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.
Let's get this out of the way: I am not the biggest Craig Dahl fan. I was very upset when the San Francisco 49ers signed him, primarily due to the fact that he was a bad player with the St. Louis Rams. But he was also counted on to do a lot of things with the Rams. He was a starter off and on there, and when he screwed up, everybody knew about it.
In San Francisco, Dahl was primarily a special teams player and a backup to Eric Reid. I was not pleased to see him get snaps on defense when Reid went down -- I think C.J. Spillman is simply better -- but he did prove me wrong by avoiding any catastrophic meltdowns. I have no problem admitting I may have been taking things a bit too far.
Whatever the case, Dahl didn't make many mistakes on defense, and actually excelled on special teams. He's still probably the fourth guy I'd want chasing after a ball-carrier on special teams, but in a team full of special teams standouts, he wasn't lost or anything like that. It's not really worth looking at his stats, because there's not a whole lot there.
Put simply, Dahl was fine last season. He looked good on special teams, he looked solid as a backup, and he was gracious enough to adjust his contract this offseason. Not a whole lot else to say about how he performed to this point.
Why he might improve:
It seems likely the 49ers will end up without one of their current special teams standouts. That could lead to Dahl getting even more responsibilities on special teams and it's certainly possible that he excels in this role. If he happens to find his way onto the field on defense, that means Reid is injured, which is never a good thing, but working alongside Antoine Bethea certainly could lead to some improvement as well.
Why he might regress:
Dahl is 29 years old, has never been particularly impressive an got less work last season than any since 2008. Improvement is less likely than regression, though if I'm being honest him simply being about the same is the most-likely scenario.
Odds of making the roster:
Taking that paycut definitely helps Dahl's chances of sticking around. I still think both Dahl and Spillman are probably safe for the fact that they are capable backups with special teams abilities. Still, I've been wrong before when it comes to special teamers. Whatever the case, it's definitely a greater than 50 percent chance he's still with the 49ers when the season starts.