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.
In the post-draft free agency period, the 49ers signed the former Ravens and Broncos pass rusher Elvis Dumervil. A former Louisville Cardinal, Dumervil was drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL draft, despite receiving a significant number of individual honors in his final year of college. His college productivity transferred to the NFL, despite fears about his size, and he has undoubtedly been one of the most consistently effective pass rushers of the last decade. Whilst his longevity must be lauded, 49ers fans will be hoping he continues to be productive a little while longer, as his two year contract represents a reasonable investment from the 49ers. This does demonstrate the team’s belief that he can continue to be a productive player.
Worryingly, a major reason that Dumervil hit free agency was that he spent a significant portion of last season unavailable due to having Achilles surgery in the offseason, surgery to an injury that Dumervil has stated is commonly a career ender. Upon his return, he appeared in eight games, starting three, and recorded 11 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles - serviceable numbers in limited playing time. Just being serviceable was probably a small personal success, though highly unlikely to satisfy Dumervil and certainly not the kind of productivity that will get 49ers fans drooling over the prospects of Dumervil being a specialist pass rusher for the 49ers this season.
We can nevertheless see that Dumervil came on strong in the last few weeks of the season, as his recovery from injury progressed further and he returned to something closer to his pre-injury physical condition. In the final five weeks of last season, Dumervil ranked sixth among all edge rushers with 22 pressures forced from the left side according to PFF. Having had an entire offseason to further recover, the prospect of a continuation of this sort of productivity suddenly makes Dumervil considerably more appealing as a 49er.
Experience: 11 accrued seasons
Dumervil signed a two-year deal worth $8 million. He received a $1 million signing bonus, with an additional $500,000 in base salary fully guaranteed. He has a $750,000 roster bonus in each of the two seasons.
Why he might improve
Dumervil is not going to put up career highs at this stage, and a mere continuation of his form in Weeks 13-17 last season would be extremely useful to a team that has failed to consistently pressure the opposing quarterback over the past two seasons.
His pass rushing tools and awareness are extremely polished and his explosiveness was still evident last season. The former two attributes were beautifully demonstrated by a pair of his sacks last season, when he cleanly beat the opposing tackle with textbook hand usage to get to the quarterback. If his tools result in regularly applied pressure on passing downs then he will have fulfilled his role on this defense. Six to eight sacks would be nice, especially if he can combine them with a few forced fumbles to earn the 49ers a few more turnovers.
Why he might regress
Time waits for no man and even though Dumervil showed his quality at the back end of last season, he is certainly not the player he was two or three years ago. The longer term effects of that Achilles injury are yet to have fully revealed themselves and if his explosiveness takes a hit, then it is unlikely that even his superb technique will help him play at the level both he and the 49ers will want. His success will be measured entirely by his ability to generate pressure, where he will have to retain his (albeit diminished) explosiveness to continue to threaten as an edge rusher.
Odds of making the roster
Dumervil is highly likely to make the roster if he is anywhere close to the levels that he attained in the last five weeks of the 2016 season. If he struggles however, the 49ers will likely move on and give a younger player a chance to become the 49ers’ specialist pass rusher. Nonetheless, there is a notable lack of depth below Dumervil which only increases his chances of making the 53-man roster. His presence on the roster and in the defensive line room alone should have a positive impact on the 49ers young players.