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2016 49ers 90-man roster ranking: players 80-71

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We begin the countdown of our 49ers’ roster ranking today, looking at players ranked 80-71. We’ve got some roster darkhorses in the mix here.

The San Francisco 49ers are a week and a half away from the start of training camp, which means the downtime is just about set to come to a close. While we prepare for that, I came across a fun idea over at our Packers blog, Acme Packing Company. They had five of their writers rank out the team’s entire 88-man roster (indeed, they still have two spots available), and come up with a composite ranking. You’ll be stunned to learn that Aaron Rodgers finished in first place.

I spoke with ten of our contributors, and we each put together our rankings of the 49ers entire 90-man roster. It was a blind ranking, with each person submitting their rankings to me. I then created a composite ranking, which will be revealed over the next nine days, ten players at a time. After that is complete, I will post the individual rankings, along with comments from each voter on any particularly notable high or low ranked players. The voters included myself, Pat Holloway, James Brady, Tracy (49ersfangirl), Billy from the Nuggets, Jason Hurley, Greg Valerio, Oscar and David from Better Rivals, Alex Rubenstein who does video work for SB Nation, and Jennifer Chan.

Since this is entirely subjective, I did not provide a specific framework for voting. I simply told them to factor in injuries and the Aaron Lynch suspension, and figure it out from there. This could shuffle around plenty between now and the team’s final roster cuts. And so, here are the first ten.

80. Colin Kelly, OL (High: 61, Low: 84)

The 49ers signed Kelly out of the CFL, with a $65,000 guarantee on his first year salary. He’s gotten second team tackle work, but also got some center work in OTAs. The 49ers have a lot of competition at right tackle and swing tackle. He’s a darkhorse in that regard, but the guaranteed money would seem to guarantee him at least a spot on the practice squad if he impresses in training camp.

79. Jason Fanaika, OLB (High: 52, Low: 85)

The 49ers signed Fanaika as a UDFA out of Utah following the 2016 NFL Draft. He received $50,000 in guaranteed money, split between a $15,000 signing bonus and $35,000 in a salary guarantee. The 49ers OLB situation got more interesting with Lynch’s suspension. It likely means Corey Lemonier or Marcus Rush could secure a roster spot, but Fanaika and Lenny Jones have at least seen their chances increase a little bit.

78. Bryce Treggs, WR (High: 38, Low: 89)

The 49ers signed Treggs as a UDFA out of Cal following the 2016 NFL Draft. He received an $8,000 signing bonus. He got work at returner alongside Bruce Ellington, and anytime a UDFA can get work outside of their regular position, it’s a good thing for them. I suspect part of the reason is to mitigate the injury risk Ellington might face returning kicks and punts in the preseason, although I don’t think that’s the only reason.

77. Thad Lewis, QB (High: 53, Low: 89)

The 49ers signed Lewis to a one-year deal this offseason. He has bounced around the league since 2011, ending up in Philadelphia last September. Trent Baalke is in charge of personnel, but I would be surprised if Chip Kelly did not have some input into this decision. Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert are competing for the starting job, with Lewis and Jeff Driskel on the outside looking in. Lewis is on the shorter side, but scouting reports see a guy who can read defenses well. He strikes me as a journeyman who will get cut, but a lot could depend on what Driskel can do in his mop-up work.

76. Kendall Gaskins, RB (High: 56, Low: 86)

The 49ers signed him back in 2014 and he spent time on the practice squad that season and part of last season. He was promoted to the active roster after Week 7 due to numerous running back injuries. He saw limited work, but was active the final nine games. He was released this offseason to make room for UDFAs, but was then re-signed after Jarryd Hayne retired. He’ll get carries in the preseason, but I would not be surprised if he was part of the first round of roster cuts.

75. Alex Balducci, OL (High: 53, Low: 85)

The 49ers signed Balducci as a UDFA out of Oregon following the 2016 NFL Draft. He received $57,500 in guaranteed money, split between a $12,500 signing bonus and $45,000 in a salary guarantee. He played defensive line in college, but the team is converting him to offensive line. He got center snaps in OTAs, then got some additional work at guard. Players and coaches have been impressed, saying he does not look like a guy playing offensive line for the first time since high school. He got the most guaranteed money among the 49ers UDFAs, so the practice squad would seem to be a strong likelihood if he cannot earn a roster spot.

74. Prince Charles Iworah, CB (High: 45, Low: 86)

The 49ers spent a seventh round pick on the Western Kentucky product. He’s viewed as a raw cornerback who is incredibly athletic. He did not participate in the NFL Combine, but his Pro Day numbers would have been among the best at the Combine. I don’t know if he can climb up the cornerback depth chart, but his athleticism would be ideal on special teams. That would seem to be his best chance at a roster spot.

73. Marcus Rush, OLB (High: 53, Low: 89)

The 49ers signed Rush as a UDFA out of Michigan State last season, and he spent the full season on the practice squad. He was undersized coming out of college (6’3, 251 pounds). He’s certainly not a small man, but the 49ers OLBs have played at or above 260 in recent years. The Lynch suspension changes things dramatically for Rush in his second season. Tank Carradine is likely the primary backup, but could Rush impress and supplant Corey Lemonier?

72. Busta Anderson, TE (High: 58, Low: 81)

The 49ers spent a seventh round pick on Anderson last season. He is viewed as an athletically gifted tight end who can get down the field in a hurry. However, injuries have been an issue with multiple triceps tears and a hamstring injury in his career. He ended up spending the season on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury. The 49ers have bodies ahead of him on the depth chart, but he is an intriguing darkhorse at the position.

71. Chris Davis, CB (High: 42, Low: 87)

The 49ers signed Davis to the practice squad in early November last season, and then quickly promoted him to the active roster. He was active for three games and inactive for five games. This offseason he spent the workout program getting a lot of work as the slot corner with the first team nickel defense. It caught me off guard, but the team might see something in him. We’ll see if he sticks in the role early in training camp and into the first preseason game.

81-90
81. Darren Lake, DT
82. Jered Bell, S
83. Garrison Smith, DT
84. Demetrius Cherry, DL
85. Blake Muir, OL
86. Je’Ron Hamm, TE
87. Wynton McManis, ILB
88. John Lunsford, K
89. Lenny Jones, OLB
90. Norman Price, OL