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August 19, 2011
Niners' 90: Every-player review of training camp

The 49ers' 2011 training camp is over. The team will be in regular-season mode starting Monday. In 11 days, they must trim the roster to 80 players. After that they have to winnow it to 53 players. (They can sign eight to their practice squad, but those players must pass through waivers first). With all that in mind, here is a player-by-player review of training camp.

35 Adams, Phillip, CB - He's made a heroic return from a nasty broken ankle suffered late last year. However, he is still working his way back to top form. Adams is not eligible for the practice squad and he will be a tough decision for the coaching staff and front office.

2 Akers, David, K - His first field-goal attempt for the 49ers turned into a career-long (59 yards). He'll tackle Candlestick Park - a place that hasn't been very kind to him - for the first time Saturday as a 49er.

96 Applewhite, Antwan, OLB - He's currently the team's No. 4 OLB. That the 49ers were interested in Aaron Maybin signals that they feel they could still stand to upgrade the position.

61 Beeler, Chase, C - He's the No. 4 center behind Adam Snyder, Jonathan Goodwin and Tony Wragge. Beeler is smart but needs more bulk. Practice-squad eligible.

6 Beiler, Tyler, WR - The undrafted rookie out of Bridgewater is speedy and tough, and he turned in the best catch of training camp. He's definitely a practice-squad candidate.

1 Bethel-Thompson, McLeod, QB - He's still getting practice repetitions, albeit as the No. 5 quarterback. Still, McBLT has all the tools - size, arm, desire - and is worth developing.

75 Boone, Alex, OT - This is the second straight year Boone has looked impressive. He's showing coaches that he can be counted on to play either tackle position if there's an injury in 2011.

53 Bowman, NaVorro, ILB - No one is talking about Takeo Spikes' departure because Bowman had an excellent camp. He's just as athletic as Patrick Willis and is a better pass rusher.

26 Brock, Tramaine, CB - Of all the young cornerbacks, Brock has stood out the most. He's stout, physical, and most important of all, he's stayed healthy. A very good training camp.

55 Brooks, Ahmad, OLB - When Jim Harbaugh was asked who stood out to him in training camp, the first name out of his mouth was Ahmad Brooks. He's taken advantage of the opportunity to replace Manny Lawson as the starting OLB.

25 Brown, Tarell, CB - Brown missed time last week with an undisclosed injury but was working with the starting group this week. He could start Saturday's game depending on Carlos Rogers' status. Brown hasn't jumped out like Brock, but the 49ers will need his experience.

71 Bulcke, Brian, DE - Former Stanford product has been part of the second- and third-team defensive line. He's a long shot for the practice squad.

82 Byham, Nate, TE - He's still on the active roster despite being lost for the season with an ACL tear. The 49ers still haven't settled on a blocking tight end to replace him in 2011.

83 Cloherty, Colin, TE - Speaking of which ... Cloherty concentrated on adding strength this offseason to improve his blocking ability. He's up to 260 after playing at 245 last year. He's certainly stronger this season, but Cloherty has been fighting through an injury in recent weeks.

43 Corcoran, Jack, FB - The 49ers brought in Corcoran when rookie fullback Bruce Miller was out with a shoulder injury. Corcoran is behind Miller and Moran Norris and will have a tough time making the squad.

51 Costanzo, Blake, ILB - He promises to be one of special teams coach Brad Seeley's hand-picked players for the 53-man roster. That he's played well at inside linebacker doesn't hurt, either.

29 Culliver, Chris, CB - The rookie may be the most physically gifted of all the 49ers' cornerbacks but he doesn't have much experience at the position. The 49ers are being smart - giving him plenty of practice reps and starting him out in a nickel role during games.

76 Davis, Anthony, OT - He'll begin the season as the starting right tackle. But it will be more difficult for the 49ers to tolerate inconsistent play from Davis in his second season, especially with Boone on the sideline.

33 Davis, Phillip, CB - A late addition, Davis has seen plenty of action in camp. However, he hasn't been as impressive as fellow undrafted rookie Cory Nelms.

85 Davis, Vernon, TE - The team's leading receiver - in every major category - last year has been getting plenty of passes in practice. He promises not to disappoint, fantasy football fiends.

24 Dixon, Anthony, RB - Dixon is No. 2 on the depth chart but is still vexing coaches by not running like a 245-pound back.

78 Dobbs, Demarcus, DE - The long-armed defensive end from Georgia stood out in the first preseason game. He needs to add size and strength and appears to be an ideal p-squad candidate.

81 Edwards, Braylon, WR - Edwards was getting his legs back in playing shape when he first arrived. He's been getting more and more reps with the first-team unit in recent days and is trying to develop chemistry with Alex Smith.

63 Edwards, Donovan, G - Undersized Cal tackle has shown nice fight on the interior of the 49ers offensive line. Another solid p-squad candidate.

19 Ginn Jr., Ted, WR - He may have been the most consistent WR in training camp. He also promises to be the team's primary kick and punt returner. Heading into his contract year ...

38 Goldson, Dashon, S - He tuned down a multi-year offer from the 49ers early in free agency and ultimately had to settle for a one-year deal. Despite his late arrival, Goldson was swiftly thrown in with the first-team defense where he promises to play Saturday vs. the Raiders.

66 Goodwin, Jonathan, C - He's still behind Adam Snyder but is getting more reps with the first-team offensive line. Given Snyder's versatility, Goodwin's experience and Goodwin's salary, it stands to reason that Goodwin ultimately will start at center.

21 Gore, Frank, RB - He says he feels like he's 22 years old again. Gore also said he was a little surprised to have played in the preseason opener. Surprise! Harbaugh said Gore likely would play some Saturday, too.

54 Grant, Larry, ILB. -- He's bigger and more confident now than he was a s a rookie here in 2008. He's the No. 3 ILB and is having a good training camp. A solid off-season pickup.

71 Hall, Derek, OG - A tackle at Stanford, Hall's former coaches have stuck him inside at guard with the 49ers. He's bigger than Cal's Edwards and the two may be competing for the same spot on the p-squad.

98 Haralson, Parys, OLB - To his credit, he's been teaching rookie Aldon Smith about playing outside linebacker. Smith, however, ultimately could take Haralson's starting spot.

13 Hastings, Joe, WR - He's another undrafted rookie whose had a solid camp. Hastings looked particularly good Tuesday when he came up with several big catches against the 49ers' first-team defense.

5 Hogan, Chris, WR - The 49ers paid big bucks to land Hogan as an undafted free agent. He's a physical marvel at 220 pounds. Just as he began to jump out, however, he sprained his ankle and hasn't been back since.

60 Howell, Nick, G - Howell went from first team o-line to second team to third team as training camp has progressed. There are too many bodies at guard for him to make a splash.

32 Hunter, Kendall, RB - He's excellent at hitting the hole and getting through tight spaces. He's also serving as the team's preseason kick returner. All in all, a promising training camp for the rookie runner.

77 Iupati, Mike, G - He'll start at left guard. He'll also be the point man on many of the team's running plays just not all of the team's running plays as was the case last year.

95 Jean Francois, Ricky, NT/DE -The indestructible Jean Francois is having another good camp. He'll be the first player off the bench both at nose tackle and at defensive end.

86 Jennings, Brian, LS - There's not much to write here. Jennings continues to be one of the best snappers in the league. Could he play until he's 50?

88 Johnson, Ronald, WR - Right now he's the sixth wide receiver on the de facto depth chart. It doesn't hurt that he's also working as a punt returner, kick returner and that his position coach loves him.

43 Colin Jones, S/WR - Jones wasn't seeing much action at safety, so the 49ers started using him at wide receiver. Mostly Jones is someone the team is counting on to make big plays on special teams.

58 Joseph, Alex, ILB - He's had a solid training camp but has a lot of competition at inside linebacker.

14 Jurovich, Kevin, WR - Jurovich was Alex Smith's right-hand man at San Jose State this spring and summer but he found himself working not with Smith but the backup units during camp. That had to be frustrating for someone who was hoping for a bigger role this year. Jurovich has made a number of nice catches recently, but most have been with the scout team. He's eligible for the practice squad.

7 Kaepernick, Colin, QB - Kaepernick has been exactly what the 49ers envisioned when they traded up to get him in the second round - an athletic, strong-armed student of the game who shows excellent promise as a starter. The question is how much the 49ers can - or, moreover, should - count on him in 2011.

67 Kilgore, Daniel, G - The fifth-round draft pick has been playing guard with the second-team unit and also has dabbled at center. He's one of those guys who could make the team but be inactive each week depending on injuries.

57 Kristick, Keaton, ILB - Kristick's chances of making the team dimmed when the team signed Costanzo and Larry Grant. Still, he's a good special teams player who always seems to be around the ball. He also has practice squad eligibility.

89 Lawrie, Nate, TE - He's a tall (6-6) target with a lot of experience. He's in the running to take Byham's spot.

4 Lee, Andy, P - Like Jennings, there's not much to report with Lee. He's very good at what he does, both punting the ball and holding for new kicker Akers.

18 Long, Lance, WR - He's one of the surprises of camp. Long isn't much to look at but he's won over receivers coach John Morton to the point where Long is one of the second-string receivers. Still, it would be a surprise if he makes the 53-man roster.

40 Maragos, Chris, S - Maragos is talented, but he's buried at a deep safety position. He has practice-squad eligibility, which is where the 49ers should stash him.

3 Masoli, Jeremiah, QB - Masoli doesn't look like a quarterback. But he has an eye-of-the-tiger quality that Harbaugh likes. He's also mobile, another attribute that appeals to Harbaugh. A definite practice-squad candidate given his versatility.

23 Mays, Taylor, S - He and Maragos compose the No. 3 safety group. Mays doesn't appear to have a future with the 49ers and probably should insist on the team releasing him so that he can catch on with another squad.

9 McCown, Josh, QB - McCown was signed this week to be the No. 3 quarterback. At least early in the season he promises to be the de facto No. 2. He signed for the league minimum, which means the 49ers won't hesitate to release him if something better comes along.

91 McDonald, Ray, DE - He'll start at left defensive end after being a situational pass rusher the last two seasons. McDonald has played well in training camp and the preseason. He is symbolic of a defense that wants to thwart the passing game above all else.

56 McKillop, Scott, LB - He is back on the field after last year's devastating knee injury but is clearly not 100 percent recovered. At this point, he is a longshot to make the roster.

49 Miller, Bruce, FB - He got a late start at training camp after having fluid drained from his shoulder. He's played well when called upon. However, fullbacks aren't as essential to Harbaugh's offense as they were to Jimmy Raye's. Miller could use a few big special teams plays to convince coaches to hold a roster spot for him.

84 Morgan, Joshua, WR - Morgan is the iron man at a position in which players go down with injuries like no other (except maybe CB). He figures to be a Week 1 starter, if for no other reason than Edwards may be suspended and Michael Crabtree may be just returning from injury.

32 Nelms, Cory, CB - He's made big strides since training camp began in large part because he's had to play a lot. Nelms is this year's Tramaine Brock and could find a home on the practice squad.

44 Norris, Moran, FB - Unless Miller makes a move, Norris will return as Gore's lead blocker.

33 Omon, Xavier, RB - Omon is big and physical but lacks big-play ability.

78 Person, Mike, OT - The 49ers drafted him in the seventh round with the thought that he'd play guard or even center. Person, however, has remained at tackle - right tackle mostly - and has held up well there. He's in the same position, roster-wise, as fellow rookie Kilgore.

62 Rachal, Chilo, G - His starting spot, which seemed precarious early in the week, seemed a lot safer after Harbaugh praised him on Thursday.

48 Reuland, Konrad, TE - Reuland catches everything thrown his way but the 49ers clearly think he needs to add strength and blocking ability to earn a spot on the team.

22 Rogers, Carlos, CB - He's been dealing with a strained Achilles this past week. Still, it was clear when he was practicing that he is far more athletic - and far better deep down the field - than the 49ers starting cornerbacks last year. A definite upgrade when it comes to coverage.

50 Rowe, Kenny, OLB - He's active and always around the ball but is more of a hustle player than elite athlete. He might be a useful guy to have on the practice squad.

9 Scaccia, Fabrizio, K - He has no chance of making the team with a healthy Akers and with kickoffs pushed up to the 35 this year. However, Scaccia has made the most of his time with the 49ers and certainly is a young prospect worth keeping tabs on.

61 Siliga, Sealver, DE, NT - The rap on Siliga is that he came out of college too soon. He's gotten some close coaching from Jim Tomsula at nose tackle. Perhaps Tomsula has seen enough to keep him around on the practice squad.

47 Simmons, Monte, OLB - Simmons is active in the pass rush but needs to add strength.

99 Smith, Aldon, OLB - Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio wants to keep the pressure on the rookie so that he keeps improving during the summer. Still, it's hard to see Fangio keeping him out of the starting lineup for long. His power and pass-rush ability are too impressive.

11 Smith, Alex, QB - Smith isn't noticeably better than he was in recent seasons. The offense he is running, however, does look better, and Smith should improve as it starts to take form. If he can just withstand those early-season boobirds ...

94 Smith, Justin, DE - He's quietly the best 3-4 defensive end in the NFL. His presence on the right side should be a huge benefit to Aldon Smith.

30 Smith, Reggie, S - You have to wonder if the 49ers would have re-signed Goldson if Smith hadn't gone down with a torn meniscus. Smith won't be out long, but it's hard to see him recapturing a starting spot with Goldson in the lineup.

26 Smith, Seth, RB - The rookie running back will get a chance to stand out deep in the fourth quarter of the remaining preseason games.

68 Snyder, Adam, C, G, T - Snyder is assured a spot on the team given that he can play all five offensive line spots. The only question is whether he can hold off Goodwin and become the starting center.

90 Sopoaga, Isaac, NT - He missed the first two weeks of training camp with a hamstring strain but has come on strong this week. He'll start Saturday's game against the Raiders.

36 Spencer, Shawntae, CB - He's still likely to be one of the starters at cornerback given that he has more experience at the position than anyone else on the roster. Still, the longer he's out with a hamstring strain, the closer a youngster like Brock comes to stealing the starting role.

27 Spillman, C.J., S - The 49ers obviously think he has potential as they inserted him atop the safety depth chart when the preseason began. However, the position is now loaded, which means Spillman will make his mark where he did last year - on special teams.

74 Staley, Joe - Harbaugh said he is having the best offseason of all the offensive linemen. Staley is immensely popular among teammates and has become one of the leaders in the locker room. Staley downplayed the fact that he was picked to be Michael Crabtree's training-camp roomate. However, it was a very intresting mix of extroverted and introverted players.

28 Taylor, Curtis, S - He's the most physically imposing of the safeties and is a good special teams player. However, it's hard to see him landing a roster spot given the 49ers' depth at safety. Due to injuries, he still has practice-squad eligibility.

63 Tukuafu, Will, DE - He's taken Demetric Evans' spot as the back-up defensive end this year. Tomsula loves Tukuafu's physicality and toughness. He's also light on his feet.

46 Walker, Delanie, TE - He's been a favorite target of quarterbacks in training camp and is hoping that carries over to the regular season. Like the receiving corps, Walker should benefit from a return of the slant pattern. He's excellent after the catch, even more so than Davis.

45 West, Anthony, S - He seldom sees the field in practice. He's played some cornerback, too.

31 Whitner, Donte, S - He could be one of the most important additions of the offseason given his leadership potential (and the fact that defensive standouts Patrick Willis and Justin Smith simply aren't very vocal). The 49ers are using Whitner where he plays best - close to the line of scrimmage.

65 Wiggins, Kenny, OT - He's playing behind Person at right tackle.

64 Williams, Ian, NT - Williams went undrafted but has shown potential at a position where prospects are difficult to find. Williams had a number of suitors as a free agent, which likely means that cutting him and putting him on the practice squad is risky.

10 Williams, Kyle, WR - He and Boone may have been the offensive players of the game in the first preseason game. Williams has survived camp without a significant injury, and moreover showed a real willingness to mix it up against the Saints.

20 Williams, Madieu, S - He can't be too thrilled that the 49ers signed both Whitner and Goldson after signing him. Still, Williams is playing with the second-team defense alongside Spillman. He once suffered a frightening neck injury. If he's not a starter, can he play special teams?

52 Willis, Patrick, ILB - He's been a tackling machine his first three years in the league. Fangio wants to add pass rusher to his repertoire.

69 Wragge, Tony, C, G - The 49ers re-signed Wragge to a one-year deal. He's a trusted back-up at both center and guard. The question is whether the team feels safe with Kilgore, who also is playing both positions.

Active/Physically Unable to Perform
15 Crabtree, Michael, WR - He's out of his boot but is not running yet. Looks like it will be a couple of more weeks before Crabtree rejoins practice.

17 Zeigler, Dominique, WR. Zeigler suffered an ACL injury last year. He's been running and cutting on an adjacent field for week and seems close to returning. Where he'll land on the depth chart remains to be seen.

-- 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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