OFFENSE - 25 players
While John Schneider has said it would be very hard to keep 4 QBs, I think it would be even harder for the team to waive any of these players. Improvements on defense and a few less injuries on offense would allow TJ to lead this team to 8 or 9 wins even if he shows no growth at all, and I can't see Carroll gambling that rookie Wilson could match that. Given the terrible 2nd string QBs around the league (let alone starters and 3rd stringers), Portis won’t make it to the practice squad this year if he is waived.
Lumpkin falls short of making the squad, but his number is kept on autodial.
Miller needs to get out in pass routes, and while McCoy has been over-rated by fans as a blocker, he has the physical tools to get the job done with a full offseason under Cable. Morrah is a quality receiver, but has low upside and has shown minimal utility; one dimensional pass catching TEs can move on. Nalbone is the superior athlete and provides more versatility as an H-back and backup fullback. Dropping Gresham (long snapper) for McGrath gives us a 4th string TE if the team gets in an injury pinch.
Pete has to stick to his always compete mantra, and the deck is stacked quite steeply against BMW and Obomanu, who both look to have reached their ceilings. Durham fills BMW's role this year, fitting PC's profile of a possession receiver, but with more upside, deep threat, and RAC ability that Mike. Tuinei shows surprisingly good speed and great quickness for a 6'5" 220lb specimen completely ignored in the draft (posting times of 4.54/1.56/4.12/6.71s vs. 4.48/1.54/4.21/6.56 for Doug Baldwin in the 40 yard dash, 10 yard split, 20 yard short shuttle, and 3 cone drill, respectively), and has UDFA gem written all over him. Tate will prove to be everything that Obomanu ever hoped to be, plus Golden turned the corner on reliability in the second half of the season. Pete like players who are "unique" and "special"; Lockette may be able to run only one route, but he does that spectacularly well and he IS the "complete package" when it comes to deep threat - strength to beat the press, one of the 5 fastest NFL players (personal best 4.26 40 yard dash; invitee to the Olympic trials for the 200m means long speed and separation at the deep end of the route, a la Jerry Rice), finishes what he started with a good ability to track and run under the ball, possesses soft, sure, and strong hands and the physical size to box out any DB who can remotely keep up with him. Most importantly, Lockette has that essential prima donna confidence to intimidate the opposition; DBs will be so concerned about all the ways they can't match up with him that all but the best will go on tilt when trying to cover him. Butler is the innocent victim of roster size limits... if only there were 54.
OL 8 + 1
James Carpenter (PUP)
Not much to say here. Fanaika is my only question, may be replaced by one of the practice squad bodies. Carpenter on PUP for the first half of the season gives the team the ability to carry 4 QBs, and barring an open roster spot due to injury, I'd suspect Fanaika is dropped when Carp returns.
DEFENSE - 25 players
Irvin and Clemons split the Leo position and Brock’s role, both playing around 800 snaps this year. Davis provides the necessary injury insurance for the 60% of the snaps that Clemons and Irvin should both be on the field. Bryant’s backup is one of the tackles.
Mebane plays almost every down, Jones likely plays 60% of the snaps and Branch the other 40%. Howard is developmental replacement for Jones and will not be risked on the PS.
Wright and Wagner are day 1 starters. Hill brings incredibly cheap veteran depth, stability, and quiet leadership to a young position. Toomer is nearly as fast and just as quick as Wagner, but needs a little Ken Norton, Jr. magic. Smith and Farwell provide speed and depth. Ruud likely can’t overcome the combination of injuries, age, and competitiveness on this roster.
Walter Thurmond III
Maragos serves as a backup to ET and CB depth. Francies is a shot in the dark, but has been talked up by Baldwin. Roy Lewis has been an adequate utility guy, but he is not eligible for the practice squad and injuries and just average athleticism are his ticket to the waiver wire.
Pro Bowl, Pro Bowl, depth/dime, depth/nickel/dime.
SPECIAL TEAMS - 3 players
LS – Sean McGrath, replaces Gresham and provides TE depth, saving a potential roster spot
K – Steven Hauschka/Carson Wiggs, does it really matter?
P – Jon Ryan, 'nuff said.
PRACTICE SQUAD - 8 players
JR Sweezy – OL
Rishaw Johnson – OL
Jeremy Lane – DB
DeShawn Shead - DB
Mike Morgan – LB
Lazarius Levingston – DE
Cordarro Law – DE
Jermaine Kearse – WR
Talent is only above average at the QB position, but depth is the best in the NFL. RB talent and depth are very good, with reasonable versatility. Zach Miller is over-rated as a receiving threat (having maxed out at 805 yards as the primary target on an Oakland team with turrible receivers), but his in-line blocking skills are elite. Beyond Miller, the TE position is the weakest spot on the roster. Excepting Rice, the WR corps is the least experienced in the league, but has insane raw talent and sweet depth and versatility.
Versatility and talent are near elite in the front 4 and elite in the starting secondary, and great at LB. Depth is very solid on the DL, but remains a bit of a question at LB and safety. If Wagner's athleticism makes up for the loss of Hawthorne's experience at the start of the season, the defense could easily be top 5.
Between Butler, Obo, and BMW, we add 5 million of cap space. If Wilson really, really shows in camp, an additional 4 million could be cleared with the release of Tarvaris, allowing us to roll over around 25 million of cap space and giving the team plenty of room to re-sign and/or extend Lutui, Jones, Okung, Thomas, and Chancellor.