Each offseason, we like to run a series of articles here on Niners Nation called "90-in-90." In the post, we take a look at 90 players (or so) on the San Francisco 49ers' 90-man roster throughout the offseason and what we can expect of them the following year. We take a look at their expected impact, whether or not they'll make the roster and things of that nature. For rookies, we're going back and looking at how we did with those posts.
We're just about through the 49ers rookies at this stage of the series. I personally took a look at Eli Harold, Jaquiski Tartt and Mike Davis -- they were the players I paid the most attention to and had the most hope for -- but there is one more player that I really zeroed in on last season: offensive tackle Trenton Brown.
I actually wrote the 90-in-90 post on Brown and notably, I spent an awful lot of time talking about his size. I called him a large boulder of a man and I referred to him as a raw player who knew how to use his leverage well. That's important for a tall offensive linemen -- the ability to actually manager and utilize one's size.
When it came to talking about his expected impact for 2015, I didn't pull any punches though: Brown wasn't guaranteed a roster spot. The 49ers had a battle going on at guard and center, Alex Boone was switching positions and there were already versatile backups on the roster. I thought there might not be a place for him on the roster, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Brown make it.
I was NOT pleasantly surprised to see Brown sit on the sidelines while Erik Pears started several games and completely made a fool out of himself and offensive line play as an actual concept.
Brown played in just five games as a rookie, starting two of them due to injury and I thought he looked OK for the most part. He looked like a rookie who was thrown in there before he was ready, but he also still utilized his strength and other assets and looked good doing it, I thought.
Still, as far as comparing expectations to what actually went down ... I think it was all a pleasant surprise. I was high on Brown's physicality and ceiling, but I expected the team to carry him on the practice squad for awhile. They thought he was worth carrying on the main roster, and he even started a couple games.
If he spends a full offseason working hard, then the 49ers could have a dependable starter -- maybe even on the interior if Anthony Davis is back -- or a good swing tackle. Either way, I think things went positively for Brown last season.