SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 20: Donte Whitner #31, Dashon Goldson #38 and Patrick Willis #52 of the San Francisco 49ers prepare to run on to the field for their game against the Oakland Raiders at Candlestick Park on August 20, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Is it too early to start predicting the 53-man roster? Nonsense! The San Francisco 49ers are a very complete team, and spots on the roster are scarce - get 'em while their hot, and get these roster projections and analysis while you're at it. For more on the team, head on over to Niners Nation.
There's a period of time after the 2012 NFL Draft but before training camps open for all teams that most fans find absolutely boring. In years past, rookie contract negotiations have been all the rage, but now, nobody is hardly lifting an eyebrow over the fact that, say, the Minnesota Vikings have yet to sign any of their ten draftees. The new collective bargaining agreement passed in August includes rookie wage scales, so teams have the guidelines already set for their rookies.
As such, there's far too little to really talk about. The New Orleans Saints were happy to oblige for a short while with their bounty scandal, but now there's another waiting period until the good stuff happens. Instead, we'll default to the time-honored tradition of rosterbation.
Over the next couple weeks, we're going to have some in-depth analysis of the San Francisco 49ers roster and many of the position battles going on. We'll look at who is likely to make it, who will be active on gameday and much, much more. But first, let's crank out a quick and dirty 53-man roster projection, shall we?
Quarterback(3): Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Josh Johnson
Half Back(4): Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Rock Cartwright
Fullback(1): Bruce Miller
Tight End (3): Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Nate Byham
Wide Receiver (6): Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, A.J. Jenkins, Kyle Williams, Randy Moss, Ted Ginn Jr.
Tackles (3): Joe Staley, Anthony Davis, Alex Boone
Guards (3): Mike Iupati, Daniel Kilgore, Joe Looney
Centers (2): Jonathan Goodwin, Jason Slowey
Defensive Ends (4): Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Will Tukuafu, DeMarcus Dobbs
Defensive Tackles (3): Isaac Sopoaga, Ricky Jean Francois, Ian Williams
Outside Linebackers (4): Ahmad Brooks, Aldon Smith, Parys Haralson, Cam Johnson
Inside Linebackers (4): Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Larry Grant, Tavares Gooden
Cornerbacks (5): Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver, Tramaine Brock, Perrish Cox
Safeties (5): Dashon Goldson, Donte Whitner, C.J. Spillman, Collin Jones, Trenton Robinson
Specialists (3): David Akers, Andy Lee, Brian Jennings