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 stunned most of us this past May when they used a fifth round pick on punter Bradley Pinion. Andy Lee had spent 11 years with the team, and was signed for the foreseeable future. His 2014 season was not up to his high standards, but it wasn't awful.
However, in a league where teams are always looking for younger, cheaper options, in hindsight this is not entirely shocking. A fifth round pick is still surprising for a special teams player, but if the team thinks they have a guy who can do a great job for the next 5-10 years, that's a fifth round pick well-spent.
Of course, until he proves he can do that, there will be plenty of criticisms. He has a booming leg (good enough to help on kickoffs and long field goals), and did a good job keeping his punts out of the end zone. However, the common critique is he needs to work on directional punting. Here are a few scouting reports:
What to expect in 2015:
He'll be the starting punter, and we'll find out fairly early where things stand. The team dealt away Lee quickly, so they must be satisfied at this point. Given that they spent a fifth round pick on Pinion, I would certainly hope that would be the case!
Pinion will also serve as the team's holder on field goals and extra points. He said he has practiced on kickoffs, but it remains to be seen if he will get any action there during the regular season. We'll just have to wait and see what the four preseason games show us in that regard.
Odds of making the roster:
The 49ers drafted him in the fifth round and then proceeded to trade Andy Lee. It is safe to say he will be making the roster, and will be the team's starting punter this year. The 49ers made a bold move parting ways with the reliable Andy Lee. Will Pinion spend eleven years of his own on the roster? If he finds success under his rookie deal, it will set him up for nice payday down the road. If he is a good punter, I could see the 49ers getting seven or eight years out of him, but it would be interesting to see where his cap hits are come 2020 or beyond. I'm probably getting just a little bit ahead of myself.