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 are making several changes to their offensive line in 2016, and had two fairly high profile additions. The team’s most notable free agent addition was guard Zane Beadles, and the team also traded up into the end of the first round to draft guard Joshua Garnett. Those two are expected to bookend Daniel Kilgore, but the big question remains at right tackle. Erik Pears spent most of last season at right tackle, but eventually moved to guard when Alex Boone got hurt. That got seventh round pick Trent Brown some big playing time late in the season.
The 49ers were fairly active in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft. They dealt their original pick for Jonathan Martin, and acquired another one in the Cam Johnson trade. They dealt that one to the Cowboys for a 2016 sixth round pick. They then added a seventh pick when they moved up to draft Bradley Pinion in the fifth round. The seventh round pick was finally used on Brown.
Brown earned a roster spot out of training camp. He was active every single game, but was a DNP ten of the first 13 games. Once Boone got hurt, Andrew Tiller moved to left guard, and Erik Pears moved from right tackle to right guard. Brown moved into the lineup, and was the starting right tackle for Weeks 16 and 17.
James Brady discussed Brown in his rookie review post back in February. I agree with James in terms of the positive uses of physicality and strength. Brown was a rookie so it is no surprise he was inconsistent. I went back and watched all his snaps in those two starts. There were times he dominated his man, and there were times he ended up on his butt, or saw his man blow past him. There were several instances where knowing specific assignments would clarify things, but there were also instances where we can say with 99 percent certainty that he was beaten by his man. I don’t say 100 percent, because there’s always the slim chance his assignment impacted things in a way in which we do not know.
Experience: 1 accrued season
Entering second year of four-year rookie contract. He will earn $525,000 in base salary, and have a cap hit of $538,973.
What to expect in 2016
Through the offseason workout program, Brown was working primarily with the second team offensive line, while Pears was with the first team. Early in the program, conditioning was a problem for Brown. This will be critical if he is going to earn significant playing time. I think he can surpass Pears and becoming the full-time starting right tackle in 2016, but it’s hard to know what to make of his conditioning for training camp. If Pears wins the job, Brown is likely competing with John Theus and Fahn Cooper for the swing tackle role.
Odds of making the roster
He does not have quite the athleticism one would want for Chip Kelly’s offense, but there is talent there. He can move around for a big man, and if he can get his footwork improved, it would be a big help. I don’t think he is guaranteed a roster spot, even with his two starts late last season. I’ve currently got him listed at strong bubble. I think he is on the stronger side of that, but he is not a lock yet. I’m really curious to see what the first two weeks of training camp bring in terms of his spot on the depth chart and his conditioning in practice leading up to the first preseason game.