Early Projections for the San Francisco 49ers' Final 53-Man Roster

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Early Projections for the San Francisco 49ers' Final 53-Man Roster
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

The San Francisco 49ers will have some difficult decisions to make when it comes time to cut their roster down.  From top to bottom, there may not be a more talented 90-man unit in the NFL.  Some talented reserves and practice squad possibilities will find themselves on the street when the season starts.

The already deep roster was further bolstered by the addition of 12 picks during the NFL draft, along with the trade for ex-Buffalo receiver Stevie Johnson.  While not all of those players will make the active roster in year one with San Francisco, expect key contributors from last season still to be cut, including former Pro Bowlers.

You can’t envy general manager Trent Baalke or head coach Jim Harbaugh too much; some of the decisions will be very difficult to make.

There’s still plenty of time for everything to sort itself out.  OTA workouts don’t begin until May 27, minicamps don’t start until June 17 and training camp itself can’t open until fifteen days before San Francisco’s first preseason game.

However, there’s no need to wait that long.  Let’s take a first crack at breaking down the team’s initial 53-man roster.

By my count, I see 37 players who are more or less locks to make the squad.  Some of those players qualify due to success in the past few seasons.  Some qualify because the 49ers have recently invested high draft picks in them.  Some qualify because cutting them would be a serious hit to the salary cap.  Whatever the reason, their slots are more or less secure.

That leaves 16 slots for 53 players to try to squeeze onto the roster.  Let’s see who will stay and who will go.

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