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 were quite busy at the wide receiver position this offseason. The team signed Torrey Smith to lock in the top of the depth chart, and then drafted DeAndre Smelter to provide a potential long-term boost. However, following the 2015 NFL Draft, the team added several potential fliers in undrafted free agency. The team signed five wide receivers immediately after the draft, and then waived one on June 15 in order to sign Rice wide receiver Mario Hull.
DeAndrew White and Dres Anderson were the ones media took notice of during the offseason workout program, but the 49ers addition of Hull after minicamp is an intriguing one. Hull appears to have been the No. 2 receiver at Rice behind Jordan Taylor. While Taylor led the Owls with 54 receptions and 842 yards, Hull had one more touchdown (8 to 7) and averaged nearly four more yards per reception (19.4 to 15.6). Rice was a more run-heavy attack, leading to fewer opportunities for the pass catchers. The Owls offense ranked 103rd in pass attempts and 28th in rushing attempts in 2014.
There are not many scouting reports on Hull, but he did chat with the NFL Draft Bible back in March. He spoke with them following his Pro Day, in which he had a chance to speak with various scouts. They told him his route running was solid, and spent the time more trying to get to know him. You can check out the audio below, and also check out what Hull's page at his agent's website says about him.
What to expect in 2015
The 49ers have a lot of wide receivers competing for limited opportunities. Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith are the starters, and with Vernon Davis and Reggie Bush on the roster, there will be fairly limited opportunities for other pass catchers. The team is likely to find some ways to get Bruce Ellington in the mix, and Quinton Patton is facing a big training camp to prove he belongs.
For all the rookie additions (and Chuck Jacobs), this means there are just not many opportunities to earn a roster spot, let alone get significant run at wide receiver. White and Anderson got the most publicity in the offseason workout program, but we'll have to wait and see what happens when pads are on and real hitting is happening. Maybe one of the other UDFA wide receivers steps up.
For purposes of 2015, most of them are competing for probably no more than two practice squad spots. A strong special teams showing could open the door for a roster spot, but they would need to show a lot, and hope more veteran special teams players struggle.
Odds of making the roster
Incredibly slim. Hull technically has a shot, but he is a longshot at this point. Of course, he did not sign with the team until after minicamp, so we have very little to base this on, other than the fact that he was an undrafted free agent. All of the UDFA wide receivers will be interesting to track come August. The third and fourth quarter of preseason games will be interesting to watch to see which of the receivers is able to make a name for himself.