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 absolute best thing that can be said about offensive lineman Zane Beadles is this: he starts a lot of games. Beadles, the only significant free agent signing by the San Francisco 49ers this offseason, has started all 16 games in every season he’s played save for his rookie year, when he didn’t start two of them.
Coaches for the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars have felt, at the very least, that Beadles was their best option to slot into one of the five starting spots protecting their quarterbacks.
At times, Beadles was an excellent defender. In 2012, he was named to the Pro Bowl with the Broncos and the Jaguars considered him worth of a five-year, $30 million contract prior to a poor 2015 campaign. He was released by the Jaguars after he failed to succeed in their new blocking scheme. He was also dealing with a foot injury that set him back quite a bit.
Beadles went from a player who was considered above average to below average, and his decline was severe. He allowed a ton of pressure last season, more than he’s allowed in basically the rest of his seasons combined.
But Chip Kelly will be running a zone-blocking scheme, or at least something close enough to what Beadles has found success in at this level. He’s also healthy, or purports to be, and the 49ers are looking at a player who has played every snap in 79 of 80 regular season games over the past five seasons.
A capable run blocker and an above-average pass blocker at his best and a sub-par pass blocker who allowed more than his fair share of pressure at his worst, Beadles is a question mark. He’s not as good as Alex Boone, or at least doesn’t have as high a ceiling as Boone did. But his floor might just be high enough — again, if he’s healthy — to make him a decent starter.
Experience: Seventh season
Weight: 305 lbs
Beadles signed a three-year, $9.75 million deal with the 49ers this offseason. It included $3.3 million guaranteed, with a cap hit just over $2.6 million in 2016. His contract isn’t huge ... he’s being paid something just below an average starter, or someone who has a lot to prove.
Why he might improve
Beadles dealt with an injury last season, and went through a blocking scheme change that obviously didn’t work out for him. He’s going to be in a more familiar scheme in Kelly’s offense, though, and will be playing next to one of the best left tackles in the league, provided he starts where he’s expected. Improvement should be expected.
Why he might regress
Honestly, for as down as people can be on Beadles, there isn’t a whole lot of reason to think he might regress. Obviously, if he hit a wall last season and is just entering a period of decline there’s no real way to predict that. He had an injury, he was in a bad blocking scheme for his skillset ... but I suppose he could still not be fully recovered, and I suppose there is no guarantee he’ll be a perfect fit in Kelly’s offense.
Odds of making the roster
I don’t know if Beadles will be better or worse than he was a season ago, but he’s not going anywhere, at least not this season. He’s going to start, whether it’s at left guard or right guard or even somewhere else. There’s no chance he’s not on the roster, even if somehow he winds up being a backup.