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53-man roster projection: Post-preseason Week 2

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The San Francisco 49ers are halfway through their preseason schedule. We provide a projection of the 53-man roster as they prepare for the San Diego Chargers.

The San Francisco 49ers face the San Diego Chargers Sunday afternoon, with the first cutdown coming on Tuesday, and final cuts next Saturday. The 49ers are starting to get healthy, which has allowed more starters to return to the field. The backups have had extensive opportunities to show what they can do, but time is running short.

LaMichael James returns

The big news this weekend is we can expect to see LMJ in action for the first time this preseason. He dislocated his elbow a few weeks back, but has quickly recovered. He seems to have a roster spot locked up, but it will be interesting to see how much time he gets at running back after Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde.

Aldon Smith suspension

We still have not heard from Roger Goodell on Aldon Smith's suspension. I will list him as Reserve/Suspended because I think he still ends up on that list for Week 1. It creates a bit of roster shuffle when he returns. although I don't think the OLBs lose anybody when Aldon comes back. My guess is one of the special teams type of guys gets the axe when Aldon returns.

Changes

Last week's comments in the 53-man roster post brought up some excellent points. I was definitely a little too defensive-heavy. The injuries and suspension possibilities lend themselves to that to some extent, but I can see the need for some changes.

I removed linebacker Blake Costanzo and safety Craig Dahl, and replaced them with running back Alfonso Smith, and wide receiver Brandon Lloyd. Smith is a guy who can play special teams, and fill in at running back in a "break glass in case of emergency" kind of way. And with only Hyde and James backing up Gore, it makes sense to carry one more back.

I still am not sure Lloyd makes the Week 1 roster because of the veteran salary guarantee issue. If Lloyd is on the Week 1 roster, his 2014 salary becomes guaranteed. However, I am more convinced he is there than Kassim Osgood. The 49ers could wait a week on Osgood as he is unlikely to land anywhere right away. Lloyd on the other hand would seemingly have some opportunities. Of course, he also said he would like to wrap up his career with the 49ers, so it's hard to know what to make of this whole situation.

QB (2): Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert
RB (4): Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde, LaMichael James, Alfonso Smith
FB (1): Bruce Miller
WR (6): Michael CrabtreeAnquan Boldin, Stevie Johnson, Quinton PattonBruce Ellington, Brandon Lloyd
TE (3): Vernon Davis, Vance McDonaldDerek Carrier
OT (3): Joe StaleyAnthony Davis, Jonathan Martin
OG (3): Mike Iupati, Joe Looney, Adam Snyder
C (2): Daniel Kilgore, Marcus Martin

DL (7): Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Ian Williams, Tony Jerod-EddieQuinton Dial,Demarcus DobbsTank Carradine
OLB (4): Ahmad Brooks, Corey Lemonier, Dan Skuta, Aaron Lynch
ILB (4): Patrick Willis, Michael Wilhoite, Nick MoodyChris Borland
CB (7): Tramaine BrockChris CulliverPerrish CoxChris Cook, Jimmie Ward, Darryl Morris, Dontae Johnson
FS (1): Eric Reid
SS (3): Antoine Bethea, C.J. Spillman, Raymond Ventrone

K (1): Phil Dawson
P (1): Andy Lee
LOS (1): Kevin McDermott

Reserve/Did Not Report (1): Alex Boone
Suspended (1): Aldon Smith
PUP (3): NaVorro Bowman, Garrett Celek, Kaleb Ramsey
NFI (4): Trey Millard, Brandon Thomas, Keith Reaser, Marcus Lattimore
IR, or short term IR (2): Kendall HunterGlenn Dorsey

Practice Squad (8): S James McCray, DL Lawrence Okoye, QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, CB Kenneth Acker, OG Ryan Seymour, OT Carter Bykowski, TE Asante Cleveland, RB Jewel Hampton

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