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.
Kapri Bibbs was part of a puzzling but intriguing draft day trade by the 49ers, as they received a 2017 fifth round pick (with whom they drafted receiver Trent Taylor) plus Bibbs in exchange for a 2018 4th round pick. Much of the intrigue surrounding Bibbs’ arrival was due to GM John Lynch’s supposed inside knowledge on the little-known running back, through his relationship with Broncos GM John Elway. As such, a not unreasonable assumption was made that Bibbs would be in for a slightly larger role in San Francisco than he had in Denver.
Bibbs has one major highlight in his NFL career so far - a 69 yard catch and run for the Broncos against the Raiders last season. His yards per carry last season was serviceable (4.4), but he has shown little in the NFL to suggest that he is going to set the world alight in the Bay.
Nevertheless, if you look at his college career, Bibbs flashed some legitimate next-level potential. In his only season at Colorado State after transferring from Front Range Community College, Bibbs rushed for a school record 1741 yards and joined Barry Sanders and Montee Ball as the only players in NCAA history to rush for 30 touchdowns in a season (Bibbs had 31).
Experience: Four accrued seasons
Bibbs has a cap hit this season of $615,000 and will count nothing against the cap if he is cut. Next season, Bibbs will be a restricted free agent.
What to expect
As one of six new faces that has joined incumbent starter Carlos Hyde and RB/KR Raheem Mostert in the running backs room in San Francisco, Bibbs will have to do a lot to differentiate himself from his competition. He is neither the fastest nor the most powerful, the best goal-line back nor the best pass catcher, but he has demonstrated decent attributes in multiple areas required of an NFL running back.
His versatility gives him a chance to fill in for Carlos Hyde and one has to assume that part of the thinking behind Bibbs’ trade was the similarities between the two as players. Hyde is the more athletically gifted and talented but Bibbs could be a solid pick-up due to his aptitude for zone running. Optimum Scouting actually compared him to Alfred Morris coming into the draft and Bibbs has many of the same strengths that Morris displayed as a runner under Kyle Shanahan in Washington: Decisiveness, lateral quickness to make his cut, a powerful leg drive through contact and an underrated manoeuvrability once he gets to the second level. His abilities as a pass catcher and pass blocker further increase his attractiveness as a member of a running back committee.
Nonetheless, his athletic abilities are below that of much of his competition. Kyle Shanahan’s known preferences for versatility aside, Bibbs’ lack of athleticism could well see the 49ers prefer the more explosive but rawer abilities of rookie Matt Breida (for the purposes of this, Joe Williams is considered a lock for the roster and not competing with Bibbs for a spot).
Odds of making the roster:
Other than Raheem Mostert and Tyler McCloskey, Kapri Bibbs is probably the longest shot to make the 49ers roster. He is undoubtedly incredibly versatile and could probably land on another NFL team that has less depth at RB, but the quality of Carlos Hyde, Kyle Juszczyk and Tim Hightower as well as the potential of rookies Joe Williams and Matt Breida probably means that Bibbs fails to make the 53 in San Francisco. This is no indictment of Bibbs, but represents the improvement in the running back room from last season.