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 began rebuilding their defensive line depth last year with the selection of Arik Armstead in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. This year, the team invested even more in the unit. They drafted DeForest Buckner in the first round and Ronald Blair in the fifth round. They then also signed Demetrius Cherry as an undrafted free agent.
The focus will be on Buckner and Blair, while Cherry looks to compete for a practice squad spot. He was a rotational player at Arizona State, finishing his senior season with 19 tackles, 3.5 for a loss, a half sack, and two pass deflections. There are not a lot of scouting reports out there, but the one I did find pointed to a player with good size, but with some limited burst.
Saw action in 25 games (8 starts) over two seasons at Arizona State and registered 37 tackles, 3.5 TFLs and 0.5 sacks. In 2015, appeared in all 13 games (2 starts) and recorded 19 tackles, 3.5 TFLs and 0.5 sack. As a junior, played in 12 games (6 starts) and finished with 18 tackles. In 2013, redshirted and contributed on the scout team. Prior to Arizona State, played two seasons at Contra Costa (San Pablo, CA) College, where he registered 55 tackles, 8.5 TFLs and 8.0 sacks. Attended Oak Ridge (NC) Military Academy, where he recorded 92 tackles and 4.0 sacks in 2010. Born 6/21/92 in Frostproof, FL.
Weight: 297 lbs
Cherry signed a three-year UDFA contract, receiving a $2,500 signing bonus. If he makes the 53-man roster, his base salary would be $450,000, and his cap hit would be $450,833.
What to expect in 2016
His best chance to make the 49ers roster is on the practice squad, where he can develop his technique for 2017 training camp. If he made the roster, I suspect he would be inactive most games, but the practice squad seems most likely.
Odds of making the roster
Very slim at this point. However, the Glenn Dorsey and Ian Williams injuries at least open the possibility of earning a spot on the 53-man roster. It would still be an uphill climb for Cherry. Quinton Dial, Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, and Mike Purcell would be front runners for time in the team’s base defense. Then we have to add in Ronald Blair, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Kaleb Ramsey, Garrison Smith, and Darren Lake. Smith and Lake are likely to focus on nose tackle, but even without those two, there are a lot of bodies in front of Cherry.