All Time San Francisco 49ers 53 man Roster

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

You can get to every NFC Championship Game in 49er history here.

So, here's the new project - it's all time NFL rosters for each franchise.  I'm doing 53 man rosters, focusing on the total value for the career earned while playing for that particular franchise.  I'll do one for every current franchise.

Lists are current through the end of the 2016 season.

Here we go.

Let’s go ahead and fill out the all time 53 man Niners roster.

QB Joe Montana
                Steve Young
                John Brodie
                Frankie Albert
RB  Joe Perry
        Roger Craig
              Frank Gore
              Hugh McElhenny
WR Jerry Rice
       Terrell Owens
              Gene Washington
              Dwight Clark
              John Taylor
TE Brent Jones
             Vernon Davis
C Jesse Sapolu
GRandy Cross
G Guy McIntyre
T Bob St. Clair
T Harris Barton
           OL Joe Staley
           OL Steve Wallace
           OL Keith Fahnhorst
           OL Len Rohde

DE Justin Smith
DT Leo Nomellini
DT Bryant Young
DE Charlie Krueger
              DL Dana Stubblefield
              DL Michael Carter
              DL Dwaine Board
              DL Tommy Hart
              DL Cedric Hardman
OLB  Dave Wilcox
MLB Patrick Willis
OLB  Charles Haley
             LB Keena Turner
             LB Matt Hazeltine
             LB NaVorro Bowman
             LB Ken Norton
             LB Willie Harper
             LB Mike Walter
CB Jimmy Johnson
S Ronnie Lott
S Dwight Hicks
CB Eric Wright
            DB Merton Hanks
            DB Don Griffin
             DB Tim McDonald
            DB Abe Woodson
            DB Mel Phillips
PK Ray Wersching
P Andy Lee

QB – Obviously, with 3 QB in my top 5 Niners all time, there isn’t any question at all who should make the all time Niner roster, and no question about the order.  I still have Joe as the greatest QB ever, and Steve’s in the top 10. Tittle makes the top 20 all time Niners and Jeff Garcia would be in the all time top 50. 

RB – Perry’s the lead back over Roger, largely due to so many more seasons in SF.  McElhenny has about half of Roger’s carries as a Niner, so there’s a solid drop to the third back.  Willard’s extra time in SF allows him to hold off Hearst and Gore; if Gore can get/stay healthy he probably goes by him if there’s a full season in 2011. After 2012 I readjusted, Roger into the starting lineup.

WR – Jerry’s the greatest football player in the history of Earth.  Owens had better numbers across the board than everyone else; if you said Wilson should start opposite Jerry after making an adjustment for era, I don’t hate you for that.  Dwight’s a little more than Washington and JT, and no one else is in the conversation. After 2012 I readjusted, Wilson out altogether. 

TE – No one’s close to Brent; Francis edges out Kwalick – VD has a good 2 years before he’s in that discussion. VD became the backup after 2011.  

OL – 4 of the starting linemen on the all time team make the top 25; Fred Quillan loses to Sapolu as starting center and then, along with Guy McIntrye, just loses out to Rohde for that last lineman spot on the roster.  St Clair’s our best ever linemen and an all time great; Cross and Fahnhorst form the backbone of the line.  I like bringing Barton off the bench to fill in both at tackle and guard, but if you started him inside instead of Bosley that would make sense.

DL – Nomellini’s an all time great, and BY joins him in the top 10 all time Niners.  You bring in Michael Carter to play the run and add Stubblefield for depth; that seems pretty noncontroversial.  Krueger’s an easy choice – you might pick Haley, who I have as a pass rush specialist backing up at outside linebacker, starting on the other side, but the linebacker who doesn’t make the team because Haley got his spot isn’t as good as whichever of Board/Hart/Hardman we’d have to leave off.  I’m starting Hardman, but your mileage may vary.

I don’t have another lineman I’d consider in that group. After 2012, Smith became a backup.  And after 2013, the starter.  

LB – Wilcox is our best ever linebacker pretty solidly; I often think of he and St Clair in the same vein.  Hazeltine just beats out Keena for the other outside starting spot, and with Turner and Haley rotating in I feel pretty good about that quartet of outside backers.  I originally had Norton holding off Willis for the starting job in the middle, but that just would have been until after 2011 when there wouldn’t be any kind of argument between the two.  If Willis stays healthy and stays in San Francisco, he’s headed for the all time top 10.  I guess Willie Harper would be my pick if we wanted to move Haley to starting defensive end and we had to cut Hart.  That’s a defensible choice.  And now that's what I've done, deciding that every team I do this for will have 7 linemen and 7 linebackers.  Everyone gets the same roster composition. After 2013, Willis is the best LB ever.  

DB – Johnson and Lott are hall of famers; Lott’s the greatest safety who ever lived.  Spots get tighter after that; you’d prefer Wright as a third corner ideally – but there’s just no one else with a good case to play opposite Johnson.  I love me some Tim McDonald – particularly with Hicks/Hanks as backup safeties.  You’ve got to have Woodson to return kicks – but you really don’t need Phillips as a third safety in place of another cover corner.  Okay, so I replaced Mel Phillips with Don Griffin, and that solves that problem. 

K/P – I originally had Davis doing both jobs to give me another roster spot, but that’s cheating, and Andy Lee’s worthy.     And now, I've taken Davis off entirely to add Wersching.  


DennisVee said...

Good picks... I'm just curious, but did Kermit Alexander come close to making one of the DB spots?? Also, I thought I might see Frank Nunley, Skip Vanderbundt or Mike Walter on the LB list. I guess Willie Harper was about as decent as any of those three -- pretty much a toss-up if you ask me..

Jim said...

Thanks for the notes, I'll probably take them in order of oldest post.

1. Alexander would have been next after the guys I mentioned in the comment, and if you like him more than Griffin I wouldn't object I was doing a thing with some teams where I would take a returner, and that's Woodson here.

2. Agree on the linebackers.

DennisVee said...

I just noticed this... You have the unheralded Tommy Hart making the combined Raiders/Niners squad, but not making the just 49ers team....

Jim said...

Yeah, I meant Hardman; I went back and forth with them on the original Niners post, and confused which one finished up in Oakland.

erte said...

My father is about to write a book on the 49ers best players. You have done a great job of listing players from San Francisco here. He was also in football team of San Francisco for couple of years.

marcj said...

Your description on famous 49ers is quite good, but I got a little confused because I don’t have that much interest in sports. Sometimes I watch sports but that’s just for fun but I liked your post.

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