Initial Post-Draft Depth Chart for the San Francisco 49ers
Finishing out the month of April, one of the most championed rosters in the league got a whole lot stronger.
With GM Trent Baalke in the driver's seat, this team managed to find great value picks all over the draft, while also addressing positions of need. In another strong draft, Baalke really filled out this 49ers roster.
For a first look at San Francisco's depth chart heading into the 2013 training camp in Santa Clara, proceed through the following slides.
Projected Depth Chart: (1) Colin Kaepernick, (2) Colt McCoy, (3) Scott Tolzien, (4) B.J. Daniels
At last, the 49ers have mitigated a decade-long plagued position, transitioning Colin Kaepernick into the starting QB.
San Francisco shipped Alex Smith to Kansas City in the offseason and proceeded to reshuffle the depth chart once more.
Kaepernick was officially bumped up to the No. 1 job in the middle of 2012, and if all goes according to plan, it should be his for quite a long time.
In order to situate the No. 2 quarterback behind Kaepernick, the 49ers returned to the trade wire—except this time they would accept a player. The Niners sent picks to Cleveland for Colt McCoy, who is likely to enter 2013 as the secondary passer.
However, Tolzien has carried over, proving to be a worthwhile quarterback to have on the roster. He will have competition once again, this time in the form of rookie quarterback B.J. Daniels (FSU).
Tolzien edged out Josh Johnson a year ago when many believed Harbaugh’s former pupil had the advantage. It will be interesting to see if Tolzien can survive the quarterback gauntlet in San Francisco once again.
Projected Depth Chart: (1) Frank Gore, (2) Kendall Hunter, (3) LaMichael James, (4) Anthony Dixon, (5) Jewel Hampton, (6) Marcus Lattimore—PUP
The 49ers markedly have one of the most dominating rushing attacks in the National Football League.
While they are fortunate enough to have a prevailing offensive line and innovative play-calling, there is a great deal of talent in this backfield. And it is spearheaded by the franchise’s all-time leading rusher, Frank Gore.
In the past two drafts, the union of Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke added two more dynamic backs in Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James. These were two high-profile prospects with great ability and extraordinary upside at the next level.
In the 2013 NFL draft, the 49ers registered on the Richter Scale when they drafted South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore.
Given his injury, Lattimore will likely red-shirt as a rookie, allowing the trifecta of Gore, Hunter and James to debut. They will be complemented by Anthony Dixon once again, whose long-term future is now in jeopardy.
In a passing league, the 49ers have a startling group of runners on their hands.
Moreover, not only is this group built to win right now, but they are potentially set up for the next decade.
Projected Depth Chart: (1) Bruce Miller, (2) Will Tukuafu, (3) Lawrence Okoye
With Bruce Miller, the 49ers have an All-Pro-caliber FB operating in their backfield.
As a seventh-round defensive end from Central Florida, Miller defied the draft mold and greatly exceeded expectations in San Francisco. As long as he continues to develop, the 49ers will keep him on the roster for a very long time.
Although, the Niners do like to employ creative tactics in their backfield.
Jim Harbaugh has utilized several bigger-bodied linemen at the fullback position, keeping a healthy rotation and giving defenses unusual looks. In 2013, the 49ers will be looking for a place for Olympian Lawrence Okoye.
From a physical standpoint, he can do a lot of things for San Francisco—but he has no football background pinning him down to one position.
If the 49ers wind up keeping him on the roster, it’s because they are able to use him in multiple spots. The first of which is backing up Bruce Miller at fullback, and using his 6’6”, 308-pound frame like a battery ram.
Projected Depth Chart: (1) Vernon Davis, (2) Vance McDonald, (3) Garrett Celek, (4) Cameron Morrah, (5) Brian Jennings, (6) Demarcus Dobbs
Vernon Davis is the No. 1 tight end in San Francisco, and there is no contesting that.
Fortunately, the offensive system Jim Harbaugh brought with him from Stanford is friendly to the position. Their philosophical approach on that side of the ball dictates they have more than one capable tight end.
In this past free agency, the 49ers lost their reliable No. 2 TE Delanie Walker to Tennessee.
For a team that likes to mix it up with the tight ends, this created a void right away, and one that had to be addressed. San Francisco did so by drafting one of the top-ranked TE prospects in 2013 with Vance McDonald.
By investing a second-round pick in the Rice product, the 49ers get more dynamic at the position than ever before.
Celek, Morrah and Dobbs are going to have a tough time seeing the field.
Projected Depth Chart: (1) Michael Crabtree, (2) Anquan Boldin, (3) Mario Manningham, (4) Kyle Williams, (5) A.J. Jenkins, (6) Quinton Patton, (7) Ricardo Lockette, (8) Chad Hall, (9) Joe Hastings, (10) Marlon Moore
In his fourth year as a pro, Michael Crabtree simply exploded, finally establishing himself as the dominant playmaking threat he was always held up to be. He launched his game to that next level, putting himself amongst the top receivers.
Unfortunately, Crabtree was relied on too much in 2012 and had little help from his supporting cast, which was largely injured or aging.
Between the free agency and draft periods, San Francisco revamped its receiving corps with under-the-radar acquisitions.
The two most notable additions are Anquan Boldin (acquired via trade) and Quinton Patton (acquired via draft). These two add a combination of strength, spectacular catch ability and big-play explosiveness to the receiving corps.
Boldin will be inserted as a starter opposite Crabtree with Manningham in the slot.
Meanwhile, Patton immediately becomes the player to watch in training camp this year, as he will look to push Manningham, Williams and Jenkins for an active slot on game day.
If they manage to stay affiliated with the team, Lockette, Hall, Hastings and Moore are going to be watching a lot of games in red 49ers hoodies.
Projected Depth Chart: (1) Joe Staley, (1) Anthony Davis, (2) Kenny Wiggins (3) Carter Bykowski
This position, like many others on the 49ers roster, is locked down.
One could argue that Staley and Davis are perhaps the best pair of edge protectors in the league. They have developed their games as individuals, taking it to an elite level of play where the coaches really could not ask for more.
Unfortunately, it is a very shallow position.
San Francisco badly lacks depth at tackle—even more so now that Alex Boone has been elevated to the starting guard job. In Round 7 of the 2013, the 49ers selected Carter Bykowski of Iowa State.
At 6’7”, Bykowski is physically similar to Boone, bringing an imposing frame to the position. He has the quintessential build of a tackle, and with the non-existent depth, he has a good chance of making the team as one.
Projected Depth Chart: (1) Mike Iupati, (1) Alex Boone, (2) Daniel Kilgore, (3) Joe Looney, (4) Wayne Tribue
With Mike Iupati and Alex Boone, the 49ers are as set at guard as they are at tackle.
San Francisco has a great pairing with these two interior linemen, guys who really bite back and make this such a tenacious offensive line.
Their intimidating presence in the middle has a ripple effect on the rest of the line, which is why things often get chippy in the trenches. A lot of defensive fronts get aggravated when O-lines hit back.
At the moment, the 49ers are grooming two more players to model their starting guards.
Kilgore and Looney were brought in via the 2011 and 2012 drafts, seeing very limited time in their first couple of years. They will continue to develop behind Iupati and Boone, but starting roles at guard are out of the question at this time.
If either one receives an opportunity to compete for a starting role, it will be at center in 2014 when San Francisco will likely be looking for Jonathan Goodwin’s successor.
Projected Depth Chart: (1) Jonathan Goodwin, (2) Daniel Kilgore
The 49ers are shallow at yet another position.
With Goodwin starting and performing at a Pro Bowl level, the 49ers do not really have a need for another premier center. Goodwin—who’s played in two Super Bowls—is locked in at the No. 1 spot for at least one more season.
In the meantime, the 49ers will continue to groom Kilgore and Looney.
Projected Depth Chart: (1) Justin Smith, (1) Glenn Dorsey, (1) Ray McDonald, (2) Ian Williams, (3) Tank Carradine, (4) Tony Jerod-Eddie, (5) Quinton Dial, (6) Lawrence Okoye, (7) Lamar Divens
This was the position that was the central focus of San Francisco’s offseason.
With the departures of Ricky Jean-Francois and Isaac Sopoaga, the 49ers were under the gun and had to replenish the defensive line group. They addressed this need sufficiently in both the draft and free agency.
However, the 49ers will feature a similar starting lineup to last year with Justin Smith and Ray McDonald starting on the edges.
In the middle, there should be a rotation between Glenn Dorsey and Ian Williams. Both of these players are big-bodied, two-down run-stuffers. They could very well share time at the nose guard position in 2013.
The 49ers are also likely to begin a healthier rotation up front, primarily utilizing newly added weapons Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial and Lawrence Okoye.
Projected Depth Chart: (1) Patrick Willis, (1) NaVorro Bowman, (2) Dan Skuta, (3) Michael Wilhoite, (4) Darius Fleming, (5) Nick Moody, (6) Nate Stupar
The 49ers boast the two unanimous AP All-Pros at inside linebacker in Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.
The duo is entrenched in the middle of this defense and should be paired together until 2017 at least.
This offseason was about adding depth to the position, replacing departed linebackers Tavares Gooden and Larry Grant. They brought in a host of names through the draft and free agency, in search of special teams guys with backup ability.
Skuta, Wilhoite and Moody should be the favorites for the No. 3 job at ILB.
Projected Depth Chart: (1) Aldon Smith, (1) Ahmad Brooks, (2) Corey Lemonier, (3) Parys Haralson, (4) Darius Fleming, (5) Cam Johnson
The pattern continues with San Francisco at OLB, where they have Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks locked into starting roles.
These two have been very efficient, complementary players over the past two seasons, seeing increased production from 2011-12. Moving forward, the duo should only improve, especially with the added support this offseason.
The Niners restructured Haralson’s deal so he could remain in San Francisco, which should give him the edge as the No. 3. However, there is a very strong chance that Lemonier—with his upside—comes in and steals that job from Haralson as a rookie.
The Auburn product has incredible physical ability, which frankly blows Harlason’s upside out of the water. But the Niners will want to keep the veteran around because he is more fundamentally sound at this stage.
Last year’s rookies, Fleming and Johnson, will also be returning to compete for spots.
Projected Depth Chart: (1) Carlos Rogers, (2) Tarell Brown, (3) Chris Culliver, (4) Nnamdi Asomugha, (5) Perrish Cox, (6) Tramaine Brock, (7) Marcus Cooper
This might be San Francisco’s most competitive position group.
The 49ers now have five cornerbacks on their roster that have started in the NFL—two at All-Pro levels.
However, at this juncture, the order should remain nearly the same as last year. Rogers remains in front with Brown and Culliver right alongside him. These three corners are San Francisco’s premier cover guys and have earned their spots until proven otherwise.
But in 2013, Nnamdi Asomugha has returned home to the Bay Area, this time in red and gold.
There could very well be an unpredictable shakeup that happens at this position group, which makes this the unit to watch. There is a lot of talent aboard, and San Francisco will want to find a way to utilize it all.
This could mean players switching positions this offseason.
Projected Depth Chart: (1) Eric Reid, (1) Donte Whitner, (2) C.J. Spillman (3) Trenton Robinson, (4) Craig Dahl, (5) Darcel McBath, (6) Michael Thomas
Once again, San Francisco is in a transitional period at the safety spot. Fortunately, in Vic Fangio’s defense, the safeties are interchangeable. This provides incredible flexibility in times of personnel change.
In 2013, the 49ers lost an All-Pro but added an All-American at safety. Replacing Dashon Goldson at FS will be former LSU defensive back Eric Reid.
It will be Reid and Whitner patrolling the secondary in 2013, and they could make for a dynamic, lumber-laying pair. Both of these players have a knack for arriving at the ball carrier with unreal power.
These two starters will provide ESPN with plenty of bone-jarring hits that make the top-10 highlight reel.
Behind Reid and Whitner, the 49ers can expect a great training camp battle. Spillman, Robinson, Dahl, McBath and Thomas will all be competing for spots on the final 53-man roster, but not all of them will make it.
Projected Depth Chart: (1) Phil Dawson
The 49ers were fortunate enough to convince Phil Dawson to come to San Francisco.
After cursed David Akers faltered in 2012, the team decided to part ways with the former All-Pro place kicker and replace him with another.
Dawson is one of the most decorated kickers in the league today and will hopefully bring the consistency back to field goal kicking in the Bay Area.
His spot will be uncontested in 2013.
Projected Depth Chart: (1) Andy Lee
Again, the 49ers are fortunate to have a franchise player at what is a commonly overlooked position.
As one of the most quality special teamers in the game, Andy Lee has provided stability and a league-best production for San Francisco.
A master of his craft, the four-time All-Pro holds the NFL record for net punting average in a single-season with 44.0 yards, which he set back in 2011.
Frankly, Lee has been a model of consistency, which is why the team signed him to a six-year extension that will keep him in the Bay Area until 2018.
Dylan DeSimone is the San Francisco 49ers' lead columnist for Bleacher Report. A former NFL journalist and fantasy football writer for SB Nation, Niners Nation and SB Nation Bay Area, Dylan now writes for B/R.
To talk football with Dylan, follow him on Twitter @DeSimone80.