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49ers Roster, 90-in-90 breakdowns: Scott Tolzien

Breaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days). Today we focus on Scott Tolzien.


Here at Niners Nation, we're presenting a series called "90-in-90". We'll be looking at every player on the 49ers offseason roster, one player per post, from now until the start of training camp.

The 49ers are pretty much in training camp at this point, with rookies showing up last Friday, and Coach Harbaugh indicating quarterbacks have been in town as well. We've already gone through two-thirds of the backup quarterbacks, leaving us with one more in Scott Tolzien.

Tolzien entered the NFL in 2011 as an undrafted free agent. He signed with the San Diego Chargers, but was waived at the end of training camp in final cuts. The cuts came not too long after he had his way with the 49ers defensive reserves in the preseason finale. The performance left an impression on a 49ers coaching staff that reportedly had already wanted to sign him during undrafted free agency. The 49ers successfully claimed Tolzien, and he has been with the team in the two years since.

Tolzien has spent much of the last two seasons inactive, although he did find himself active three times in 2013. The 49ers brought in Josh Johnson last season to compete for one of the quarterback spots, and at times there were some folks who wanted HIM as Alex Smith's backup. While we all love Colin Kaepernick now, there were enough question marks a year ago that it made for a discussion that looking back is pretty funny to consider.

As far as what Tolzien brings to the table? Our Wisconsin blogger described him as a quality "game manager", but one who sometimes locked into receivers a bit too much. Additionally, he's not really a mobile quarterback. Shortly after the 49ers claimed Tolzien, Dylan put together his thoughts on the QB.

What to expect in 2013

If Tolzien beats out B.J. Daniels for the third QB spot (see below), he is likely looking at another season as the third string quarterback. All indications are that Colt McCoy is just about locked in as Colin Kaepernick's primary backup QB. Tolzien would need to put together a pretty strong effort in camp to unseat McCoy. Considering McCoy is a bit more athletic than Tolzien, that is going to be a tough one for him.

Odds of making the roster

This is where it gets difficult for Tolzien. He could still claim that third QB job, but given that it would be his third year of that, the team might in fact be much more inclined to see what B.J. Daniels can do in the role. Since drafting Daniels this past April, the 49ers have used him in a variety of roles, ranging from quarterback to running back to kick returner.

If the 49ers think Daniels can bring more than just third string QB, that has to give him a boost, even if Tolzien is the ever so slightly better QB. I think Tolzien will have to demonstrably out-perform Daniels to claim that third QB job. I do think he can do it, but this is going to be a tough one. Josh Johnson was viewed as a tough competitor for Tolzien, but this is likely different given the extra skills Daniels could bring to the field.