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.
I was going to jump back to the offensive of the ball with our 90-in-90 today, but some OTA news got me thinking we could do Marcus Cromartie's breakdown. On Wednesday, Matt Barrows reported Cromartie was getting some reps at safety, alongside Jaquiski Tartt.
The 49ers have added numerous cornerbacks over the past year and a half, and Cromartie has flown under the radar. He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent, and while he has not made a huge name for himself, he has had some bright spots in limited action.
Cromartie started his career with the San Diego Chargers, signing with them following the 2013 NFL Draft. He was released in 2014 and spent a brief period with the Cleveland Browns practice squad. The 49ers signed him to their practice squad on November 18, 2014. He was subsequently promoted to the 53-man roster on December 13.
The following summer, the 49ers cut him at the end of training camp, and he signed to the practice squad. He spent eight weeks on the practice squad, and was promoted in Week 9 following numerous injuries at the position. He got a start in Week 9 against the Atlanta Falcons, and got significant snaps in Week 11 (after a bye week) against the Seattle Seahawks.
Cromartie played 59 defensive snaps in Week 9. Pro Football Focus gave him a +1.8 overall grade, and a +1.1 coverage grade. They had him giving up three receptions on five targets, for 33 yards, with one pass deflection. In Week 11, he played 47 defensive snaps. PFF gave him a -0.8 overall grade, and a -0.9 coverage grade. They had him down for one reception on two targets, for eight yards, with one missed tackle.
Cromartie signed a two-year contract when he was promoted from the practice squad last season. He is in the final year of that deal, with a base salary and cap hit of $600,000. If he makes the roster and plays out this contract, he would be an exclusive rights free agent next spring.
Why he might improve
He's entering his fourth year in the NFL, and he got his most extensive playing experience to date last year. He wasn't spectacular, but he did some good things. The fact that he is getting some practice time at safety could be a plus. If he can develop some positional versatility, it could get him a little further along.
Why he might regress
Versatility is nice, but that requires mastering that position, or at least showing significant improvement. The coaching staff has some tape on him now, so we'll have to see if that's a plus or a minus. He's still young, but as a UDFA, there just might not be enough.
Odds of making the roster
The numbers is tough at several positions, which might explain why he is trying to learn safety. I'll be going through practice squad eligibility later, but I believe he has two seasons used up already. Teams can bring on a player to a third year but if a roster spot clears, that player must be signed to the 53-man roster or released. That would seem to foreclose that option for the time being. I think his chances are less than 50 percent given the current shape of the roster, and might be more around 25 percent right now. He is definitely "weak bubble" for purposes of the bubble watch.