49ERS TRAINING CAMP ROSTER
Here is a look at the 49ers roster, position-by-position, heading into training camp, with all players set to report Wednesday and the first full practice scheduled for Thursday (projected starters indicated with an asterisk):
Quarterbacks (5): *Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Josh Johnson, Kory Faulkner.
Kaepernick must take charge like never before in only his second camp as the starter. Gabbert has the inside track for the No. 2 role vacated by Colt McCoy. Johnson is battling for the No. 3 role as in 2012, when he lost to Scott Tolzien. Johnson thinks his mobility better suits a Kaepernick-oriented offense than the 2012, Alex Smith-version. Bethel-Thompson's practice-squad familiarity helps his case. Faulkner might make practice-squad.
Running backs (9): *Frank Gore, *Bruce Miller (FB), Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Carlos Hyde, Marcus Lattimore, Jewel Hampton, Will Tukuafu (FB), Trey Millard (FB).
This is Gore's 10th camp but his first with so many viable candidates to share the load. Lattimore's comeback attempt is of utmost interest, and aside from running, can he pass protect? Hunter remains the No. 2 back, though he's coming off a career-low 358 rushing yards and is in a contract year. Hyde could be a rookie gem with his deft hands and power legs. If that quartet proves strong, James finally might get traded.
Wide receivers (11): *Michael Crabtree, *Anquan Boldin, *Stevie Johnson, Brandon Lloyd, Kassim Osgood, Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington, Jon Baldwin, Chuck Jacobs, Devon Wylie, David Reed.
Crabtree and Boldin get to enjoy their first camp together, and complementing them are proven veterans in Johnson and Lloyd. Ellington is expected to emerge as a deep threat. Patton's energetic presence has been a positive, as has Jacobs' on the scout team. Keeping six wideouts seems like the maximum (and we'll start three here for ideal purposes).
Tight ends (6): *Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek, Derek Carrier, Asante Cleveland, Kevin Greene.
Davis' offseason holdout underscored the 49ers' need of his play-making presence. McDonald had only eight receptions as a rookie -- or as many as Davis had in an Oct. 13 win over the Cardinals. If Celek and Carrier return, they'll need to fend off undrafted rookies (as they once were): Cleveland and Greene.
Centers (3): *Daniel Kilgore, Marcus Martin, Dillon Farrell.
Kilgore has spent three seasons learning the scheme while awaiting his first career start. He seems to have a needed rapport with Kaepernick. But Martin's strength and athleticism make him an instant contender for a spot filled the past three seasons by Jonathan Goodwin (now on the Saints).
Guards (8): *Mike Iupati, *Alex Boone, Adam Snyder, Joe Looney, Ryan Seymour, Al Netter, Fou Fonoti, Brandon Thomas.
Boone's offseason boycott was understandable from a financial perspective (his $2 million base salary ranks 24th among NFL guards). Iupati ($2.97 million) could use a bounce-back season in his own contract drive. Looney looks ready to pounce after barely playing his first two years. Snyder is the veteran option, while Seymour is lurking for a job, too.
Tackles (4): *Joe Staley, *Anthony Davis, Jonathan Martin, Carter Bykowski.
Right tackle Anthony Davis hasn't practiced since April shoulder surgery, so his status bears watching. Staley is eternally locked up as Kaepernick's blindside protector. The job here is to find a swing tackle in reserve, at least other than Boone or Snyder. Martin looks to mesh after his controversial Dolphins exit, and if he falters, next up is Bykowski, a 2013 seventh-round pick.
Nose tackles (3): *Glenn Dorsey, Ian Williams, Mike Purcell.
Dorsey delivered once Williams sustained a broken ankle in Week 2, an injury that remains untested in practice. Dorsey, the 49ers' reigning Blue Collar Player of the Year, is poised for another payday as he finishes out his contract this season.
Defensive tackles (8): *Justin Smith, *Ray McDonald, Demarcus Dobbs, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial, Lawrence Okoye, Kaleb Ramsey.
Carradine's year-in-the-making arrival should bode well in relief of Smith and McDonald, who both played hurt last season. It'll be interesting to see who else settles into backup roles. Okoye, the former British discus thrower, must show he's improved his technique to earn more than practice-squad consideration. Ramsey started camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
Inside linebackers (7): *Patrick Willis, *NaVorro Bowman (injured), Michael Wilhoite, Nick Moody, Blake Costanzo, Chris Borland, Shayne Skov.
Wilhoite is first in line to step in for Bowman (knee rehabilitation), but Moody's athleticism makes him an exciting contender. Borland had an encouraging spring, and he'll be pushed by Stanford-product Skov.
Outside linebackers (6): *Ahmad Brooks, *Aldon Smith, Dan Skuta, Corey Lemonier, Chase Thomas, Aaron Lynch.
This top-tier unit has enough depth to compensate for whatever suspension Smith might draw from the NFL. Skuta and Lemonier split time in place of Smith last season, but Lemonier might be ready for an expanded role. Lynch (hamstring) is on PUP.
Cornerbacks (8): *Tramaine Brock, *Chris Cook, Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox, Darryl Morris, Dontae Johnson, Kenneth Acker, Keith Reaser.
This unit's extreme makeover sees Brock enter his first camp as a bona fide starter while Cook spent the offseason program as the right-side starter. Culliver could leap Cook, however, if all goes well in Culliver's return from last training camp's ACL tear. While Cox has been a trusted agent at nickel back and Morris' speed is enticing, that role ultimately could go to safety Jimmie Ward.
Safeties (8): *Eric Reid, *Antoine Bethea, Craig Dahl, C.J. Spillman, Jimmie Ward, Bubba Ventrone, D.J. Campbell, James McCray.
Bethea replaces Donte Whitner (Browns) to partner with Reid, a rookie Pro Bowler. Ward, this year's first-round draft pick, gets his first chance to practice since March foot surgery, and his main task will be to cover slot receivers. Spillman, Dahl and Ventrone are special-teams mainstays. McCray is an under-the-radar prospect.
Long snappers (1): * Kevin McDermott.
McDermott has looked solid since last summer's training camp when he unseated longtime snapper Brian Jennings.
Punters (2): *Andy Lee, Colton Schmidt.
See 2013 comment: Lee's leg won't get overworked this camp thanks to the recent addition of Schmidt, a UC Davis product.
Kickers (1): *Phil Dawson.
The 16th-year veteran re-signed after a terrific debut last season with the 49ers, including walk-off field goals in back-to-back weeks at Arizona and the playoff opener at Green Bay. He was 7 for 7 in the playoffs.
-- CAM INMAN