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?
Last spring, the San Francisco 49ers signed Dillon Farrell as an undrafted free agent out of New Mexico. Heading into training camp, I figured he was likely destined for the practice squad. However, like L.J. McCray, he managed to earn a roster spot coming out of training camp.
Farrell ended up active for 12 games, and got snaps in seven of the games. He played 27 snaps against the Denver Broncos following Daniel Kilgore's injury, and managed ten snaps in six other games. His extensive work against Denver, along with four snaps the previous week came due to Mike Iupati suffering an injury in Week 6, and being inactive in Week 7.
Why he will improve:
He has a year under his belt, and even got tossed in the deep end in Week 7. He was viewed as lacking strength and consistency coming out of college, but having length and agility to potentially secure a roster spot. HIs upside seems limited, but he can potentially play several spots on the line. The 49ers did not exactly invest heavily in the line, so his opportunities could be fairly significant.
Why he will regress:
I don't know if regress would be the proper term at this point given how little he did in fact play. More likely would be that he might just have a limited ceiling as a player. He went undrafted not because of injury or off-the-field issues, but rather because he was viewed as a guy who lacked sufficient strength and consistency to excel in the NFL. He could figure some things out and take a step forward, but the odds are not exactly in his favor.
Odds of making the roster:
The offensive line features a lot of question marks with the depth. Assuming Brandon Thomas secures the left guard job as I expect, the center position and the reserves open up the numbers game quite a bit. Farrell will get center snaps, but Marcus Martin and Daniel Kilgore are the two guys competing for that job. Kilgore is still recovering from his leg injury, but claims he will be ready for the start of training camp.
Farrell will be competing with guys like Joe Looney, Erik Pears, Trent Brown, Ian Silberman and this year's undrafted free agents, Patrick Miller and Justin Renfrow. Following the return of Alex Boone from his holdout, the 49ers went with nine offensive linemen a year ago. The reserves were Farrell, Looney and Jonathan Martin. Based on what we are hearing out of OTAs, Trent Brown is doing good work and could very well work himself into a utility role. Erik Pears is getting first team right guard snaps in Boone's absence, so he would seem to be ahead of Looney at this point. Could it come down to Looney vs. Farrell later this summer?