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 spent much of the offseason workout program rotating cornerbacks through the first and second team defenses. Tramaine Brock and Shareece Wright are both viewed as potential starters this year, with Jimmie Ward expected to handle nickel work. However, all three dealt with injuries that limited them through the program. That opened the door for the long list of cornerbacks to get in some work.
Guys like Keith Reaser, Kenneth Acker and Dontae Johnson were the more high profile names getting significant work, but there are some lower profile players that will be in the mix when training camp rolls around. We discussed Leon McFadden last month, and today we move on to Marcus Cromartie.
Cromartie entered the NFL in 2013 as an undrafted free agent with the San Diego Chargers. He spent much of the season on the practice squad, and was promoted to the active roster that December. Cromartie made the Chargers 2014 roster out of training camp, but was released a couple weeks into the season. He joined the Cleveland Browns practice squad on October 29, and was released on October 30. The 49ers signed Cromartie to the practice squad in November, and promoted him to the active roster on December 13.
Cromartie appeared in the team's final three games, getting four defensive snaps in Week 15, 11 in Week 16, and 10 in Week 17. He also had 23 special teams snaps over those three weeks. PFF graded him out just barely positive in Weeks 15 and 16 (0.1 and 0.7), and fairly negative in Week 17 (-2.2).
What to expect in 2015:
Although he enters the season with some playing experience, his knowledge of the 49ers 2014 defense will see some adjustments with the promotion of Eric Mangini to defensive coordinator. He has two seasons under his belt, but it remains to be seen where exactly he stands in improving some of his technique. The one scouting report I could find said he needed to improve his footwork. He had very few snaps in 2014, so we get to wait and see what a potentially full preseason of work can do for him. He does bring solid speed, with a 4.41 40, but the scouting report questions his "closing" speed.
Cromartie was one of several cornerbacks getting some time with the first team defense. Given that this year's OTAs and minicamp involved implementing the Mangini defense, it makes sense to give a lot of players time with the first team defense. Even with Brock and Wright viewed by many as favorites, there are a lot of potential depth options that need to get some work in. My guess is Cromartie does not make the roster, but I don't think it will be for lack of an opportunity. He has practice squad eligibility remaining as well. I don't know that guys like Acker or Reaser could get through waivers, so that could actually boost Cromartie's chances of joining the 49ers practice squad.
Odds of making the roster:
Barring a surprise, I have to think they are pretty slim. The 49ers went with five cornerbacks plus defensive back Jimmie Ward last season. Based on that number, we could be looking at Jimmie Ward (assuming his foot is health) plus Tramaine Brock, Shareece Wright, Dontae Johnson and two of Keith Reaser, Kenneth Acker and Chris Cook. The team could very well go with six cornerbacks, but even then, Cromartie and McFadden would seem to be on the outside looking in.