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.
Kendall Gaskins was an undrafted back out of Richmond in 2013, but after brief stints with all of the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans and New York Giants, he joined the San Francisco 49ers in 2014. He has been with the 49ers off and on since then.
Originally a practice squad member before being promoted due to injuries last season, Gaskins has had little playing time in the NFL. He’s appeared in nine games for the 49ers, running the ball 16 times for just 38 yards, a per-carry average of just 2.4 yards. He has also caught eight passes for 69 yards.
He hasn’t had a heavy workload and he hasn’t done much with his few carries in the NFL. Then again, last season he was running for a bad team with a bad coach and bad quarterbacks. Being a running back for the 49ers last season meant carrying the ball to help the clock tick down to zero so everyone can go home.
The 49ers have been reluctant to let Gaskins go. They waived him around draft time to make room for undrafted free agents, but brought him back shortly after with a two-year contract. That contract doesn’t pay much, but it shows that Gaskins is at least a credible threat to make the roster next season depending on how the various running back battles shake down.
I’d like to hope that Mike Davis is not a lock, but if he is, then Gaskins is competing with the likes of Shaun Draughn, DuJuan Harris and Kelvin Taylor for one or two roster spots. Both Draughn and Harris looked better than Gaskins last season, and both have showed more in the NFL. Then again, both are a bit older if that happens to be a factor at all.
Having a firm opinion on that particular running back battle has eluded me thus far. I have no idea who will win it and I have no idea who Chip Kelly does and does not like. But Gaskins seems to have as good a shot as anybody else, for what it’s worth. I’m just not certain there’s any reason to be excited.
Experience: 4th season
Weight: 238 lbs
Gaskins signed a two-year deal with the 49ers this offseason. That deal is worth $1.155 million over two seasons, with minimal cap hits of $525,000 and $630,000 over the next two seasons. His contract is not a concern at this point.
Why he might improve
Gaskins is clearly somebody that someone likes in the 49ers’ front office. Even with a new coaching staff, Gaskins got a new two-year deal and I have to assume that means somebody thinks he has what it takes. Is he a good fit for Kelly’s offense? He might just be, and at 25 years old he has plenty of room for improvement. A battle with some other veteran backs is in the cards and if Gaskins can win that, then he could certainly improve.
Why he might regress
Then again, Gaskins has done little with his carries in the NFL. He’s only had a handful but he did nothing but take those carries and do nothing ultimately productive with them. He failed to convince three other teams that he was worth keeping around before he found himself with the 49ers, and that could be telling. He was not drafted and I don’t think there’s much film do be excited about. Regression is possible.
Odds of making the roster
The guys that Gaskins will ultimately face for a roster spot — be it Davis, Harris, Draughn, Taylor and anybody else — do not inspire a ton of confidence. There are some here who like Taylor a lot and that’s fine, but beyond him I don’t see a ton to be excited about with those other guys. Still, part of me thinks that Gaskins is the odd man out and I can’t see him on the roster next season.