With Thursday’s final preseason game a day away, the final roster trimmings loom large for San Francisco 49ers‘ General Manager John Lynch and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan. I anticipate plenty of tough calls will be made. At the time of writing linebacker Malcom Smith, one of this regime’s first big free agent acquisitions has already been released.
— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) August 27, 2019
This is a clear sign of the improvement and impact of the young linebackers on this team.
Nevertheless, lost in all of the excitement and drama is the massive impact final roster cuts have on players, their families and livelihoods. I personally want to say thank you to all the players who are sacrificing their bodies for the team I love. To the guys who won’t make it, all the best in your future endeavors and don’t give up.
My prediction for the 49ers final man roster is as follows:
Quarterbacks: Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Mullens. CJ Beathard is a decent backup QB but he’s third best on a roster that can’t afford to keep three quarterbacks. Nevertheless, Sports Betting Dime‘s odds maker, Sascha Paruk, thinks Beathard has just an 8/1 chance of being cut, noting how it’s far more likely that the Niners roster Beathard for now, even if he’s third on the depth chart. As other teams lose QBs to injury, a backup with nearly 400 pass attempts’ worth of experience will have decent trade value later in the season.
Running backs: Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Jerick McKinnon. The odd man out is Jeff Wilson, though I really hope he makes it onto our practice squad. McKinnon may be a candidate for IR, either the season ending or possible return variety. Whether that opens the door again for Wilson remains to be seen.
Fullback: Kyle Juszczyk
Wide receivers: Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, Deebo Samuel, Jalen Hurd, Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor and Richie James. I’ve gone for seven wide receivers because I think each of these players offers something different. Jordan Matthews will play for some other team in the NFL.
Tight ends: George Kittle, Kaden Smith and Ross Dwelley. Garrett Celek is out, but he may be back later in the season if someone gets hurt.
Offensive line: Joe Staley, Mike McGlinchey, Laken Tomlinson, Mike Person, Ben Garland, Weston Richburg, Sam Young and Najee Toran. This group will probably see an arrival from another team’s cut downs. Joshua Garnett is out. Shon Coleman is on IR and Justin Skule is a practice squad candidate.
Cornerback: Richard Sherman, K’waun Williams, Ahkello Witherspoon, Jason Verrett, Emmanuel Moseley and DJ Reed. Emmanuel Moseley has played himself onto the roster whilst rookie Tim Harris has already been placed on season ending IR.
Safety: Jaquiski Tartt, Tarvarius Moore, Jimmy Ward and Marcell Harris. Adrian Colbert has been hurt and was relegated to fifth choice safety so he’s out, just a year after opening the season as a starter. On Colbert, Paruk sees the safety’s chances of being cut at a short 1/5, not just due to his hamstring injury, but also because he’s been outplayed by 2018 third-rounder Tarvarius Moore. Colbert graded out at a woeful 31.7 at ProFootballFocus last year in 320 defensive snaps, while Moore was at 52.1 on 232 snaps and graded out higher both in pass coverage and run defense, albeit at cornerback. Moore is two years younger, has a better pedigree, and is playing at a higher level.
Defensive line: DeForest Buckner, DJ Jones, Solomon Thomas, Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Sheldon Day, Ronald Blair, Jullian Taylor and Damontre Moore. Moore is a pass rush threat who looks to have played his way onto the team. Kentavius Street looks likely to end up on season ending IR, ensuring he’s stashed for next season with Arik Armstead, Sheldon Day, Ronald Blair and Damontre Moore all in their last/only years under contract.
Linebackers: Fred Warner, Kwon Alexander, Elijah Lee, Dre Greenlaw and Azeez Al Shaair. We say goodbye to David Mayo and Mark Nzeocha, as the 49ers trust the youth movement at linebacker.
Special Teams: Robbie Gould, Mitch Wishnowsky and Colin Holba.