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.
Each year of the Jim Harbaugh/Trent Baalke era has seen the San Francisco 49ers make some kind of transition. The team has built a veteran base that is slowly replaced by younger players each season. And it will continue this year as the 49ers will start only the second center in the Jim Harbaugh era.
The 49ers drafted Daniel Kilgore in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He was active for two games his rookie season, and appeared in one game, getting one offensive snap. In 2012 and 2013, Kilgore was active every game, serving as a reserve, and special teams player. In 2012, he had 70 offensive snaps and 126 special teams snaps. In 2013, he had 84 offensive snaps and 137 special teams snaps.
Kilgore handled first team center snaps this offseason, and will head into training camp as the front-runner at center. He also handled first team center snaps a year ago during the stretch when Jonathan Goodwin was working out at home during the offseason program. Kilgore's 2013 offensive snaps were primarily in heavy packages, but he also got some garbage time work in place of Goodwin.
Why he might improve in 2014:
It's pretty simple, really. He's getting his shot at a starting job, and if he secures the job, he'll be able to take a big step forward. He's gotten a lot of practice time at the center position, so he knows what he is getting into. It's pretty simple how he might improve this season.
Why he might regress in 2014:
Kilgore entered the NFL having played tackle at Appalachian State. He moved inside to guard, and then center. It's entirely possible his best work is as a reserve interior lineman. That's nothing to be ashamed of, but considering the 49ers drafted Marcus Martin in the third round, they may not be entirely sold on Kilgore as a starter. They extended Kilgore this offseason, but it was a fairly reasonable deal even if he ends up as just a reserve.
Odds of making the roster:
He will definitely make the roster, but it remains to be seen what kind of role he will have when the regular season gets here. He is at the top of the center depth chart heading into training camp, but Marcus Martin is going to push him hard. Kilgore could work as a solid backup option along the guard and center positions if needed, but obviously he is hoping to secure the starting center job.