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SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers released their first “unofficial” depth chart of the regular season on Tuesday, and it contained one surprise.
Rookie Bruce Ellington is listed as the 49ers’ top returner on kickoffs and punts ahead of LaMichael James. However, it is not known if that is the 49ers’ intention for Sunday’s season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
In the past, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Bob Lange, the director of communications, filled out the unofficial depth chart that is distributed to the media.
Linebacker Michael Wilhoite is listed as a starting inside linebacker, along with Patrick Willis. And Dan Skuta is listed as the starter at outside linebacker in place of suspended Aldon Smith. Last season during Smith’s absence, Skuta played base downs and Corey Lemonier entered to rush the passer.
Alex Boone is not listed on the unofficial depth chart because he is not currently on the 53 man roster. The 49ers receive the roster exemption for him. He is expected to be activated in time for Sunday's game.
Here’s the complete 49ers depth chart:
Wide receiver: Anquan Boldin, Stevie Johnson, Bruce Ellington
Left tackle: Joe Staley
Left guard: Mike Iupati
Center: Daniel Kilgore (Marcus Martin)
Right guard: Joe Looney, Dillon Farrell
Right tackle: Anthony Davis, Jonathan Martin
Tight end: Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Derek Carrier
Wide receiver: Michael Crabtree, Brandon Lloyd, Quinton Patton, Kassim Osgood
Fullback: Bruce Miller
Running back: Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde, LaMichael James
Quarterback: Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert, Josh Johnson
Left defensive tackle: Ray McDonald, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Tank Carradine
Nose tackle: Ian Williams, Quinton Dial
Right defensive tackle: Justin Smith, Demarcus Dobbs
Outside linebacker: Ahmad Brooks, Aaron Lynch
Inside linebacker: Michael Wilhoite, Nick Moody
Inside linebacker: Patrick Willis, Chris Borland
Outside linebacker: Dan Skuta, Corey Lemonier
Left cornerback: Tramaine Brock, Chris Cook
Right cornerback: Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox, Dontae Johnson
Free safety: Eric Reid, Jimmie Ward, L.J. McCray
Strong safety: Antoine Bethea, Craig Dahl
Punter: Andy Lee
Kicker: Phil Dawson
Holder: Andy Lee
Punt return: Bruce Ellington, LaMichael James
Kick return: Bruce Ellington, LaMichael James
Long snapper: Kyle Nelson
NOTE: Only players currently on the 49ers' 53-man roster are listed. Guard Alex Boone is back with the team on a roster exemption. He must be activated to the 53-man roster before he will be eligible to play. Glenn Dorsey is on injured reserve/designated for return. He is not be eligible to practice with the team until at least six weeks have passed, and cannot be activated until at least 8 weeks have passed.