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49ers roster, 90-in-90 breakdowns: McLeod Bethel-Thompson

Breaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days or in however long we feel like it). Today we focus on quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson.


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 will likely head into training camp with a quarterback group consisting of Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert, Josh Johnson, McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Kory Faulkner. It's kind of bizarre to note that McBLT has the second most time with the team behind Kap. The 49ers claimed McBLT from the Minnesota Vikings on October 9 and released John Skelton. They then waived McBLT on November 26 when they activated Michael Crabtree. McBLT cleared waivers and signed with the 49ers practice squad the next day. Shortly after the season ended, McBLT was among a group of players the 49ers signed to reserve/future contracts.

This all marks his second time with the 49ers. He previously signed with the 49ers in 2011 shortly after the lockout ended. He had graduated from Sacramento State in 2010, and spent the spring of 2011 playing for the San Jose Sabercats. He was part of the team's final roster cuts in early September. He ended up spending time with the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the UFL, a brief stint with the Miami Dolphins practice squad and then to the Vikings before his return to San Francisco.

If you're looking for an interested, if dated article on McBLT, this Minnesota newspaper article is a good one. Apparently Vikings fans chanted M.B.T. for him. Given how close it sounds to MVP, I could probably get behind this! I've generally chosen McBLT because it rolls off the tongue and reminds me of the old McDonald's McDLT.

What to expect:

It's hard to tell what kind of opportunities McBLT will get with the addition of Josh Johnson and Kory Faulkner. I have to think we'll see him in some preseason action, but how much is difficult to say for certain. Best case scenario for him is making the 53-man roster as the third quarterback, worst case scenario is getting cut, and in between is ending up on the practice squad once again.

In looking through the practice squad rules, a player is deemed to have served a practice squad season if he was a member for at least three regular season or postseason games during his first two PS years, and at least one during his third PS year. According to the Pioneer Press article above, McBLT was on the Dolphins practice squad for two weeks in 2011. He was on the Vikings roster in 2012, but inactive the entire season, so he did not burn off his PS eligibility. In 2013, he was inactive through Week 12, and then spent five regular season and three postseason games on the practice squad. That should leave him with practice squad eligibility.

Odds of making the roster:

We could maybe 33 percent if we split up his chances with those of Josh Johnson and Kory Faulkner. Or we could say McBLT and Johnson have greater odds with the 49ers potentially looking at Faulkner as a developmental candidate for the practice squad? Either way, it's up in the air. Johnson indicated he feels he has a better shot at the roster this time around because the offense revolves around Colin Kaepernick's skill set instead of Alex Smith's skill set. Johnson's own skill set is closer to that of Kap than Smith.

It should be a fairly interesting competition for that third quarterback spot. Of course, if Gabbert impresses this offseason and through the preseason, maybe the 49ers go with two quarterbacks, and then stash Faulkner or McBLT on the practice squad? If that ended up the case, I think Faulkner is the more likely PS candidate.