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 you get the idea.
The San Francisco 49ers did not draft any OLB pass rush options this year, instead looking for DeForest Buckner to bring more of that on the line. The 49ers pass rush should improve in 2016, and one player to keep an eye on is Marcus Rush. The 49ers signed him as an undrafted free agent last year, and a strong training camp/preseason earned him a spot on the practice squad.
Here is a rundown of his college years, along with some scouting report links from last year when he was coming out of college.
A four-year letter winner at Michigan State, started a school-record 53 games at defensive end where he registered 163 tackles, including 37.5 TFL 16 passes defensed, 18.5 sacks and added two blocked kicks on special teams. Was an All-Big Ten honorable mention selection in each of his four seasons at MSU. In 2014, started all 13 games at defensive end and registered 37 tackles and a career-high 7.5 sacks. As a junior, 14 games (13 starts) and ranked third on the team with 5.0 sacks. In 2012, registered 38 tackles and 2.0 sacks. As a freshman, was named Big Ten Freshman Defensive MVP by ESPN.com, as he ranked first among Big Ten freshmen in sacks (4.0) and TFL (12). Redshirted in 2010. Received his bachelor's degree in advertising in December of 2014. Attended Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati, OH) HS where he was selected Great Catholic League South Co-Athlete of the Year after leading the conference in sacks (11), as a senior. Also finished second on the team in tackles (70) and added two interceptions. Born 6/19/91 in Cincinnati, OH.
He is entering year two of a three-year contract. He will earn a base salary of $450,000 if he makes the team.
What to expect in 2016
His size (6'2, 247 at Pro Day) was a negative, and was one of the big reasons he slipped. Another big issues is age. He was 24 last offseason, and will turn 25 this summer. For a guy who only has one year under his belt with the 49ers, he is getting up there in age. However, the 49ers did not add any notable pass rushers to their OLB depth chart. Ahmad Brooks and Aaron Lynch are the starters, with Eli Harold as the primary utility guy. Tank Carradine will focus on edge rusher work, with Corey Lemonier and Marcus Rush competing against the UDFA additions. I don't think Rush will get a second year on the practice squad given that he will be 25. I think he ends up getting released, but I think this is going to be a tough bubble decision. If he does make the roster, my guess is he would be inactive a decent amount, but would still get a decent amount of snaps over the course of the season. This defense is going to need bodies.
Odds of making the roster
I would say less than 50 percent. I would imagine Brooks, Lynch, Harold, and Tank are all set to make the roster. That could maybe leave one more OLB spot if Tank focuses primarily on edge rusher work. Lemonier has special teams experience, and he is actually five months younger than Rush. But if they think they can get more out of Rush as a pass rusher, maybe he gets the nod. My post-draft roster projection had just the four pass rushers, but that could be a spot for some wiggle room.