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.
It wasn't surprising to me when the San Francisco 49ers acquired offensive tackle Jonathan Martin. He's a young guy who struggled, but whose primary adversity came from a poor locker room, something the 49ers just don't have. Martin was the victim of bullying, but you don't need me to rehash that story for you, do you?
Maybe Martin is putting up with the stuff that plenty of other people put up with and are totally fine with -- that doesn't make it OK. But we're going to focus on how he looked on the football field prior to him having his "emotional breakdown" and departing the team.
It wasn't very good, admittedly.
Martin showed the occasional flash of a fundamentally sound offensive lineman, but he was often overwhelmed and once he got himself out in the weeds, he never was able to dig himself out. He was particularly poor in pass protection, so much so that the Dolphins signed Bryant McKinnie to take over that spot during the regular season. Martin was moved back over to the right side.
And that's all we saw from him, really. He struggled at both the left and right side throughout his career, but he's just 24 years old, only a couple seasons removed from being that No. 42 overall pick in the NFL Draft. There's still a lot to work with there.
Why he might improve:
I'm not sure in what vein Martin makes it onto the field this season, or what the plan is for the future. Maybe he's simply the swing tackle of the future, or maybe the 49ers want to kick him inside as insurance against Mike Iupati or Alex Boone going elsewhere. I could see both cases personally, but this year in the here and now, I only see Martin coming in as the extra blocker. For what it's worth, I could see Martin being the first guy on the field in those situations. I think he'd flourish in that role, especially if he's trying to run block. The locker room in San Francisco should certainly help.
Why he might regress:
Let's face it: the only thing we've seen from Martin in the NFL is poor play. He's struggled big time and seeing that continue wouldn't be the most surprising thing in the world. But I don't think there's anything inherent in the 49ers' scheme that would lead to him struggling, unless they do actually want to kick him inside and he's just not able to handle that.
Odds of making the roster:
Martin is far from a guarantee at this point ... but I think he's too fresh out of college with too many physical tools to release at this point. He's here and most importantly, he wants to be here. It's definitely more than a 50-50 chance, of course, but I don't want to give it an actual number. He's definitely on my 53-man projection to be sure.