WR Kyle Williams said it best when he mentioned how hard a team this would be to make and how hard it would be to beat. Coming off a 13-3 season and an appearance in the NFC Championship, the 49ers brought back all of their key pieces and added talent across the board.
Each week until the 53-man roster is decided we'll take a peak at how the roster is shaping up.
Stock rising: QB Scott Tolzien and LB Eric Bakhtiari did the most to help themselves over the past week. Tolzien is in a heated battle for the No. 3 QB spot with Josh Johnson, while Bakhtiari could finally start a season on a 53-man roster after spending the last four years
on the practice squads of six different teams.
Stock falling: Anthony Dixon doesn't have a future with the 49ers as a RB. The writing has been on the wall since the additions of LaMichael James and Brandon Jacobs and his transition to fullback, combined with duties on special teams might not be enough to keep him with the team.
QB -- In: (3) Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Scott Tolzien. Out: Josh Johnson. Analysis: Tolzien sits behind Josh Johnson on the depth chart, but his play in the first preseason game (10 for 13, 84 yards) makes his the more logical choice at this point to run the scout team. Johnson is slated to receive more playing time Saturday against the Texans and will need a good showing to improve his chances at making the roster.
RB -- In: (5) Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Brandon Jacobs , LaMichael James, Rock Cartwright. Out: Anthony Dixon. Analysis: It's a numbers game and Dixon is in trouble. He's tried to make himself more valuable by playing fullback too, but it might be too little, too late.Cartwright looked good at RB against the Vikings and is the more accomplished special teams player, which is where Dixon would make the most impact.
WR -- In: (6) Randy Moss, Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Ted Ginn Jr., Kyle Williams , A.J. Jenkins. Out: Brett Swain, Brian Tyms, Ben Hannula , Joe Hastings, Nathan Palmer, Chris Owusu. Analysis: Palmer, Tyms and Owusu have all shown flashes of potential and should be considered candidates for the practice squad. Ginn's real value is as a returner and Williams has been one of the team's most consistent performers throughout camp.
TE -- In: (3) Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Demarcus Dobbs. Out: Nate Byham, Konrad Reuland, Kyle Nelson, Gijon Robinson, Joe Sawyer. Analysis: Coming off a torn ACL, Byham has fallen to No. 5 on the depth chart behind Reuland and Dobbs. For now, he can't be considered a 53-man candidate because he's missed practice time and the first preseason game. Depending on how the numbers play out, Reuland could find himself on the team, along with Dobbs, who splits his time between defense, offense and special teams.
OL -- In: (9) Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin, Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Leonard Davis, Joe Looney, Daniel Kilgore, Jason Slowey . Out: Mike Person, Kenny Wiggins, Al Netter, Chase Beeler, Derek Hall. Analysis: Staley, Iupati, Goodwin, Boone, Anthony Davis, Leonard Davis and Looney should be considered locks to make the team. As for the last two spots? Kilgore and Slowey have been the more talked about players throughout camp.
DL -- In (6): Ray McDonald, Isaac Sopoaga, Justin Smith, Rickey Jean Francois, Ian Williams, Will Tukuafu. Out: Tony Jerod-Eddie, Patrick Butrym , Matt Masifilo. Analysis: For Jerod-Eddie, Butrym and Masifilo, there is just too much talent in front of them to make the roster. It wouldn't be a surprise if one or two of them end up on the practice squad -- likely Jerod-Eddie.
LB -- In (8): Ahmad Brooks, NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis,Aldon Smith, Parys Haralson, Larry Grant, Tavares Gooden, Eric Bakhtiari. Out: Joe Holland, Cam Johnson, Michael Wilhoite, Kourtnei Brown, Kenny Rowe. Analysis: The wild card is Eric Bakhtiari. The career practice squad player has been a more consistent performer in camp than seventh-round pick Cam Johson, who has struggled staying healthy. If Bakhtiari can find a role on special teams, he has a good chance to make the team.
DB -- In: (9) Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Dashon Goldson, Donte Whitner, Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox, Trenton Robinson, C.J. Spillman, Colin Jones. Out: Tramaine Brock, Cory Nelms, Darcel McBath, Anthony Mosley, Michael Thomas, Deante' Purvis. Analysis: Cox's ability to play the nickel is the difference. DC Vic Fangio has been complimentary of Cox's work there -- important praise considering the growing importance of the spot in today's pass-heavy NFL.