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49ers roster, 90-in-90 breakdowns: Mike Purcell

Breaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days). Today we focus on defensive lineman Mike Purcell.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

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 defensive line will feature significant turnover in 2015. Justin Smith announced his retirement earlier this year, and the team released Ray McDonald in December. That means two new starters at the 3-4 defensive end, while the nose tackle will depend on who can remain healthy.

The 49ers starting defensive line in their base 3-4 could look something like Glenn Dorsey and Quinton Dial on the outside, with Ian Williams at nose tackle. When the team moves into their nickel, we could see Darnell Dockett and Tank Carradine come on at the two defensive tackle positions. If we see something along those lines, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Arik Armstead, Kaleb Ramsey, Mike Purcell, Lawrence Okoye will be competing for reserve roles in 2015.

Armstead is the only 100 percent lock, while Jerod-Eddie is a strong bubble player at that point. Armstead gives the 49ers six defensive linemen, leaving Jerod-Eddie competing with Ramsey, Purcell and Okoye for what could be the final defensive line roster spot.

Purcell returns for his third year with the 49ers. He signed as an undrafted free agent following the 2013 NFL Draft. He spent the entire 2013 season on the practice squad. He returned in 2014, and spent the first 14 games on the practice squad. He was promoted to the 53-man roster for the final two weeks after McDonald was released.

Purcell spent his college career playing nose tackle. He played at both end positions during his two games on the 49ers active roster, with nine snaps in Week 16 (-0.4 PFF grade) and 19 snaps in Week 17 (0.8 PFF grade).

What to expect in 2015:

He is a long-shot to make the roster, but if he can make it, he'd likely be looking at work in blowouts, and mostly as an emergency option. He has one last year of practice squad eligibility, so that would likely be his best shot at remaining with the 49ers. He is in year three so there are limitations on that. The team has to maintain the full 53-man roster if he is on the practice squad. If they release a player, he has to be promoted or released from the practice squad. That reduces the chances he has of earning a practice squad spot.

Odds of making the roster:

Pretty slim. The team clearly likes some of what he can do, considering he has spent much of the last two years on the practice squad, and got the promotion upon Ray McDonald's departure. But he is at that make-or-break time in his career, at least with the 49ers. As I said above, his practice squad possibilities are limited. He very well could impress enough to earn a spot on the 53-man roster, but I'd imagine TJE or Ramsey have a better shot.