Each year, we run a series of post called "90-in-90" here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we'll take a look at every single player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not strictly one per day but Fooch is a crazy person who manages this blog with no rhyme or reason and it's worked so far. Who am I to argue?
A year ago, the San Francisco 49ers used one of their two fifth round draft picks on Florida Atlantic cornerback Keith Reaser. The pick was one of several "medical red-shirt" selections due to an ACL injury. Reaser tore his ACL October 5 2013 against UAB. He had surgery shortly thereafter, but then needed a second surgery in February due to his body rejecting the cadaver graft. He learned of this at the NFL Combine, and had the second surgery shortly after. You can read more details about the graft he used the first time vs. the second time.
Reaser was placed on the NFI list at the start of training camp, and remained on the list the entire season. The 49ers activated his practice window in mid-November, but it was a formality. It gave him some time to go through walk-throughs and the like, but he was never going to be activated for the 2014 season.
What to expect in 2015
Reaser was a speedy corner before the injury, so a big issue will be seeing how his speed looks upon being fully recovered. It has been about 14 months since his second surgery, which puts him just behind NaVorro Bowman's surgery, and just ahead of Brandon Thomas. Bowman dealt with a more complicated injury, while Thomas sounds like it was a fairly traditional injury. Reaser's seemed fairly traditional, but then the second surgery came into the picture.
The 49ers did not invest draft capital in cornerbacks this year. They signed Shareece Wright to a short deal, and then brought in several tryout candidates for their rookie minicamp. This would seem to make it clear the 49ers are expecting a lot from their current crop of cornerbacks.
Tramaine Brock, Dontae Johnson and Shareece Wright seem to be at the top of the depth chart. Brock is the only one that seems certain to be a starter, assuming he can remain healthy. That opens the door for guys like Reaser, Kenneth Acker and Chris Cook. My guess is Reaser's best chance at a roster spot is special teams and the dime back role. A strong training camp could boost him further, but I see him potentially as the dime back.
Odds of making the roster
There are not a lot of big names competing at cornerback, but there are a lot of options. I have this feeling that I should not be surprised if the 49ers end up trying to slide Reaser to the practice squad. Considering they invested a fifth round pick in him that seems unlikely, but it is entirely possible the numbers game proves problematic. The team's cornerbacks include:
And of course, Jimmie Ward is the guy looked at as their nickel back of the near future. There are just not a lot of roster opportunities. I lean toward thinking Reaser makes the roster, but the competition at cornerback is going to be fierce.