on and off the roster but did help the 49ers in their two playoff wins. He is restricted free agent who likely won't be tendered. I can see the 49ers bringing him back.

45. Kevin McDermott: The rookie long snapper did a great job. His battle with veteran Brian Jennings was a summer-long storyline. But once the season started McDermott became a non-story because he did exactly what you want from your snapper -- he was flawless. He looks to have a nice career ahead of him.
With the San Francisco 49ers' season over, let’s take a look at the impact made by the rookie class:

First round: The 49ers traded up to take safety Eric Reid at No. 18 and they have not been disappointed. He made the Pro Bowl after a strong season in which he showed the game is not too big for him. Reid was very polished and he seems like he will be a big part of the team's future for many years.

Second round: The 49ers feel very good about tight end Vance McDonald's future. He improved as the season went on, especially as a blocker, but he must improve as a receiver, too.

Third round: Auburn linebacker Corey Lemonier played more earlier in the season when Aldon Smith was away from the team, but he did play on special teams for much of the season. He has potential and provides the 49ers with good depth.

Fourth round: Receiver Quinton Patton returned from a Week 4 broken foot in December and showed a real burst. He has explosion and plays with a lot of confidence. He looks like he may be a find.

Fifth round: Defensive tackles Quinton Dial didn’t play much, but the team likes him and he has a chance to be a rotational player soon.

Sixth round: The 49ers like linebacker Nick Moody's his special-teams potential.

Undrafted free agents

Long snapper: Kevin McDermott's battle with longtime snapper Brian Jennings was a story during the preseason. McDermott won the job partly on price tag, and the move paid off. McDermott did a great job all season and had chemistry with kicker Phil Dawson and punter Andy Lee. He looks like he will be a 49er for many years.

Cornerback: Darryl Morris has developed into a key piece for a vastly improved coverage unit. The team likes his potential on defense, as well.

Note: This class can get a lot better. Second-round pick Tank Carradine, a defensive lineman , and fourth-round pick, running back Marcus Lattimore, missed last year with torn ACLs. Both were considered first-round picks had they been healthy. Both are expected to be healthy in 2014, and have a lot of potential.

Conclusion: This looks to be a strong class after a mostly wasted 2012 draft. This class is deep with long-term potential, especially if McDonald takes the next step and Carradine and Lattimore can stay healthy.

Midway point rookie review

November, 1, 2013
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- With the San Francisco 49ers' regular season half over, let’s take a look at the impact made by the rookie class:

First round: Safety Eric Reid. The 49ers traded up to take Reid at No. 18 and they have not been disappointed. Reid has stepped right in and looks like he’s been playing for five years. He rarely makes mistakes and he has shown he is a playmaker. The team does not miss Dashon Goldson, who went to Tampa Bay in free agency. Reid is a big reason why this defense is still top notch. Kudos to him for being up to task and to the 49ers for making this choice.

Second round: Tight end Vance McDonald. McDonald has just six catches, but he is playing extensively and blocking very well. I expect him to get better pretty rapidly. He's a potential impact player.

Third round: Linebacker Corey Lemonier. The Auburn product had been a gift to the 49ers. He has played a lot in the past five games with linebacker Aldon Smith in alcohol treatment. Lemonier has shown a burst as a pass-rusher and in the run game. He looks to have a bright future.

Fourth round: Receiver Quinton Patton. Patton showed promise before suffering a foot injury in Week 4. He will be part of the picture later this season and in the future.

Fifth round: Defensive tackle Quinton Dial. Dial has been active the past two games after coming back from an injury. He seems to be part of the rotational plan at nose tackle.

Sixth round: Linebacker Nick Moody. He is expected to be a key member of the special-teams units when he returns from a broken hand.

Undrafted free agents:

Long-snapper: Kevin McDermott. His battle with longtime snapper Brian Jennings was a story during the preseason. McDermott won the job partly on price tag. The move paid off. His snapping has been flawless.

Cornerback: Darryl Morris. He has developed into a key piece for a vastly improved coverage unit. He has quickly secured his place on the 53-man roster moving forward.

Note: This week, the 49ers activated defensive lineman Tank Carradine off the PUP list. He is a dynamic player who is coming off a torn ACL. He could make his presence felt down the stretch. Fourth-round pick Marcus Lattimore is making strides from a major knee injury he suffered in college. He may practice this season with an eye on 2014.

Conclusion: This looks to be a strong class after a mostly wasted 2012 draft. This class is deep with long-term potential. This is one of the deepest rosters in football, yet there are several rookies who are figuring in prominently on a 6-2 team.

San Francisco 49ers cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
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Most significant move: The San Francisco 49ers released long-snapper Brian Jennings eight days before Jennings would have set a franchise record for consecutive games played. Jennings had been with the team since 2000 and was the longest-tenured current 49ers player. Undrafted free agent Kevin McDermott will handle snapping duties heading into the regular season. Coach Jim Harbaugh had called the snapping competition close, an indication the 49ers were thinking about going younger and cheaper at a position that can be taken for granted. Still, there was some shock value to such a longtime player receiving his release. The second-guessing will be justified if McDermott falters. Jennings, 36, was automatic.

Receiver trend:The 49ers had the oldest wide receivers in the NFL by average age before and after teams reduced to the previous 75-man limit. They got younger at the position Saturday by parting with Kassim Osgood, who turned 33 in May and was primarily valued for his contributions on special teams. Anquan Boldin (32), Kyle Williams (25), Jon Baldwin (24), Quinton Patton (23) and Marlon Moore (26) were the five wide receivers sticking on the initial 53-man roster. The mix will change as the season progresses. Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham enter the season on the reserve/physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Rules allow them to begin practicing between Aug. 15 and Nov. 19. Once they begin practicing, they have 21 calendar days to join the active roster.

What's next: The 49ers will wait for several players to get healthy. Manningham, Crabtree, Tank Carradine, Eric Wright, Marcus Lattimore, Luke Marquardt and Quinton Dial are on the reserve/PUP or reserve/non-football injury lists. None of them counts against the 53-man roster. None can resume practicing before Oct. 15. Lattimore, the running back San Francisco selected in the fourth round this year, isn't expected back until next season. Another player, Demarcus Dobbs, is on the reserve/suspended list for Week 1. Having so many players on reserve lists gives the 49ers some roster flexibility early in the season. The cuts they made Saturday didn't require as many difficult choices as a team with the 49ers' overall roster strength might anticipate otherwise.

Players cut: OT Carter Bykowski, WR Austin Collie, CB Marcus Cooper, TE MarQueis Gray, WR Chad Hall, RB Jewel Hampton, WR Lavelle Hawkins, LB Joe Holland, WR Chuck Jacobs, LS Brian Jennings, LB Travis Johnson, CB Darryl Morris, OG Patrick Omameh, WR Kassim Osgood, NT Mike Purcell, SS Trenton Robinson, FB Jason Schepler, SS Michael Thomas, OG Wayne Tribue, QB Seneca Wallace, OT Kenny Wiggins.

Where the 49ers' roster stands at 75

August, 28, 2013
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By Saturday, NFL teams will have reduced their rosters from 90-player maximums to 75 and finally 53 within a one-week period.

The chart shows where the San Francisco 49ers' roster stands by position at the 75-man limit. It also shows Week 1 positional counts for the previous two seasons. The comparison should generally show us where the team will trim, and to what degree.

The 49ers have had the same head coach and a very similar coaching staff for each of the past three seasons, so we shouldn't see wild swings in how the team values certain positions.

Wide receiver and cornerback are positions of interest heading into the final preseason game, set for Thursday night at San Diego. It's possible the 49ers have seen enough to know where they're headed at those positions, but from the outside, it's tough to settle on a clear receiving rotation for Week 1 against Green Bay.

The coaching staff has been straightforward in its public assessments recently.

Coach Jim Harbaugh pointed to Colt McCoy as the clear choice to serve in the No. 2 role behind starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio identified rookie first-round choice Eric Reid as the starting free safety over Craig Dahl and C.J. Spillman. Fangio also noted that Nnamdi Asomugha has a slight lead over Tramaine Brock as the third corner, although injuries affecting both players could come into play.

Harbaugh has called the long-snapping race close between veteran Brian Jennings and Kevin McDermott, an undrafted rookie from UCLA. Jennings has been outstanding for years, but he's 36 and carrying a higher salary-cap charge at a time when the 49ers are counting cap dollars more closely.

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