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 season, a lot of people were hoping to see Tank Carradine see the field as the third defensive end after Justin Smith and Ray McDonald. That didn't wind up happening, and Carradine had just 146 snaps all season. Smith and McDonald both had over 700 snaps, while Tank was fourth with his number. In third place was Tony Jerod-Eddie.
I'll admit that, at the time, I didn't really know much about Jerod-Eddie, and I was pretty disappointed to see him get the nod. Everything I did know led me to believe he was mediocre or at the very least, had a very low ceiling. But Jerod-Eddie had the confidence of the coaches, and I imagine a lot of that had to do with a strong grasp of the playbook and solid showings in practice. Meanwhile, Carradine was still learning after missing his rookie season due to injury.
Jerod-Eddie, an undrafted free agent in 2012, has played in all but one game over the past two seasons and put up 48 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. He doesn't have any particular strengths from what I've seen watching film on him. He's one of the last players I'm doing in the 90-in-90 series (along with Shareece Wright on Sunday), because I didn't feel comfortable evaluating him without going back and doing some more homework on him.
I watched all of his snaps in games in which he had at least 20 snaps, including the two games he started in Week 16 and Week 17. In those games I couldn't find anything worthy to call out as a strength, though I did see plenty of weaknesses. Jerod-Eddie isn't great at setting the edge, and he was one of the weaker aspects of San Francisco's run defense last season.
He got ran over big time against the Denver Broncos, the San Diego Chargers and the second time the 49ers played the Arizona Cardinals. I thought his worst games were the two he started at the end of the season. Looking over at Pro Football Focus, he had negative grades for all of those games, and many others. He ranked 61st among all defensive ends in run stop percentage and 37th in pass rushing productivity. He graded out as the worst 49ers defensive lineman and it wasn't even close.
So why did he start over Carradine? I think Carradine was still raw, and didn't have the confidence of the coaches. Part of me believes that Carradine's upside and athleticism should have been enough for him to get the start over a guy who had a negligible impact on the field, but clearly the 49ers felt differently. This season, Carradine should be given every single opportunity to make sure Jerod-Eddie doesn't get the starting nod over him. If Ian Williams and/or Glenn Dorsey are healthy, then I imagine Quinton Dial will also push Jerod-Eddie.
Why he could improve:
Jerod-Eddie is still young, and I suppose there's always a chance the 49ers expected to get more out of Dial or Carradine at the end spots last season, which could have led to Jerod-Eddie playing before he was really ready for it. At 25 years old, Jerod-Eddie has plenty of room to prove the doubters (myself included) wrong, especially if he adapts well to Eric Mangini's system.
Why he could regress:
Over two seasons of rotating into the starting lineup, Jerod-Eddie has a decent sample size for us to go by and I don't think that's shown well. Learning a new system could be a big issue, and there are young, hungry guys with higher ceilings just waiting to make him expendable. Based on what we saw last season, there's not a lot he can do on the field to regress, but not playing at all would certainly qualify.
Odds of making the roster:
I'm not sure San Francisco has the depth to make a guy like Jerod-Eddie particularly expendable. No, he's not going to light up opposing offenses, but he is technically one of the most experienced guys on that unit, and the only two defensive linemen who played more snaps than him at end last season are both gone. He has his value from the coaching staff, even if I'm not his biggest fan. I'd say there's about a 75 percent chance he makes the roster next season.