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 done a fairly solid job in recent years adding defensive line talent through undrafted free agency. Guys like Ian Williams, Demarcus Dobbs, Mike Purcell, and Tony Jerod-Eddie have all earned roster spots after going undrafted. As awful as Jim Tomsula was as a head coach, his work with raw defensive linemen was really impressive.
The 49ers signed Jerod-Eddie as a UDFA in 2012. He was cut during final roster cuts that summer, but was re-signed to the practice squad. He was activated to the 53-man roster late in the season and played 10 defensive snaps nine special teams snaps in the season finale. He made the roster in 2013, and played 378 defensive snaps and 85 special teams snaps. Justin Smith and Ray McDonald were the starting defensive ends, with Glenn Dorsey serving as the nose tackle and general utility guy. Jerod-Eddie finished behind only those three in defensive line snaps. In 2014, Jerod-Eddie moved further up the depth chart due to various injuries. He and Quinton Dial were the primary utility guys behind Smith and McDonald, with Jerod-Eddie finishing with 420 defensive snaps, to Dial's 327.
This past year, however, Jerod-Eddie took a step back in snaps, even with Smith and McDonald both off the roster. Jerod-Eddie had 291 defensive snaps. Ian Williams and Quinton Dial each finished with over 640 defensive snaps. Arik Armstead was next with 375, followed by Glenn Dorsey with 353. Jerod-Eddie finished with 291 snaps, which was just ahead of Mike Purcell's 288 snaps. Additionally, when Dorsey went down, Purcell got some starting opportunities, while Jerod-Eddie remained a reserve option.
Jerod-Eddie entered restricted free agency this offseason. The team did not tender him a qualifying offer, so he was free to look elsewhere. He eventually signed a one-year deal with the 49ers worth $1 million, with I believe $300,000 in various incentives.
Why he might improve
I just don't see where improvement would come along for TJE. Any chance for improved playing time would be more likely to happen because some of the younger players are struggling. In terms of what he contributes on the field, I'm just not sure what he would improve. He's a capable player, but I feel like we've seen his ceiling.
Why he might regress
The 49ers have added DeForest Buckner and Ronald Blair to the depth chart. Glenn Dorsey seems to be making good progress, while Ian Williams remains a question mark. TJE is still relatively young, but he started trending the wrong way in the snap count last season. I actually think he has a relatively high floor, and is unlikely to really regress all that much. But his ceiling is low, so that leaves little in the way of upside.
Odds of making the roster
We saw his snap count go down last year, and then the team did not offer him the qualifying tender as a restricted free agent. His versatility and Ian Williams' injury open the door for some opportunities, but seeing Mike Purcell getting starting opportunities last year does not bode well for him. One minor upside would be the changing coaching staff. We don't know how they feel about Purcell. Trent Baalke has the final say on the roster, but the defensive line has always been a bit funky given Jim Tomsula's presence and ability to work with linemen.
My guess is Jerod-Eddie does not make the cut this year. He's one of many potential trade candidates, but I think odds are significantly higher he gets cut than traded.