Author Archives: Sam Corcoran

2022 49ers 53-Man Roster Projection

Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers concluded their NFL Preseason Thursday night with a 17-0 loss to the Texans. The final step before they kick off Week 1 against the Chicago Bears is to trim their roster down to 53 players by August 30. With that in mind, here is my 49ers 53-man roster projection.

49ers 53-Man Roster Projection: Offense

QB (2): Trey Lance, Nate Sudfeld

In an ideal world, I believe it would be best for the 49ers to keep both backup quarterbacks Nate Sudfeld and Brock Purdy. However, with other more important positional needs, the 3rd-string Purdy is the odd man out. If he doesn’t get claimed off of waivers, he’ll be back on the practice squad.

RB (6): Elijah Mitchell, Trey Sermon, Tyrion Davis-Price, Jordan Mason, Jeff Wilson, Kyle Juszczyk

All seven 49ers running backs are worthy of making the 53 man roster. Kyle Juszczyk, Elijah Mitchell, and Tyrion Davis-Price are locks to make it, which leaves Trey Sermon, Jordan Mason, Jeff Wilson, and JaMycal Hasty the bubble.

I’ve given the edge to Sermon, Mason, and Wilson. Sermon, a 3rd round pick in 2021, hasn’t proven a whole lot yet. However, he has the upside and the 49ers gave him first team reps in the red zone at points during training camp. Mason, an undrafted free agent from Georgia Tech, has been the talk of camp, and has already shown tremendous potential. The 49ers can’t afford another team to claim him off of waivers if cut.

As for Wilson, six running backs on the roster is a lot. However, Wilson (and Jamycal Hasty for that matter) provide pass catching abilities none of the other running backs provide, which could be critical. Wilson also provides a much-needed veteran presence, which could come in handy.

WR (5): Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings, Danny Gray, Ray-Ray McCloud

These five receivers are all locks to make the roster. The big question is do the 49ers need another one? Malik Turner is the frontrunner if there were to be a 6th spot, as he could provide some much-needed special teams help. However, I believe the 49ers have more important needs elsewhere and have a solid special teams corps already.

TE (3): George Kittle, Charlie Woerner, Ross Dwelley

Like wide reciever, the question is if the 49ers want an extra player for the position. For tight ends, Tyler Kroft is the only one who has a chance to be the 4th guy. However, the 49ers are covered in the pass game, blocking game, and on special teams with the three players listed above. Kroft will probably be a practice squad addition.

OL (9): Trent Williams, Aaron Banks, Jake Brendel, Spencer Burford, Mike McGlinchey, Colton McKivitz, Daniel Brunskill, Jaylon Moore, Jason Poe

Other than Trent Williams, the offensive line has many question marks. Aaron Banks and Mike McGlinchey have struggled at times throughout their careers, and Jake Brendel, Daniel Brunskill, and Spencer Burford don’t have much experience at their positions.

That’s why I believe the 49ers will keep a somewhat high nine offensive lineman. Jaylon Moore, Colton McKivitz, and Jason Poe have all shown throughout camp that they can be key depth pieces if something goes wrong during the regular season. That being said, all three of those players are inexperienced. In my opinion, it’s best to keep all three just to have a security blanket.

Also, I highly doubt he’ll make the roster, but keep an eye on Nick Zakelj. The 6th round pick out of Fordham has struggled immensely throughout camp, but has started to show signs of improvement. He’ll be on the practice squad, if he’s not claimed during roster cuts, and could make an impact down the line.

49ers 53-Man Roster Projection: Defense

DL (10): Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, Javon Kinlaw, Charles Omenihu, Kemoko Turay, Samson Ebukam, Kevin Givens, Jordan Willis, Drake Jackson, Hassan Ridgeway

The only debate I see is if the 49ers want to keep an extra defensive tackle, Hassan Ridgeway, or opt for another EDGE in Kerry Hyder. Hyder proved once again in 2020 that he excels in defensive line coach Kris Kocurek’s system. As much as I’d like to put Hyder on this roster, the 49ers would be thin at DT if they kept him. Ridgeway gets the edge, joining Armstead, Kinlaw, and Givens in the DT room.

LB (5): Fred Warner, Azeez Al-Shaair, Dre Greenlaw, Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Oren Burks

The only guy on the bubble is undrafted free agent Marcelino McCrary-Ball, but the five players listed above are significantly better. However, expect McCrary-Ball to make the practice squad.

CB (6): Charvarius Ward, Emmanuel Moseley, Samuel Womack, Tariq Castro-Fields, Deommodore Lenoir, Ambry Thomas

The only battle at cornerback is for the final two spots. I’ve given those to Tariq Castro-Fields and Ambry Thomas over the veteran Dontae Johnson. The 49ers don’t have as much of a need for Johnson with Womack and Lenoir playing nickelback, and thus, the 49ers should opt to go with upside over experience.

S (4): Jimmie Ward, Talanoa Hufanga, George Odum, Tashaun Gipson

Away from the starters, George Odum, while mediocre on defense, will make the roster due to his special teams contributions. The only battle right now at safety is between Tarvarius Moore and Tashaun Gipson.

Moore has been with the 49ers since 2018 and is solid on defense and special teams, but lost a lot of his explosiveness after his Achilles injury in 2021. Gipson, on the other hand, provides much needed coverage ability, but hasn’t proven much with the 49ers yet.

I’m giving the upper edge to Gipson. 49ers’ GM John Lynch said that Jimmie Ward will likely be placed on injured reserve. Gipson fills Ward’s role a bit better, and should get the nod to start Week 1. The 49ers can’t afford to risk another team claiming him. If not claimed off of waivers, Moore should be back on the 49ers Week 1 to replace Ward.

49ers 53-Man Roster Projection: Special Teams and Bubble

ST (3): Robbie Gould, Mitch Wishnowsky, Taybor Pepper

The 49ers have one kicker, one punter, and one long snapper currently on their roster, and they don’t plan to make any changes. Not much needs to be said here.

Bubble: QB Brock Purdy, RB Jeff Wilson, RB Jamycal Hasty, WR Malik Turner, TE Tyler Kroft, OL Nick Zakelj, (another OL?), DE Kerry Hyder, LB Marcelino McCrary-Ball, CB Dontae Johnson, S Tarvarius Moore

I talked about all these players in their respective position group, but thought I’d put them out here at the end. All 10 — or 11 — of these players have a shot at cracking the 53 man roster.  If they don’t, most will probably revert to the practice squad. If one player at their position goes down, they’re next up.

49ers Preseason Preview: Five Things To Watch vs. the Packers

Photo Credit: Darren Yamashita/USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers kick off their preseason Friday against the Green Bay Packers. After 12 days of training camp, the players are still fighting for roster spots, more play time, and want to show the league what they’re made of. With that in mind, here are five players/position groups to keep an eye on Friday night.

1. Trey Lance

All eyes will be on Lance for this first preseason game. Kyle Shanahan said that some starters will play Friday, including Lance. The former third overall pick had an up-and-down camp, showing flashes of greatness throughout. This will be the first test in the Trey Lance era. Was benching Lance the correct move last season? How much has Lance improved since his week 17 start in 2021? While we might not see much of Lance during the game, fans should be focused on the few series he does play.

2. Jeff Wilson, JaMycal Hasty, and Jordan Mason

Running backs Trey Sermon, Elijah Mitchell, and Ty Davis-Price are locks to make the roster this season. These three running backs – Jeff Wilson, JaMycal Hasty, and Jordan Mason – still has something to prove. Historically, the 49ers have kept four running backs come cut day, meaning that at least one of these players won’t be a 49er come August 30.

I expect all three of these players to get snaps on Friday. Hasty and Wilson have much-needed veteran presence in this young core. While those two appear to be the favorites to make the roster, don’t count out Jordan Mason. The undrafted free agent out of Georgia Tech has shined throughout training camp, and has made a strong case to be RB4. This will be Mason’s biggest test yet, and everyone can see what he’s truly made of tonight.

3. Kick Returners

Special teams was a massive problem last season for the 49ers. New special teams coordinator Brian Schneider has a lot of work to do to improve from the 49ers’ abysmal 2021 squad.

Kick returner was a key issue last season, and the 49ers signed multiple guys this offseason to fight for that role. Players who have returned kicks in training camp include: Ray-Ray McCloud, Brandon Aiyuk, Danny Gray, Malik Turner, Marcus Johnson, and KeeSean Johnson. Both Johnsons returned kicks on Wednesday. Those players may not all get reps, but the ones who do will have to make the most of it. Ray-Ray McCloud is listed at the top of the depth chart, but I’d expect others to compete for his spot.

4. The Center Battle

Daniel Brunskill and Jake Brendel have been fighting all camp long to be the starting center. Throughout camp, Brunskill would be on the first team one day, then Brendel would take those reps the next day (FWIW, Brunskill took the first team reps on Wednesday). Kyle Shanahan stated that he wants to see how both play in game, so expect to see both players get plenty of snaps.

Center is the most crucial position on the offensive line in Shanahan’s offense. With Pro Bowler Alex Mack recently retiring, starting center will be Shanahan’s biggest decision to make come week 1.

5. Nickelback

This viewing guide is a bit offense-heavy, so let’s throw some defense in! The 49ers lost K’Waun Williams this past offseason. They utilized Williams a lot, and they’ll needs to fill his role at nickelback. Veteran Darqueze Dennard took reps towards the beginning of camp, but Samuel Womack got the nod for that role on Wednesday and took advantage of it.

Additionally, towards the beginning of camp, Dontae Johnson took snaps at nickelback. I’d expect all three players to play in the 49ers’ first preseason game. The battle at the position should continue throughout the preseason, but Friday’s game should give people a good sense of how the battle is going thus far.

49ers Training Camp Recap: Day 12

49ers quarterback Trey Lance on the last day of training camp
Photo Credit: Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The 49ers held their 12th and final training camp practice yesterday. I had the privilege of attending practice. Here’s what stood out on the field to me.

The Trey Lance (and his backups) Report

Let’s start with Trey Lance. All eyes have been focused on the 3rd overall pick from 2021. Today, Lance struggled in the beginning half of 11-on-11s, going 3/10. After a quick break, he bounced back, throwing 5/9 to go 8/19 for the day. Lance had some concerning accuracy issues today, however, he was willing to take risks downfield. Lance showed flashes of what he can do deep downfield with the ball. His best throw was a dime on the left sideline to Brandon Aiyuk for a large gain.

In the run game, the 49ers ran lots of read options, play actions, and designed runs for Lance, which he capitalized on. It’s clear that the 49ers see Lance as a dual-threat quarterback.

As for the other two quarterbacks, Nate Sudfeld went 14/17, and Brock Purdy went 6/7, with his only incompletion being an ugly drop by wide receiver Austin Mack. Both stood out to me, but particularly Purdy. The 2022 Mr. Irrelevant looked comfortable in the pocket, read the field well, and got the third-team offense going. Overall, the two backup quarterbacks shined today.

Running Backs Stand Out

In the run game, all four running backs had great 11-on-11 sessions. Trey Sermon got the bulk of the red zone work. The second-year running back struggled in the backfield to start the day off, but got it going afterwards. Sermon scored a red zone touchdown, and looked a lot more comfortable on toss plays.

Outside of the red zone, JaMycal Hasty had a long touchdown run to cap off a stellar day. Rookies Ty Davis-Price and Jordan Mason also had multiple big yardage gains. The running backs had the best practice today (Elijah Mitchell did not practice today).

Defensive Standouts

On the defensive side of the ball, three players had phenomenal days. Kemoko Turay recorded five sacks and a PBU during 11-on-11s, according to Jordan Elliot. The former Colt has made a statement throughout camp, and today was probably his best day from what I heard.

In the secondary, cornerback Samuel Womack and safety Talanoa Hufanga were all over the place. Hufanga was all over the place during 11-on-11s, and on one play, he came out of nowhere to break up a Trey Lance dart. Hufanga has taken first team reps throughout camp, and has solidified his spot as a starting safety. Like Hufanga, Fred Warner was all over the field on 11-on-11s, too.

One thing I love about Hufanga is that he’s always the first player out on the field. This was a trend last year, and he’s done it again this year. Today, Womack joined him as first player out. The rookie DB took first team reps at nickelback and locked up Deebo Samuel twice on 1-vs-1s. All in all, Womack and Hufanga made their presence known on a day where the secondary was short-handed (Charvarius Ward and Emmanual Moseley did not practice).

Not So Many Negatives

As for the negatives yesterday, there weren’t many. However, Mike McGlinchey had a rough day against Nick Bosa. To be fair, it’s Nick Bosa, one of the best defensive lineman in football. However, McGlinchey will need to improve on his pass protection, something he’s always struggled to do in the NFL.

What’s Next?

With training camp wrapped up, the 49ers host the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium on Friday. Kyle Shanahan said that Trey Lance will go out for at least a series, as well as other starters. It will be the first test for the 49ers to show what they can do this season. Now that training camp is over, it’s officially time for the players to prove themselves to the league.

Nine of the alternate helmets for the NFL season

Ranking All 13 NFL Alternate Helmets

This season, the NFL has allowed teams to have more than one colored helmet to wear. The rule change saw 13 NFL franchises introduce new helmets for their alternate uniforms.

Before I begin, I want to clarify what I ranked these helmets based on. There were three factors that went into my ranking: 1. Does the helmet itself look good? 2. Does the helmet fit with the rest of the uniform? 3. Could the team have done more with the helmet? With that in mind, here is my ranking for these new helmets.

The New NFL Alternate Helmets: 13-6

Chicago Bears alternate helmet for the 2022 NFL season
Photo Credit: Jacob Funk/Chicago Bears

13. Chicago Bears

I attend a school that wears orange helmets with its orange uniforms. It doesn’t work too well. Same thing goes for the Bears. The traditional navy helmet works so much better with any of Chicago’s jerseys, especially its orange one. This alternate helmet is a miss for one of the NFL’s most iconic teams.

12. Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals messed up big time with their new helmets. Arizona plans to wear these with its color rush uniforms. The red pops out with the black real well with those, so why not do the same with the helmets? If these had a red face mask, this could’ve been one of the better helmets. But instead, they go with a bland, black design.

11. Washington Commanders

I’m glad that Washington didn’t leave the “numbers on the helmet” look behind when it rebranded. However, the execution this time around feels poor. The “W” in the front doesn’t sit well. Maybe a stripe, like the Commanders’ primary helmets, would’ve been better. This helmet isn’t bad by any means, but ten other teams did a better job than Washington.

10. Carolina Panthers

This one might have to grow on me a bit. I like the all black concept the Panthers created, but this helmet feels almost too dark. From the photos, it’s difficult to see the Panthers logo. The colors mesh well together, but nothing pops out to the eye.

9. Houston Texans

The helmet itself is one of the best that have been introduced. What’s upsetting is the Texans plan to wear these with their red uniforms, according to These would look significantly better with their blue-with-red-lettering color rush jerseys. The all-red look Houston plans to wear doesn’t sit with me well.

8. New Orleans Saints

The Saints introduced a new look this offseason, and it’s not bad. The fleur-de-lis down the middle helps this helmet represents New Orleans well, and black and gold go together like bread and butter. However, nothing about this helmet stands out; it’s a bit bland. Maybe a gold face mask would help?

7. New York Jets

Now we’re getting to the helmets I really like. The Jets’ nailed this one. New York’s black uniforms look even better with this helmet. The green on the logo and face mask (take note, Cardinals) pop out and give the uniform more vibrance.

6. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles kept their helmet change simple, and I’m all for it. They switched from an already-fresh midnight green and black look to a more fitting all black uniform. A slight change for the better.

NFL Alternate Helmets: The Top 5

Dallas Cowboys bring back the alternate uniforms and helmets for 2022
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

5. Dallas Cowboys

The Thanksgiving uniforms worn in the late 2000s and early 2010s are iconic. Dallas finally gets the chance to bring them back this year. The simplicity of the helmet gives the Cowboys an old school look, something that somewhat resembles a cowboy. The white pops out with the rest of the uniform, and I love it.

4. New York Giants

The Giants’ white throwback uniform has been a staple amongst fans for a few years now. It’s about time they brought the blue back. The darker shade of blue on the helmet gives the uniform a more classic look. On top of that, the “GIANTS” along the side is significantly better than the block “NY”. A perfect helmet for a classic uniform.

3. New England Patriots

The Pat Patriot look is back! The red, white, and blue look has long been one of the best looks in football. The white stands out with the red jersey really well, giving New England a patriotic look. As someone who watched many Patriots games growing up, I’m so happy to see these back in action.

2. Cincinnati Bengals

Finally. Ever since the Bengals introduced their all-white uniforms, fans have been screaming for the Bengals to wear while helmets. Everyone’s wish came true, and this looks so clean. The new helmets put these uniforms in the conversation for the best in the NFL.

1. Atlanta Falcons

When the Falcons got new uniforms in 2020, I was disappointed they went with black helmets instead of red. Now you see why. The red and black look with a sliver of gold bring back ’80s nostalgia, a more authentic throwback, and one of the cleanest looks in the NFL. It’s about time Atlanta brought these back. These are, without a doubt, the best of the NFL alternate helmets

Offseason Preview: Who Will Return to the Warriors Next Season?

The Warriors are back on top! The Dubs added another ring to their dynasty, as they defeated the Boston Celtics 103-90 in Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Finals. While the champagne showers and championship fever across the Bay may feel great, it’s officially the NBA offseason. The Warriors have lots of work to do if they want to defend their title. On top of having three draft picks, nine Golden State players are free agents, and Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole are in need of contract extensions. The Warriors have made it clear that they want to bring the majority of their roster back for next season.

With that being said, let’s dive into what the Warriors should do when it comes to retaining their current players.

Players who are unlikely to return: Andre Iguodala, Kevon Looney, Otto Porter Jr.

Kevon Looney and Otto Porter Jr. proved their worth to the rest of the league this season with stellar performances. Kevon Looney played every game this season and established himself as an above-average center and key role player. Porter, on the other hand, found his form again as a top three-and-D wing after two seasons plagued by injuries. Both players should receive contracts well above $10 million/year. The Warriors could pay that to Looney due to the luxury tax, but with Wiseman expected to make a big return next season, it makes more sense to sign a cheaper option.

Meanwhile, I’d expect Andre Iguodala to retire. The 2015 Finals MVP is 38 years old, was in and out of the rotation this season, and battled multiple injuries throughout the season. If he were to return next season, he wouldn’t see much time on the court.

Players who could return and contribute in 2022-23: Gary Payton II, Nemanja Bjelica, Damion Lee

One thing I am personally interested to see is how other teams value Gary Payton II. The journeyman point guard found a home last season in Golden State, and the Warriors strongly valued his defensive abilities. But can Payton succeed outside of Golden State? The Warriors should make an effort to bring Payton back, as he provides a key boost behind Curry.

As for Bjelica and Lee, both players were in and out of the rotation frequently. Bjelica utilized his size and both offensive and defensive abilities well in the NBA Finals. However, with Patrick Baldwin Jr. now on this team and Jonathan Kuminga expected to take a big leap, maybe the Warriors think their forward room is too cluttered. Either way, Bjelica shouldn’t receive more than a veteran minimum, something the Warriors can afford if they want to. The same thing goes for Lee; if the Warriors want him, they can pay him on a veteran minimum. With 2nd-round pick Ryan Rollins fracturing his foot, bringing back Lee may help bolster the guard room even more.

The remaining free agents (Juan Toscano-Anderson (RFA), Quinndary Weatherspoon (RFA), Chris Chiozza) didn’t make much of an impact this season on the Warriors. Therefore, it shouldn’t matter whether they resign or not. The Warriors did not extend the qualifying offers for Toscano-Anderson and Chiozza, and are not expected to resign them.

How should the Warriors approach extension talks with Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins?

Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins enter the final year of their contracts next season, with Wiggins being an unrestricted free agent. Both players embraced a vital role for the Warriors championship squad, and Golden State will have a tough time adjusting if they can’t keep either of them.

In my opinion, Andrew Wiggins is more important to the Warriors, and he should be dealt with first. The all-star wing is a perfect fit for Steve Kerr’s system, and there aren’t many other players that can match his role and talent. Once the Warriors fill out their roster, their focus should turn to Wiggins and make sure he stays in the Bay.

Poole, on the other hand, plays a crucial part in the Warriors’ system but could be replaceable by another young talent. That shouldn’t make the Warriors shy away from him. Golden State should bring back Poole if it’s willing to go well into the luxury tax. On top of that, Poole is a restricted free agent, which gives the Warriors more time to make a decision.

What do the Warriors need to find entering next season?

The Warriors didn’t have many glaring needs this offseason, and that is one key reason why they won the championship. Therefore, the Warriors’ needs really depend on who’s coming back and who’s not.

With Looney and Porter unlikely to return, Golden State will need to find a center who can spread the floor and a three-and-D wing. Having players in those roles has helped the Warriors significantly throughout the dynasty, and is necessary for Steve Kerr’s system. It might even be beneficial to find two three-and-D wings with Iguodala likely to retire.

Gary Payton II and Nemanja Bjelica will also need their roles filled if they leave. Golden State should keep its eye out for a defensive-minded point guard and a stretch 4.

Final Thoughts

The Warriors offseason doesn’t need to be too eventful to keep a championship roster. However, the front office can’t slack off. Teams across the Western Conference have already made vast improvements. The Warriors need to find players who can play in and out of the rotation, have a strong bench presence, and contribute in different ways. The Warriors players had their foot on the gas pedal all season long. Now, it’s time for the front office to do the same thing.