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 drafted Rory "Busta" Anderson in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft, following the fourth round selection of tight end Blake Bell. Anderson had dealt with numerous injuries in college, particularly to his triceps, but was healthy heading into training camp. He finished the preseason with four catches for 50 yards and a touchdown. He made it to the final round of roster cuts, but then was unexpectedly placed on injured reserve.
The 49ers have red-shirted multiple players in recent years, but they usually are under the NFI label. Those players do not get to take part in practice during training camp, and then must sit out the early part of the season. Anderson was recovered from any college injuries, and IR is used for an injury that takes place with the team. Teams have been known to use IR to stash young players, and I would not be surprised if the 49ers used it on Anderson to avoid having to slip him through waivers with final roster cuts. If he cleared waivers he could have signed to the practice squad, but all 31 teams would have had an opportunity first to claim him.
Here is a look back at scouting reports on Anderson prior to the draft. He is fast for a tight end, and there is some thought that he would do well as an h-back that is used in several spots, whether it be in-line, split out, or in the backfield. Injuries were a big concern coming out of college.
He is entering year two of his four-year rookie contract. He will earn a base salary of $450,000 if he makes the team, and will have a cap hit of $463,196.
What to expect in 2016
The 49ers did not add any tight ends in the draft, and the closest they came in undrafted free agency was the signing of wide receiver Devon Cajuste. The team extended Garrett Celek, while Vance McDonald heads into the final year of his deal. Suffice to say, there are opportunities for Anderson to earn a roster spot. If he makes the roster, Anderson could be a dynamic weapon in the passing game. I don't think he's going to become the leading pass catcher or anything like that, but at 6'5 244 pounds, I have to think he's the kind of guy Chip Kelly could have some fun with in his offense. McDonald might be the starting tight end, but I really think if Anderson is healthy and makes the roster, he could be a fun weapon to watch.
Odds of making the roster
He's got the size Chip Kelly likes, and the 49ers don't exactly have a lot of options wow'ing at the tight end position. I think part of my assessment is just wanting to see that kind of size on the team, but I think he's got a better than even chance of earning a roster spot. With his combination of size and speed, he would seemingly be able to contribute on special teams. He only had six total special teams snaps last preseason, so we'll have to see what the new special teams coaching staff has to say about him. But if he can contribute on special teams, it would be a big boost for his roster chances.