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 added considerable defensive line depth this offseason, and that is going to make life rough for some of the team's under-the-radar returning linemen. The 49ers drafted DeForest Buckner and Ronald Blair, and signed Darren Lake and Demetrius Cherry. For guys like Tony Jerod-Eddie, Kaleb Ramsey, and Garrison Smith, that adds a degree of difficulty to their roster chances.
The 49ers have had Garrison Smith under contract dating back to December 2014. Smith entered the NFL with the Miami Dolphins as a 2014 undrafted free agent. He was part of training camp roster cuts and then spent five days on the Dolphins practice squad from September 1-6. The Dolphins released him from the practice squad, and he eventually joined the New Orleans Saints practice squad from November 27 to December 16. The Saints released him and he signed with the 49ers practice squad on December 23. He finished out the season on the 49ers practice squad, and then signed a reserve/future contract with the 49ers. He was waived at the end of roster cuts, and then signed with the practice squad. He spent the entire season with the unit.
Smith got some mixed work last preseason. He played 20 defensive snaps Week 1, 24 in Week 2, 6 in Week 3, and 26 in Week 4. Here are a few pre-draft scouting reports on Smith from 2014. He was viewed then as a bit undersized, lacking some of the strength necessary to be any kind of every-down lineman. However, they do see him as a guy with some speed and agility, and he can potentially play several roles.
Experience: Parts of 2 seasons in NFL; 1 practice squad season, no active roster seasons
Weight: 300 lbs
Signed reserve/future contract following 2015 season. If he makes the team, he will have a two-year contract. He would have a base salary and cap hit of $450,000.
What to expect in 2016
If he were to make the roster, it would likely be because Ian Williams ends up on the PUP list to open the season. If Williams is only going to miss a game or two, he would not go on the PUP list, and that extra roster spot would likely not be there for Smith. If Smith made the roster, he likely would be inactive as long as Mike Purcell was healthy.
Odds of making the roster
They are not particularly great, but it will depend in part on how Ian William recovers from his knee injury. His best shot is likely on the practice squad. He has been in the NFL for parts of two seasons. He has only used up one year of his practice squad eligibility, having spent all of 2015 on the 49ers practice squad.
In 2014, he was on the Dolphins, Saints, and 49ers practice squads for approximately four games. The NFL practice squad rules require a player be on a practice squad for at least six games for it to count as a season of eligibility. Prior to 2014, the rule was three games. If a player has two years of practice squad service time, they can only be on a practice a third year if the team has a full 53-man roster. That means if a team releases a player to sign someone else, they either have to promote the practice squad player or release him from his contract.
And so, that means Smith has a decent chance at the practice squad. He is likely competing with Darren Lake and Demetrius Cherry for one or two defensive line spots on the practice squad.