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.
The San Francisco 49ers signed defensive tackle Mike Purcell as an undrafted free agent in May of 2013. The Wyoming product was cut at the end of training camp, and then signed with the team's practice squad. He spent the entire year there, and was then signed to a reserve/future contract.
The San Francisco 49ers head into the 2014 season with considerable depth potential along the defensive line. There are question marks about Tank Carradine and Ian Williams, but there will be extensive competition at all three 3-4 DL positions. Mike Purcell is a guy who is a bit further down the depth chart, and is likely competing for a practice squad spot.
What to expect in 2014:
He came into the NFL measuring 6'3, 305 pounds. As we discussed last year, he is viewed by many as a bit of an undersized 3-technique. He has had a year to work with Jim Tomsula and the 49ers strength and conditioning team, so it is possible he has put on some weight and could potentially move into nose tackle work.
And if Purcell is going to make any kind of impact in 2014, it would probably be in a nose tackle role. The defensive end positions are considerably deep right now. After Justin Smith and Ray McDonald, the 49ers have Tank Carradine, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Demarcus Dobbs, Quinton Dial, Lawrence Okoye, and Kaleb Ramsey. At nose tackle, Glenn Dorsey and Ian Williams are the primary guys, but Quinton Dial could very well get some work there as well. Ian Williams is a question mark to be ready at the start of training camp, opening the door for extensive practice and playing time in the preseason. I have no idea if Purcell is going to attempt any kind of transition to nose tackle, but it would make sense for him to improve his roster chances.
Odds of making the roster:
All that being said, the odds are not good for him to make the roster. He has practice squad eligibility, and the 49ers could always use defensive line developmental talent. Of course, the 49ers are also still looking at other options to add to the group. Yesterday, we learned the 49ers were in attendance at a workout for defensive end Lakendrick Ross. He is a monstrous defensive tackle prospect who put on a Pro Day in advance of Friday's 2014 NFL Supplemental Draft.
The 49ers could use some interior depth, particularly with Ian Williams being such a question mark. I don't know that Purcell or Ross or Dial will be the answer, but it is something we could see the 49ers pursue if Williams is not back early in camp.