49ers roster, 90-in-90 breakdowns: Adam Snyder

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Breaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days or in however long we feel like it). Today we focus on interior lineman Adam Snyder.

Each year, we like to run a series of posts called "90-in-90." The idea is that we'll take a look at every player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few ways. This roster will certainly change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not exactly 90 players in 90 days. At this point, it's a name we're keeping around for street cred.

Adam Snyder is probably a better player than you think he is. There's a constant stream of players how have a bad reputation based on something that really shouldn't have led to one, and I think Snyder is one of those guys. A third-round pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 2005, Snyder has never been known as a very good offensive tackle.

In fact, he was downright poor when he manned the right tackle spot. Replacing Snyder with Anthony Davis was a smart, smart move by the 49ers, because Snyder never should have been a tackle in the first place. But he was a solid interior lineman, and I think that is a fact that's often overlooked.

I just wanted to get that out there, because I think he gets a bum rap. You'll find that he was particularly poor in 2005, 2007 and 2009 ... but not so much in 2011 and 2008. The difference between those years ... I'm sure you can guess.

But how about last year? Snyder returned to the 49ers to be a backup along the interior after a so-so season with the Arizona Cardinals. He did well as the extra man on when the 49ers used extra blockers, but most important are the games he played starting in place of Mike Iupati.

And while I've defended him in the past, and even in the beginning of this post, I'm not going to do that now.

Unfortunately, Snyder was a mess in pass protection. By extension, Joe Staley had some of his worst games of the season when it came to rushing the passer. Snyder missed assignments outright -- at least, as best as I can tell without having been there in the huddle -- and was frequently turned around while the pass-rusher blew right by him to Colin Kaepernick.

The Seattle Seahawks made Snyder look like a rookie in Week 14. I'm not even going to name specific players, because all of them handled Snyder easily. I thought he blocked well for Frank Gore, and leveled some guys when he got out in space in the running game. But he was incredibly poor in pass protection, and I'm not sure why he regressed to this point.

Maybe we have to once again narrow his expertise to the right side of the offensive line, not the left. But at that point, why keep him around? I guess that's a question he'll have to answer in training camp and the preseason.

Why he might improve:

Snyder has been in the NFL since 2005, and has had to learn quite a few playbooks. Maybe he wasn't quite prepared for what faced him last season, and with another year in this system blocking for this quarterback, who knows what could happen? Improvement isn't exactly likely, but it's possible.

Why he might regress:

It's a long list. Snyder is 32 years old and will turn 33 just before the playoffs next season. He's shown struggles at left guard and I'm not sure there's a lot of work for him on the right side. It's not exactly difficult to see how he could regress.

Odds of making the roster:

This is a tough one. San Francisco has quite a few interior linemen that have a lot more upside than Snyder. The 49ers will have to find a solution to Alex Boone and his contract desires, and Iupati's deal is expiring next season, but I'm just not sold on Snyder hanging around as insurance in either scenario. This could be the year he gets beat out by someone younger, but I'm not ready to "call it" just yet. He's basically 50/50 for me at this point.

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