San Francisco 49ers: Analyzing the 2012-13 Practice Squad
The San Francisco 49ers finally have their complete 53-man roster. With one of the deeper rosters, unexpected cuts were bound to happen; Chris Owusu was an example of this.
Usually teams will snag these soon-to-be cut players and give them the opportunity to play on respective practice squads. The practice squad isn't the flashiest unit to discuss and analyze, but they're important nonetheless. They are essential in getting your favorite players ready for game-day action.
Let's look at San Francisco's 2012-13 practice squad.
Michael Thomas, S
Michael Thomas was solid during preseason action. With Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson firmly entrenched as starters and C.J. Spillman receiving a pay raise, Thomas was a likely roster cut.
The 49ers did well in acquiring Thomas for their practice squad, and unless a injury occurs, the former Stanford product likely will see little game action this season.
Matthew Masifilo and Tony Jerod-Eddie, DTs
The 49ers have some depth along the defensive line, and Masifilo was a likely roster cut.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio loves versatile defenders, and Masifilo fits the bill. At 265 pounds, they can play Masifilo at either end or tackle in a 3-4 scheme.
Again, the 49ers have depth with Ricky Jean-Francois and several other prospects who also tout their versatility.
Cam Johnson and Michael Wilhoite, LBs
The San Francisco's 2012 seventh-round selection, Cam Johnson, was an exciting selection for many 49ers fans. While playing defensive end at the University of Virginia, the 49ers were comfortable that Johnson could make a seamless transition to outside linebacker.
After suffering a minor injury, Johnson was limited in camp and during the preseason. The 49ers have some depth issues at OLB, but Johnson's limited appearances proved to be a factor in their decision process.
Of all the practice-player acquisitions, Johnson has the best chance to see some game-day action this season. With the loss of Parys Haralson for the season, this furthers my point.
Nathan Palmer, WR
Similar to Chris Owusu, Palmer was a likely cut.
Why? The 49ers are loaded at the wide receiver position.
Palmer made a few plays during the preseason, especially in the last game against the San Diego Chargers. This was a good move by the 49ers in keeping this young talent at receiver.
Al Netter and Kenny Wiggins, OTs
Al Netter was a solid sign for the 49ers. At 6'6'' and 310 pounds, Netter has the physical talent to play in this league, but is a bit raw in terms of technique.
The 49ers also have solid depth alongside the offensive line, and similar to their defensive line, the 49ers like players who can play multiple positions.
I envision Netter as a swing tackle. Both Daniel Kilgore and Joe Looney can play multiple positions along the line, which justifies their roster spots.