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.
Eliminating players who never found their way onto the football field, second-year running back Mike Davis underwhelmed me more than any other San Francisco 49ers rookie in recent memory. Thrown into a situation where he's playing behind a hobbled Carlos Hyde, a hobbled Reggie Bush and multiple players signed off the street, Davis was asked to carry the football and pick up positive yardage behind an offensive line that didn't do much well, but was at the very least passable at run-blocking.
The transition from college to the NFL is a tough one for any player, but ask any coach and he'll tell you that running backs face one of the easiest transitions. Typically, if a rookie running back can nail down the concepts behind NFL pass protection schemes, then he will find his way onto the field and can generally be expected to take football from Point "A" to Point "B" as effectively as any other running back.
Davis did not do that. Davis was bad in his limited time and didn't once look like he belonged in the NFL. He played in six games, carrying the ball 35 times for just 58 yards, a per-carry average of 1.7 yards. This was with Shaun Draughn and DuJuan Harris taking meaningful snaps. It was just a terrible season, and all we can do is hope that it was just a steep rookie cliff he fell off of and that he will come back stronger and more prepared.
He is entering season two of his rookie contract. He will earn a $525,000 base salary, and have a cap hit of $642,195. He is signed through the 2018 season.
Why he might improve
The 49ers drafted Davis in the fourth round for a reason. Davis went before plenty of other running backs for a reason. They gave him 35 carries for a reason. It's easy to explain away his struggles as those of a rookie who wasn't ready for the task assigned to him. He wasn't supposed to see the field much at all. The offense he was playing in was a bad one from top to bottom so why should he succeed? The excuses are plentiful, even if none of them hit hard enough to explain away a 1.7 yards per-carry average.
Why he might regress
Regressing from this point would be his ticket out of the NFL. Permanently. But if Davis is simply not the right fit for the NFL, then he's not the right fit. That may wind up being the case. Maybe he struggles to pick up new offenses and new schemes right off the bat, which would explain his rookie season but would also hinder him as the 49ers shook up the coaching staff this offseason.
Odds of making the roster
Seeing Davis go either way wouldn't surprise me at this stage. I hope he turns out improving rather than regressing, but the 49ers drafted another running back and Chip Kelly will be very particular about who he takes into next season. I'd say he's got around a 60 percent chance of making the roster based on his draft positioning alone.