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?
The San Francisco 49ers are in the midst of offensive line transition, and while it is not a huge change, there are some notable differences. The big change will be at left guard, but the team is also seeing transition in its depth along the line.
The 49ers signed offensive lineman Erik Pears to a 2-year contract early in free agency, and his role has yet to be fully fleshed out. In OTAs he is working at right guard while Alex Boone is away from the voluntary portion of the offseason workout program. Boone is expected back for mandatory minicamp and training camp, at which point Pears will rotate elsewhere.
Pears played guard recently with the Buffalo Bills, but according to our Bills blog, he should in no way be considered a starting caliber guard. They viewed him more as a tackle. The 49ers offensive line situation in OTAs is an interesting one given Boone's absence, as well as that of right tackle Anthony Davis. They expect both back, but in the meantime, Trenton Brown is handling right tackle work. Joe Looney would seemingly be a guy who could get some right guard work, but he remains further down the depth chart.
For now, it seems like Pears would be ahead of Looney on the depth chart, but where exactly that is remains hard to figure out.
Why he might improve:
Pears is 32. He is doing enough to stick around the league, but I am not sure there is much upside in him. He is going to compete with Brandon Thomas, Andrew Tiller and Joe Looney for starting left guard snaps, but if he wins the left guard job out of camp, it is safe to say something has gone wrong.
Why he might regress:
He's getting older, and entering a new system. My guess is he is more likely to remain pretty similar to what he has been the last few years. A backup option that you don't really want starting on a regular basis. For a guy like Pears, it strikes me as fairly simple in that regard.
Odds of making the roster:
Pears received a $500,000 signing bonus, and $500,000 of his 2015 salary is guaranteed. $1 million seems like enough that odds are pretty high they are looking at him as a legit option in 2015, likely as a backup. His primary roster competition would seem to be guys like Joe Looney, Trenton Brown, Dillon Farrell and Andrew Tiller. Although the 49ers could eat that $1 million if needed, I just don't see that happening. My hope is that the line remains healthy enough that Pears spends most of his time on the field in heavy packages and during blowouts (the good kind).