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49ers roster breakdowns, 90-in-90: C Daniel Kilgore

Breaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days). We move on to center Daniel Kilgore.

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.

Daniel Kilgore has had an interesting career with the San Francisco 49ers since they took him in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Kilgore, 28, at one point looked like he may never start and was destined to be cut a couple years into his career and was always considered “the other guy” for battles along the interior of the offensive line.

Originally a guard and now a center, Kilgore has begun to establish himself as a very good player. He holds his own against both power and speed rushers, and rarely misses his assignments. There may be times he looks better than he actually is because the guy who replaces him when he’s injured — Marcus Martin — is terrible, but Kilgore has looked like an above-average starter at the very worst in the past two seasons.

Unfortunately, he last played a full 16 games back in 2013. He played in just seven games in 2014, his best season actually blocking, and played in five games last year. He spent most of the season on the physically unable to perform list and when he returned to action the 49ers had injuries everywhere, including to Alex Boone on his left. They were rotating between Jordan Devey and Andrew Tiller at right guard, and Trenton Brown was getting time at right tackle.

It was a dire situation. Unfortunately, it could be a dire situation once again when the 49ers take the field in 2016. The line is expected to be poor again, with Joe Staley at left tackle being the most solid piece. But there is some optimism that Kilgore, fully healthy and not with over a dozen months of rust on him, will again showcase top-flight ability and make the line at least passable.

Basic info

Age: 28
Experience: Sixth season
Height: 6’3
Weight: 308 lbs

Cap status

Kilgore has two years remaining on his contract and has modest cap hits for the next two seasons. He has a base salary of just $900,000 this season and $1 million the following season, counting just $1.35 million against the salary cap in 2016. His cap hit rises to a totally modest $1.58 million for 2017.

Why he might improve

Kilgore is healthy, with a long offseason to rest. Most importantly, Kilgore actually managed to get on the field late last season. One could not even imagine the rust on him if he didn’t manage to return last year and instead missed almost two years. No, he found his way onto the field and that’s going to do wonders for him when the regular season gets underway. He should excel in Chip Kelly’s blocking scheme and won’t have Jordan Devey next to him. That’s improvement already.

Why he might regress

Then again, Kilgore is 28 years old and he’s been injured an awful lot over the course of his career. He continues to suffer injuries and if he gets hurt again ... well, that’s regression. He’ll be losing Alex Boone on his left side and that could hurt things quite a bit but again, he won’t have a literal hologram on his right anymore, so that’s a positive. I honestly feel like the only way he actually regresses is if he’s not actually healthy.

Odds of making the roster

Kilgore will be a starter this season and if he plays at even an average level, the 49ers will be quick to offer him a contract extension. His spot on the roster is safe, even if the 49ers have so many question marks on the offensive line.