49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

April 27, 2010
Post-draft depth chart: Offense

Nineteen players were added to the 49ers' roster in the last week. Here is my best guess as to where they fit on the depth chart. Obviously, the hope for someone like T Anthony Davis is that he starts at right tackle beginning Week 1. But he'll likely still be in learning mode as training camp opens. Consider this depth chart an "opening day of training camp" projection. Today, the offense:

QB: Alex Smith, David Carr, Nate Davis, Jarrett Brown
Comment: I really don't see a lot of movement here. If Davis is a long-term prospect, Brown is a long, long-term prospect. Both of these guys should be playing in the UFL to maximize their practice and playing time. Mountain Lions, anyone?

RB: Frank Gore, Glen Coffee, Anthony Dixon, Michael Robinson.
Comment: We can probably hold off on the running-back-committee nicknames for another year. Look for Gore to again be the "bell cow" and for Coffee and Dixon to see spot duty. Is Robinson in trouble? No, he's seen as a core special teams player and a leader in the locker room.

FB: Moran Norris, Brit Miller, Jehuu Caulcrick.
Comment: Norris seemed to be a harbinger of one-yard losses last year, but he best fits the wrecking-ball mentality that was evident in the draft. Miller, however, was a pleasant surprise and is as gritty and tough as they come. Caulcrick is the best runner in the group.

WR(X): Michael Crabtree, Ted Ginn, Jr., Brandon Jones, Scott Long
Comment: By the time the regular season rolls around, most of these guys will know how to play multiple receiver positions and the designations - X, Z and slot - will be moot. The 49ers want to be able to move Crabtree to multiple positions this year so defenses can't zero in on him. Jones is under the gun considering his salary and how little he played last year. It's a shame, too - his sin was breaking his shoulder early in the 2009 training camp.

WR (Z): Josh Morgan, Jason Hill, Dominique Zeigler, Shay Hodge
Comment: It's very hard to see Zeigler, who has no special teams value, making the cut this year.

WR (Slot): Hill, Kyle Williams, Jared Perry
Comment: Like Jones, Hill was not happy about his playing time last year. This could be another theme in 2010 on a team that prefers two tight ends over three receivers.

TE: Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Nate Byham, J.J. Finely, Tony Curtis
Comment: Don't hand Byham a roster spot just yet. He'll be scrutinized as much as any draft pick. Just ask Bear Pascoe. Finley's weakness has been blocking, but he is getting stronger every season. Curtis has the most experience and is the best athlete of the final three.

LT: Joe Staley, Barry Sims
Comment: Staley will stay at left tackle this season despite the fact that Anthony Davis was the No. 11 overall pick. Does that change next year? My guess is, no. Even if Davis excels as a rookie, the right tackle is so important to the running game that Singletary likely would keep Davis in the same spot. That, of course, is assuming Singletary is still around.

LG: David Baas, Mike Iupati, Tony Wragge
Comment: Baas is looking like a genius for participating in the team's OTA sessions sans contract. But despite his good intent and his work ethic, it's hard to see him holding off Iupati for long when the regular season rolls around. Wragge has been a trusted backup for five seasons, but assuming everyone stays healthy, he'll have a tough fight for a roster spot this summer.

C: Eric Heitmann, Cody Wallace, Wragge, Baas
Comment: The unassuming Heitmann is one of the most underrated centers in the game. If the 49ers' running game improves as expected, he should hear some pro bowl chatter this season. Wallace is part of a disappointing 2008 draft class. The 49ers were looking at centers in the draft but did not pull the trigger on any.

RG: Chilo Rachal, Chris Patrick, Brian de la Puente, Adam Snyder?
Comment: Rachal is expected to take off this year. If he doesn't, there are all sorts of scenarios. Baas could move over to the right side if Iupati starts at left guard. Adam Snyder also could move to guard if Davis takes over right tackle. Keep an eye on Patrick, who has good size.

RT: Snyder, Anthony Davis, Alex Boone
Comment: Davis is penciled in as the starter. How soon does he start? We ought to get some idea this weekend when the 49ers hold a minicamp. What happens with Snyder might depend on Boone, who has gone through a bodily transformation. Remember, Boone looked rather good in training camp last year despite playing with a lot of sloppy fat. This year, that fat is gone. He will be one of the more interesting guys to watch.

KR: Ginn, Williams, LeRoy Vann
Comment: This is where Ginn excels. The other two guys would have to do something dramatic in the preseason to win this job.

PR: Ginn, Williams, Vann
Comment: There seems to be a little more wiggle room here. Ginn hasn't done this much in the past two seasons, and when he has he's developed a case of the bobbles. The height-challenged Vann - the miniVann? - is quickly becoming a fan favorite. He'd probably have to take one or two punts for touchdowns to make the final roster.

If you want to hear my thoughts on Taylor Mays and also hear me throw Josh McDaniels under the bus, click here.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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