In just five days, the 49ers will reduce their roster from 90 to 75 players. Four days after that they must winnow it to 53 players. The next day, Sept. 1, they can start building an eight-man practice squad.
Who is eligible for the practice squad? There are some interesting names on the list and some intriguing ones that aren't on it. Chad Hall, for instance, is not eligible. He's one of the receivers who worked out with Colin Kaepernick in the Atlanta area in the offseason, and he's been perhaps the most productive wideout on the team going back to the start of the offseason program. For Hall, it's either make a team's 53-man or go home.
Two quarterbacks, Scott Tolzien and B.J. Daniels, are eligible. It will be interesting to see how much the 49ers play Daniels the rest of the preseason. If it's only in small amounts at the end of games like last Friday's, it may be a clue that they plan to stash him on the practice squad. Jim Harbaugh said yesterday that Colt McCoy will be the second quarterback to play Sunday after Kaepernick.
Some players who seem intriguing for the practice squad include defensive end Lawrence Okoye, cornerbacks Darryl Morris and Marcus Cooper, tight end MarQueis Gray, receivers Chuck Jacobs and Ricardo Lockette, running backs Jewel Hampton and D.J. Harper, linebacker Nate Stupar and guard Wayne Tribue. Trenton Robinson is in a log-jam at safety. He and/or Michael Thomas also could land on the practice squad this year.
Players are eligible for the practice squad if they do not have an accrued season of free agency credit or if they were on the 46-player active list for less than nine regular season games in a season. A player cannot serve on the practice squad for more than three seasons.
To place a player on the practice squad, the 49ers must first cut that player and he must pass through waivers. That means the other 31 teams have a chance of signing that player to their active rosters, which is what the 49ers did when the Chargers cut Tolzien in 2011. If the player makes it through waivers, the 49ers then can sign him to the practice squad.
-- Matt Barrows