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49ers sign camp leg, might consider Bradley Pinion for kickoff specialist role

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The San Francisco 49ers now have three special teams legs. They signed a camp leg on Monday, but more importantly, could be looking at their new punter as a kickoff specialist. We break it all down.

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The San Francisco 49ers announced five roster moves on Monday, including the signing of kicker Corey Acosta. Last season, Acosta was 19 of 25 (76 percent) on field goals, including 13-of-14 under 40, 4-of-8 on 40-49 and 2-of-3 on 50+. He was also 21 of 23 on extra points. He did not attempt any punts in 2014, but did attempt 14 in 2013. You can view some of his work on this video from the 2015 Kohl's Pro Combine for special teams players.

More than likely Acosta is nothing more than a camp leg. Phil Dawson is getting older, but as we saw with the Bradley Pinion draft pick, if the 49ers were looking to replace him, they likely would have made a bolder move this offseason. That's not to say Acosta won't surprise us, but I am not anticipating that he will be a replacement for the coming season.

Speaking of Pinion, his exact role for the upcoming season could still be evolving. Given the trade of Andy Lee, we know that Pinion will be the team's punter. However, he could also end up as a kickoff specialist. Last week during minicamp, he said he has been getting work on kickoffs.

"I've done a lot of kickoffs since I've been here," he said. "It's something that I hope I can do for the team, and hope I can help the team in kickoffs. I want to do it if I can help the team."

The 49ers were not awful on kickoffs by any stretch, but getting a young big leg on kickoffs would be valuable. Football Outsiders ranked the 49ers 14th on kickoffs, although coverage units obviously play a big role in that. I did find this ranking of touchback percentage on kickoffs. The 49ers ranked 24th in 2014 (43.84%), and 26th in 2013 (38.32%).

Pinion was the primary punter and kickoff specialist at Clemson for both the 2013 and 2014 seasons. In 2014, he attempted 74 kickoffs and had 36 touchbacks (48.65%). Clemson reported he had 102 touchbacks on 178 career kickoffs. The 2014 percentage would have been good for 19th in 2014. The 57.3% would have bene good for eighth.

The 49ers have gotten solid work from their coverage units, but a kickoff specialist could be valuable. I would not expect this to be a career-long thing for Pinion, but while he's young and has a stronger leg, it makes some sense. And ideally he is doing a lot more kickoffs than punts!