Blaine Gabbert, Colin Kaepernick co-starters on first 49ers depth chart

Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick are neck-and-neck on the 49ers' initial depth chart. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- You didn't expect the San Francisco 49ers to stray from their consistent quarterback message on their first unofficial depth chart, did you?

Of course not. So it should be no surprise that when the team sent out that first chart on Tuesday night, Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick were both listed as the starter. Keep in mind, coach Chip Kelly, offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins and defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil have all made at least veiled references to the depth chart or lineups meaning very little at this time of the year.

So keeping that -- plus the fact that the depth chart sent out by the team is unofficial -- in mind, here are a few quick observations from its first incarnation:

  • Kelly said earlier this week that there wouldn't be a decision on whether it would be Gabbert or Kaepernick starting against the Houston Texans on Sunday night until closer to game time. But even when that decision is made, it probably doesn't mean much. It's fair to assume that both quarterbacks will get starts and opportunities with the first unit in exhibition games.

  • Another position battle with multiple "starters" listed is inside linebacker, where Gerald Hodges, Michael Wilhoite and Ray-Ray Armstrong have been splitting the reps with the first unit. All three are listed at the top of the depth chart and, again, all three will likely get opportunities to play with the top defense during preseason.

  • Two other spots with multiple players listed in the same spot are second-string outside linebacker behind Ahmad Brooks -- where Tank Carradine and Corey Lemonier are next in line -- and both second-team cornerback spots, where it's Dontae Johnson and Rashard Robinson on the left side and Chris Davis and Keith Reaser on the right. Tramaine Brock and Jimmie Ward are the listed starters on the left and right, respectively.

  • In all situations where there are multiple players listed for a spot, it's done so alphabetically.

  • On the defensive line, where the 49ers have been rotating different players at different positions, the listed starters are left defensive tackle Arik Armstead, nose tackle Mike Purcell and right defensive tackle Quinton Dial. Rookie DeForest Buckner is labeled the second-team right defensive tackle, though he's been working plenty with the starters of late.

  • On the offensive line, the starting five is as it's been in camp, with Joe Staley, Zane Beadles, Daniel Kilgore, Andrew Tiller and Trent Brown from left to right. Rookie Joshua Garnett, who practiced at left guard for the first time Tuesday, is listed as the second-team right guard, with Anthony Davis next to him as the backup right tackle.

  • Notable among the skill-position players, the Niners list Torrey Smith, Bruce Ellington and Quinton Patton as starters and Vance McDonald as the first tight end. Shaun Draughn is listed as the No. 2 running back behind Carlos Hyde.

  • The Niners' "other" quarterback battle between Thaddeus Lewis and Jeff Driskel for the third quarterback spot has a little more separation, at least for the moment. Lewis is listed next after Gabbert and Kaepernick, with Driskel fourth. But this is another competition that will play out over the rest of the summer.

  • Suspended outside linebacker Aaron Lynch is still listed as the starter at his spot. Eli Harold is next on the list and remains the logical choice to step in.

  • The 49ers and Texans meet in the preseason opener on Sunday evening.