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49ers roster breakdowns, 90-in-90: Safety Vinnie Sunseri

Breaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days). Today: SS/ST Vinnie Sunseri

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

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.

There are not a lot of Italian-American players in the NFL, but Vincent Salvatore “Vinnie” Sunseri is one of them, continuing in the elite tradition of QB Joe Flacco and, uh, let’s see, fellow DB Sabatino “Sabby” Piscitelli, now wrestling in WWE’s developmental NXT league under the name “Tino Sabbatelli.”

Sunseri was on Alabama’s 2011 and 2012 national championship teams but has struggled to get on the field since then, largely due to injuries. He played only six games for the Crimson Tide in 2013 before tearing his ACL, but was still drafted by New Orleans in the 5th round, perhaps because he had two pick-sixes in those few games.

Sunseri played on special teams in 9 games of the 2014 season before breaking his arm against the 49ers on a kickoff, then spent all of 2015 on the IR list after another knee injury in the Saints’ final preseason game.

He was on the Patriots’ practice squad until October 24th last year, then the Niners practice squad until Eric Reid tore a bicep. That got him promoted to an active roster for the first time in two years, and he ended up with 16 defensive snaps and 131 on special teams by the end of the year. Sunseri had a total of six tackles in 2016 (four solo) and no other statistics.

Basic info

Age: 25 (turns 26 on October 26, 2017)
Experience: 3 accrued seasons, 15 total games played
Height: 5’11
Weight: 210 lbs

Cap status

2017 Base salary: $615,000
Bonuses: zero
Savings if cut: $615,000

What to expect in 2017

Sunseri is a coach’s son and showed leadership ability as well as sufficient athleticism at the highest level of college football. Even if he is fully recovered from his injuries, though, his ceiling in the pros is probably special teams stalwart.

Odds of Making The Team

The coaching staff probably would have released him if they didn’t like something about his game, but Sunseri will have tough competition even in the special teams/backup DB role. To survive, he’ll have to beat out the likes of Lorenzo Jerome, Chanceller James, and CB Prince Charles Iworah — all younger and healthier players — as well as athletic veteran DB/ST ace Don Jones.

Sunseri will get the chance to make his case in training camp, but it’ll be very tough. I’d put his odds at ten to twelve percent.