Here at Niners Nation, we're presenting a series called "90-in-90". We'll be looking at every player on the San Francisco 49ers offseason roster, one player per post, from now until the start of training camp.
Earlier this week, we took a look at 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore in our daily 90-in-90 breakdown. Lattimore will be sidelined into training camp, and could spend the entire season on the Non-Football Injury List. I thought today we could take a look at another player who stands a good chance of starting training camp on the NFI list, offensive tackle Luke Marquardt.
The 49ers signed Luke Marquardt as part of their 2013 undrafted free agent class. Marquardt was an undrafted offensive tackle out of Division II (formerly NAIA) Azusa Pacific. He measured in at the Combine at 6'8, 315 pounds, and some of the rumors that came out indicated top picks Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel were slightly in awe of his monstrous physique.
Although he went through the Combine weigh-in process, Marquardt was not able to take part in the drills because of a foot injury. Marquardt suffered a hairline foot fracture at the beginning of his senior season last year, and was never able to return to the field. During the Combine medical process, another hairline fracture was discovered, and he had surgery not too long before the draft. SoCaliSteph took a look at the medical issues surrounding Marquardt.
Marquardt went undrafted, and has been sidelined throughout minicamp. All indications are that he will miss the start of training camp, and it would not surprise me in the least if he spent the entire year on the non-football injury list. The spot would not count against the 49ers 53-man roster, and the team would not have to risk sliding him through waivers to the practice squad.
I suggest the waivers issue because we're talking about a guy who is taking a significant step up in competition. He has the necessary size to play offensive tackle in the NFL, but until we see him against NFL pass rushers, it remains to be seen how he will take to that next level.
Marquardt has been working with Hall of Fame offensive lineman Jackie Slater, so he is getting a chance to learn what he needs to do at the next level. NFL.com has some thoughts on his strengths and weaknesses. There is some concern that he is too big at 6'8, but other than that, most of the weaknesses seem to be very coachable issues.
What to expect in 2013
The odds seem high in my mind that Marquardt spends the 2013 season on the NFI list. It is possible he could be sufficiently recovered that the 49ers decide it is worth throwing him out there in training camp. He's got NFL-caliber size, and if he can handle the step up in competition, at some point he could be an intriguing swing tackle option short-term, and maybe a replacement for Joe Staley long-term.
It's waaaaay too early to actually make that kind of prediction. He's not even practicing at this point, let along competing for anything resembling playing time. I fully expect the 49ers to take advantage of his foot injury and stash him on the NFI list alongside Marcus Lattimore.
Odds of making the roster
With Joe Staley and Anthony Davis locked in at the offensive tackle spots, Marquardt would be competing against the likes of Adam Snyder, draft pick Carter Bykowski and Kenny Wiggins. I suspect the 49ers end up keeping Snyder around as a utility man along the line, given that he can play all five positions. Marquardt likely has a better chance of being with the 49ers long-term because of the fact that he can sit out this year on the NFI list. Bykowski is a big boy himself, and he will get opportunities in the preseason; Bykowski seems like a logical practice squad candidate this season.