49ers 53-man roster projection heading into 2023 NFL training camp – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

The 49ers open training camp this week with their core intact from a year ago and nearly every starting position locked up.

As always, the bottom half of the list will be the battleground for competition with veterans trying to hold down jobs and impeccable youngsters looking to make a positive impression.

With the opening of training camp, we project what the roster can be expected to look like on August 29 once the moves are made to reach the regular season limit of 53 players.

There are 36 players listed as “locks” to make the team. The projected list currently has 17 others in the “looking good” category.

Let’s figure 10 to 14 of those players will make the team, leaving three to seven spots for those rising from the “in the mix” group.

Here’s our pre-camp 49ers roster:

Quarterback (4)

Lock: Brock Purdy, Sam Darnold

Looks good: Trey Lance

In the mixture: Brandon Allen

The 49ers went out this offseason and signed Darnold to a one-year contract that includes $3.5 million of fully guaranteed money. They pursued him for a reason, and it looks to put him in a strong position as the team reports for camp.

Lance is healthy and had a strong offseason. The only reason we only rank him as “looks good” is that if he doesn’t break camp as a starter or backup, it could prompt another team to make a push to acquire him in a trade.

Run back (8)

Lock: Christian McCaffrey, Kyle Juszczyk, Elijah Mitchell, Jordan Mason

Looks good: Ty Davis Award

In the mixture: Ronald Awatt, Jack Colletto, Khalen Laborn

The 49ers have more success finding undrafted running backs than drafting them. So will Awatt or Laborn open some eyes in camp and make a push for a roster spot? That looks to be a tall order this summer, with McCaffrey, Mitchell, Mason and Davis-Price returning from a year ago.

Colletto is a jack-of-all-trades linebacker who will likely remain on the practice squad while filling a variety of roles on both sides of the ball.

Wide receiver (11)

Lock: Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings

Looks good: Danny Gray, Ray-Ray McCloud

In the mixture: Ronnie Bell, Willie Snead, Chris Conley, Tay Martin, Dazz Newsome, Isaiah Winstead

This is a position group where there are many different scenarios for how things will shake out for the top three players.

Gray is the fastest player in the room, which gives him an advantage. McCloud is back as the 49ers’ primary return man. But Bell, a seventh-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, has an opportunity to work himself into that mix.

Veterans Snead and Conley both saw NFL action last season and will add to the competition.

Tight end (6)

Lock: George Kittle, Cameron Latu

Looks good: Charlie Woerner

In the mixture: Ross Dwelley, Brayden Willis, Troy Fumagalli

The 49ers selected Latu in the third round of the draft and Willis in the seventh round. It gave an indication that the 49ers are looking to add some new players to the mix at tight end.

The club has gone with four tight ends on their roster, so the final spot will likely come down to Dwelley, who has played 72 games in five seasons, or Willis.

Offensive Line (16)

Lock: Trent Williams, Aaron Banks, Jake Brendel, Spencer Burford, Colton McKivitz

Looks good: Jon Feliciano, Jaylon Moore, Matt Pryor, Nick Zakelj

In the mixture: Jason Poe, Joey Fisher, Keith Ismael, Corey Luciano, Ilm Manning, Leroy Watson, Alfredo Gutierrez

The boot device is shown set. However, the backup jobs are open to competition.

The 49ers added veterans Feliciano and Pryor to provide depth on the interior at the tackle spots, respectively. Recent draft picks Moore and Zakelj are looking to take the next steps to find roles on the team.

The door is open for one of the undrafted players to step in and win a spot.

Defense line (16)

Lock: Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Javon Hargrave, Javon Kinlaw, Kevin Givens, Drake Jackson

Looks good: Robert Beal, Clelin Ferrell, Kerry Hyder, TY McGill

In the mixture: Kalia Davis, Austin Bryant, Darryl Johnson, Alex Barrett, Marlon Davidson, Spencer Waege

The 49ers’ big offseason acquisition was Hargrave, who comes over from the Philadelphia Eagles on a big-money contract.

If the 49ers opt to keep 11 defensive linemen, Davis would have the best chance after sitting out his rookie season. The 49ers compared him to DJ Jones during the scouting process. He rehabbed all of last season after a knee injury cut short his senior year at Central Florida in October 2021.

Linebacker (8)

Lock: Fred Warner, Dre Greelaw, Oren Burks, Dee Winters

Looks good: Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles

In the mixture: Jalen Graham. Marcelino McCrary-Ball, Curtis Robinson

In the sixth round of the draft, the 49ers considered Winters and Graham before deciding to go with Winters. In the seventh round, with their last pick, they grabbed Graham.

There aren’t many guard spots on this unit, so special teams will play a big factor when players get a uniform.

Cornerback (10)

Lock: Charvarius Ward, Deommodore Lenoir, Isaiah Oliver

Looks good: Darrell Luter, Samuel Womack

In the mixture: Ambry Thomas, AJ Parker, Qwuantrezz Knight, Tre Swilling, D’Shawn Jamison

Oliver was one of the standouts during the 49ers’ offseason program. He is slated to replace Jimmie Ward as the 49ers’ nickel back.

The 49ers have some young players and stiff competition for the backup jobs with Luter, a fifth-round draft pick, Womack and Thomas.

The door is open for one of the other players to win a job backing up Ward and Lenoir.

Security (7)

Lock: Talanoa Hufanga, Tashaun Gipson, Ji’Ayir Brown, George Odum

Looks good: Myles Hartsfield

In the mixture: Taylor Hawkins, Avery Young

It will be hard for anyone to crack the top four spots with Hufanga, Gipson, special-teams ace Odum and Brown, a third-round draft pick.

Hartsfield had a big advantage after spending one season in Carolina with Steve Wilks, the 49ers’ new defensive coordinator.

Special teams (4)

Lock: K Jake Moody, P Mitch Wishnowsky, LS Taybor Pepper

Looks good: None

In the mixture: Zane Gonzalez

Robbie Gould remains a free agent but will not be returning to the club after six consistent seasons at the club.

Moody is the player the 49ers selected to replace Gould. The 49ers selected him with the No. 99 overall pick a month after acquiring Gonzalez in a trade from the Panthers.

The 49ers have held on to Gonzalez to see if a trade option presents itself.

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