SANTA CLARA — The roster is 90 names long, but that won't last. When the defending NFC champion 49ers tackle the 2013 season, they will look to place the best possible team on the NFL gridiron.
And while three months still remain between now and Week 1, that process is underway.
“We're trying to get these guys ready for training camp,” 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. “To come in and compete and win a job. And it's happening.”
In kicking off its three-day minicamp Tuesday, one of those names, among many others, looking to fight for a roster spot is rookie quarterback B.J. Daniels. The mobile passer may have starred at South Florida, but wasn't picked until the seventh round of this year's draft.
And on a team that rosters Colin Kaepernick, one of the most dynamic young quarterbacks in the league, Daniels' spot will be hard fought.
“It's not tough at all,” Daniels said of adjusting to the fourth spot on the depth chart. “I really wanna do whatever I can to help out this team. Right now I'm learning where I am and just trying to improve every day.”
He will have to.
“B.J. is doing a good job,” Roman said citing his throwing and athleticism. “But he's got a lot to learn. Playing quarterback in this league is not something you roll out of bed and do.”
But while Daniels has never done anything on a football field other than take a snap, that may change.
“B.J. is somebody that we feel that could play multiple positions,” coach Jim Harbaugh said.
But while late-rounders and others on the fringe look to impress, so do the high-hopefuls.
“My mindset going into this offseason was to try to play more anyway,” receiver A.J. Jenkins said. “Regardless if [Michael] Crabtree was hurt or not.”
Jenkins, the Niners' first-round pick last year, didn't have much of an impact last season, playing in merely three games while starting none. That's apparently changed.
“A.J., I thought, the last two days of last week had the best two days he's had since I've been here,” Roman said. And Harbaugh won't argue.
“I thought A.J. had his best week of football since he's been a 49er,” he said.
And if San Francisco is to improve in the red zone — a stated goal of both Harbaugh and Roman — they'll need Jenkins' continued progression.
But pressure to thrive solely doesn't fall on the unproven.
“There's pressure on guys trying to make the team, of course, Harbaugh said. “But there's a lot further fall for the guys that have proven it.”
And San Francisco, undoubtedly, has players that have proven it.