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 inside linebackers this year, and the only addition to the position came with UDFA Wynton McManis. The team is comfortable with Gerald Hodges and Michael Wilhoite competing for the starting ILB position. One question that might be up for debate is if someone like Shayne Skov might be able to work himself into the mix.
The 49ers signed Skov as part of their 2014 UDFA class. He was released at the end of that year's training camp, and then signed to the practice squad. He was released from the practice squad two weeks later, and signed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad. He was released a month later, and signed back with the 49ers practice squad on November 11, 2014. He spent the remainder of the season on the practice squad, and then signed a reserve/future contract with the 49ers after the season.
Skov made the 49ers roster out of training camp and served primarily on special teams. He finished the season with 341 special teams snaps, and eight defensive snaps. He played in 15 of the team's 16 games. The exception was Week 13. He was waived on December 5 to make room for the returning Daniel Kilgore. The 49ers played the next day, and Skov was re-signed to the roster on December 8 when the team placed Garrett Celek on injured reserve.
Skov is entering the final year of a two-year contract. His base salary and cap hit are $525,000. If he plays out the season and does not sign a contract extension, he will be an exclusive rights free agent after the season. If the 49ers tender him, that means he can only re-sign with them. It is the step before restricted free agency.
Why he might improve
He's got two seasons in the NFL, and one full season on the 49ers 53-man roster under his belt. He turns 26 this summer, so he's right about in his physical prime. The 49ers have a new defensive coordinator and new inside linebackers coach. That's not to say he was definitely held back under the last coaching staff, but he has a chance to make a new impression.
Why he might regress
The biggest concern is injuries, as he had multiple knee surgeries in college. It is possible he is looking at a career as a specialist, with a limited ceiling if he was an every down linebacker. That's not a bad thing, but if he does not return to pre-injury form, that would seem to be what he is looking at.
Odds of making the roster
I would think any player who has been primarily a specialist will face slightly longer odds under a new coaching staff. They might have guys they prefer in the special teams role. A new coaching staff brings with it more speculation than clear knowledge. My guess is he makes the roster, but considering the team was willing to cut him late last season, I would say he is strong bubble rather than lock.