The San Francisco 49ers have one of the deepest 53-man rosters in all of professional football. It will not be easy for rookies and other fringe players to make the team.
General manager Trent Baalke has added several free agents, including Nnamdi Asomugha, Adam Snyder, Craig Dahl, Phil Dawson, Glenn Dorsey, Dan Skuta, Marlon Moore and Kassim Osgood. Most of these players are solid bets to make the 53-man roster. Only Moore and Osgood are question marks.
Trades have also added veterans Anquan Boldin and Colt McCoy, as the 49ers are attempting to add both star quality and depth to their roster.
To make it an even bigger hurdle for marginal players to make the 49ers' roster, the team selected 11 players in the recent NFL draft and have added several undrafted free agents (UFAs).
To determine what a dark-horse candidate to make the roster is, we must first define who qualifies as a dark horse.
For the purposes of this article, we shall consider a dark horse to be any recent draftee who was not selected in the first three rounds of the 2012 or 2013 drafts, as well as any player who was not on the 49ers' active roster for at least half of the team's games in 2012.
Let's take a look at five dark-horse candidates to make the 2013 49ers roster.
Stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com, unless otherwise noted.