The San Francisco 49ers have officially signed inside linebacker Tavares Gooden to a one-year deal. To make room on the roster, the team has parted ways with outside linebacker Antwan Applewhite.
Releasing Applewhite is a surprising move since he had played well during camp and the preseason. The team now only has three outside linebackers after this move. With this move official, here is a breakdownof the 53-man roster.
QB: Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Scott Tolzien (3)
Smith is the starter with two rookie backups. It’s a huge risk to have so much inexperience behind Smith but the 49ers believe that they can manage through this season with Sith performing to a level where they don’t have to worry about their backups needing to come in.
RB: Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Anthony Dixon (3)
Hunter has emereged as the backup and should get a good amount of playing time this year as the team hopes to relieve Gore of his previous workload.
FB: Moran Norris, Bruce Miller (2)
Norris has been starting during the preseason, but Miller has seen playing time at fullback as well. Miller will still play more special teams work but don’t be surprised if he get more time in the offense.
TE: Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker (2)
It was initially thought that the 49ers would have more than two tight ends to fit into the offense. But with only Davis and Walker, the 49ers still have two very talented tight ends that will be major players in the developing the offense.
WR: Joshua Morgan, Ted Ginn, Braylon Edwards, Michael Crabtree, Kyle Williams (5)
Crabtree’s status for the first week is up in the air, so expect Edwards and Morgan to possibly get the starting nod. Ginn has looked good during the camp but there is a huge pressure for him to finally deliver during the regular season. Williams adds special teams value but he is hoping to finally get more involved in the offense.
OL: Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Adam Snyder, Chilo Rachal, Anthony Davis, Jonathan Goodwin, Alex Boone, Daniel Kilgore, MIke Person (9)
Goodwin will start at center with Snyder as the backup right guard. Snyder’s versatility made Tony Wragge expendable. The two rookies (Kilgore, Person) will have a lot of learning to do as they are on the roster. It doens’t seem likely that any of those two would have any major impact, but with the offensive line still finding itself, anything could happen.
DL: Isaac Sopoaga, Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Ricky Jean Francois, Demarcus Dobbs, Ian Williams, WIll Tukuafu (7)
How will Sopoaga play in his return to nose tackle? Can Ray McDonald handle the starting job? The 49ers need the defensive line to add tremendous pressure to the opposition. They are employing two undrafted free agents from this year and one in Tukuafu last year. It’s a position that is developing.
LB: Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Parys Haralson, Blake Costanzo, Larry Grant, Tavares Gooden (8)
Smith could find his way to the starting role as he continues to improve his skills. With Gooden in, the 49ers don’thave many options at outside linebacker. Brooks, Smith and Haralson will have to carry a lot of the pressure in pass rushing. The team has been working with the inside linebackers on their blitzing, so that might be reason why it was OK to only keep three outside linebackers. But a position change for an inside linebacker might not be out of the question.
CB: Carlos Rogers, Shawntae Spencer, Tramaine Brock, Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver (5)
Will Spencer be ready in time for Week 1? If now, expect Rogers and Brown to start. Brock has had his moments during the preseason and will fill in with Culliver during nickel packages.
S: Dashon Goldson, Donte Whitner, Madieu Williams, Reggie Smith, CJ Spillman, Colin Jones (6)
Goldson and Whitner will start and Williams will play as the team’s main baclup. Smith isn’t fully recovered yet, so it’s unknown how he factors into the secondary. Both Spillman and Jones to look to be primary special teamers.
K: David Akers (1)
P: Andy Lee (1)
LS: Brian Jennings (1)
All three of these players are good.