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49ers roster breakdowns, 90-in-90: DL Ronald Blair

Breaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days). We move on to rookie defensive lineman Ronald Blair.

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 most notable draft pick this year was defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, but they further beefed up the defensive front with the fifth round selection of Appalachian State defensive lineman Ronald Blair. He dominated lower level FBS competition, and will look to build on that heading into his rookie season.

David Neumann put together an extensive scouting report on Blair (linked below), pointing to him as the 49ers day three pick most likely to make an impact. He sees him best suited as a rookie for an interior pass rush role in the sub packages. He is not the biggest option inside, but David likes his ability to shoot gaps and beat double teams.

Scouting reports

Was the first of three fifth round draft picks (142nd overall) in this year’s draft out of Appalachian State University. He started all 51 games in which he appeared in for the Mountaineers and registered 221 tackles, 21.0 sacks, 53.5 tackles for loss, four fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles, one interception and two passes defensed. In 2015, Blair was named Sun Belt Conference Defensive Student-Athlete of the Year and First-Team All-Sun Belt after tallying 71 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 19.0 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one interception in 13 starts. As a junior, he was a Second-Team All-Sun Belt honoree and notched 43 tackles, 6.0 sacks, 13.0 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery and one pass defensed in 12 starts. In 2013, Blair started two games and recorded seven tackles, 1.0 sack, 1.5 tackles for loss and one fumble recovery before receiving a medical redshirt. As a sophomore, he was named First-Team All-Southern Conference as he started all 12 games and registered 60 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss and one fumble recovery. In 2011, Blair earned NCAA Division I FCS Freshman All-America honors from the College Sports Journal and was a Southern Conference All-Freshman Team honoree after starting all 12 games and tallying 40 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one pass defensed. A 23-year old native of Greensboro, GA, Blair attended Greene County High School in Greensboro.

Basic info

Age: 23
Experience: Rookie
Height: 6’4
Weight: 270 lbs

Cap status

Signed four-year rookie deal with $270,404 signing bonus. His 2016 base salary will be $450,000, and his cap hit will be $517,601.

What to expect in 2016

This is going to be an interesting decision for the 49ers. I decided to do Blair today after reading Matt Barrows’ column ranking the 49ers position units. In discussing outside linebackers, he included Blair, not giving him a mention in the defensive line.

It will be interesting to see if Blair, a fifth-round pick who in the spring was a defensive line-edge rusher ‘tweener, spends more time on the edge this summer due to Lynch’s suspension.

It would appear the 49ers disagree with David’s assessment that Blair is better suited inside. I did notice one interesting thing in preparing this 90-in-90. Blair is listed at 49ers.com as weighing 270 pounds. At the NFL Combine and at his Pro Day, he was listed at 284 pounds. At that heavier weight, the interior of the line could make sense. But if the 49ers have had him lose some weight, he could be better suited for a role on the edge. If that’s the case, we could see him in the pass rush rotation those first four games.

Odds of making the roster

He is all but guaranteed of making the roster. The question remains what kind of role does he have out of the gates. If the team had him lose weight, he would seem to be focused on a pass rush role. We’ll find out more once Sunday arrives and the team hits the practice field.