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 loaded up on tight ends this offseason, and now head into the regular season with eight on the roster. They signed Garrett Celek to a one-year deal, signed Derek Carrier to a 2-year extension, and then drafted Blake Bell in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, and Busta Anderson in the seventh round. After a 2014 season that saw the unit ravaged by injuries, the team is clearly hoping to add some serious depth to the position.
Anderson saw his draft stock slip this year due to a pair of torn triceps. Anderson tore his triceps muscle in one arm last spring, and then torn the triceps muscle in his other arm last October. He is viewed as a potential H-back, with solid initial burst, and a guy who can get down past linebacker. The concerns center on his size for blocking, his top end speed for getting down the field, and his hands. It appears he is viewed as a bit of a tweener.
All indications are that he was able to take part in the offseason workout program, so he should be able to go into training camp completely healthy. Here are a few scouting reports on Anderson:
What to expect in 2015
If Anderson is able to earn a spot on the roster, he would of course have to stand out on special teams. But in terms of offensive impact, it is a tough one to figure out. Vernon Davis tops the depth chart, and all indications are that Vance McDonald will be the No. 2 tight end. With Derek Carrier, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell firmly in the mix, traditional tight end work would be limited. The H-back role is something that could allow for some creativity in the offense, and at some point, Anderson could very well emerge as a Delanie Walker type of option.
In reality, I expect the team to try and slide him to the practice squad in 2015. After the draft, I thought they might look to get him on the NFI list given the October triceps injury. However, it is my understanding that he took part in the offseason workout program. By doing that, he would no longer be eligible for the NFI list for his previous triceps injury.
Odds of making the roster
I'd say the odds are slim given the two-year extension for Carrier and the drafting of Bell. Anderson could potentially fill a slightly different role than those two, but the roster crunch is real. One issue in assessing his odds is that we don't know enough about offensive scheme changes to know if they will look to create an expanded H-back role for him. And that assumes he is ready for such a role in the NFL. It all adds up to practice squad at this point, but we'll see what the first couple weeks of training camp bring.