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 have drafted a host of "ACL All Stars" the last three seasons, and Keith Reaser is probably the one who has flown most under the radar. The 49ers spent a fifth round pick on Reaser in 2014. He suffered a torn ACL midway through his final season at Florida Atlantic, costing him the final six games. He then had to have a second ACL surgery due to the graft being rejected. He likely would have missed pre-draft workouts anyway, but that was a big blow to his draft positioning.
Reaser spent the 2014 season on the NFI list, and then joined the 49ers roster in 2015. He played 79 defensive snaps and 38 special teams snaps. He was inactive for two games, and a DNP in a third game. Reaser was viewed as a potential slot corner option. Jimmie Ward has had the "starting" slot role locked down, but there was room in the dime for more opportunities. Reaser got in a little bit, but he simply did not make the kind of impact in year two for which we might have hoped.
He heads into year three over two full years removed from his ACL surgery. The 49ers added Will Redmond and Rashard Robinson, opening the door to even great competition at cornerback.
He is entering year three of his rookie contract. He will earn $600,000 in base salary, and has a cap hit of $641,200. He spent all of his rookie season on the NFI list, which means he will be a restricted free agent when his contract expires after the 2017 season (barring a contract extension).
Why he might improve in 2016
Barring anything off our radar at this point, he is about as healthy as he is going to get. He had incredible speed before the injury, so if he can get back to pre-injury form, that would be huge for making an impact on this defense. Will Redmond could very well end up being the guy who is the No. 2 slot corner, but his knee remains a question mark. He is getting into individual drills, and he and Trent Baalke have both said he will be ready. But his status is still a question mark until we hear he has been fully cleared. That leaves an important door open for Reaser to get some additional work.
Why he might regress in 2016
He's a bit on the shorter end, at least for 49ers cornerbacks. The team lists him at 6'0, but he measured in at 5'10 and a half at the Combine. It's not a huuuuge difference, but the 49ers might look to get a little bigger at the position. If he gets back to his game-breaking speed from pre-injury, he's got a better shot, but I am not all that sure where his speed is at right now.
Odds of making the roster
The 49ers added two cornerbacks (Will Redmond, Rashard Robinson) all but certain to make the roster, and a third (Prince Charles Iworah) who is an athletic freak. That is not exactly a vote of confidence for Reaser. Dontae Johnson has the length that should be enough to net him a roster spot and potentially a starting job. Kenneth Acker has the extensive experience from last season. In my post-draft roster projection, I actually had Reaser making the roster of Acker. Although they do some different things, those two could be competing for no more than one roster spot. The 49ers could keep six cornerbacks (excluding Jimmie Ward), but given Ward's versatility, the team might go one less to shore up another position. Reaser is on the bubble.