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 surprised a lot of fans in the 2015 NFL Draft when they selected Jaquiski Tartt with their second round pick. And it was even more surprising consider the 49ers selected Jimmie Ward in 2014, one year before. The pick was sold to fans that Ward would assume the nickel role his rookie year, but Tartt was sold as essentially being the same type of player. Long-term, there was the thought that one would eventually take over a safety role and now, it appears to be Ward. And, here we are in 2017, with no clear role for Tartt. Or, maybe there is.
Experience: 2 accrued seasons
Weight: 221 lbs.
Tartt is entering year three of his rookie contract. He is scheduled to make $792,910 in base salary, plus a $100,000 workout bonus. His cap hit includes a $480,821 proration on his signing bonus. He has a total cap hit of $1,373,731. In 2018, Tartt is set to make a base salary of $1,021,865, with a $100,000 workout bonus. His total cap hit would be $1,602,686.
Why he might improve in 2017
Tartt was a small-school prospect out of Samford, but he brings serious size to the field. He stands 6'1 and weighs 221 pounds, making him the biggest defensive back on the roster. Tartt was a stand out in college and arguably has some great hard hitting hi-lights in the league that garner respect by any merit. At the same time, 49ers fans have awaited and hoped his breakout season would be forthcoming. We all expected it and we are still waiting.
However, the previous scheme had Tartt way off the ball, covering wideouts. In the new scheme, run by Saleh, it potentially enables him to play closer to the line of scrimmage. If he comes into the box on defense, his presence as the eighth man will enable him to cover tight ends and running backs — which is his strength. Additionally, it will allow him to help in run support, which will lead to the success of the 4-3 defense.
As a side-note: Tartt ended up at Samford primarily because he did not start playing football until late in his junior year of high school. He played basketball the first three years of high school, but in the spring of his junior year, players at his school convinced him to try football. One of those friends was Jimmie Ward.
Why he might regress in 2017
His weakness against the run tends to come when he comes from a deeper position. When this happens, he sometimes can over-pursue or fail to set his feet to make a textbook tackle. He can sometimes miss the tackle, which could lead to more yards after contact. Such problems could be minimized if he is closer to the line of scrimmage.
Additionally, Tartt will have to adjust to a new scheme. And, being pretty inexperienced to competitive football, he might find it hard to adjust. Tartt sometimes has poor tackle technique. He needs better technique and should not focus on making the big hit. He needs to pursue better and stay in his pursuit lane, without distraction. Tartt needs to keep moving. If he stops, he has a tendency to stop and lunge and/or reach for tackles. Against speedier or shiftier backs, it could lead to missed tackles. Tartt simply needs to establish greater consistency in this area in order to utilize his physicality in the secondary.
Odds of making the roster
Solid. For one thing, Tartt is a standout on special teams and considering special teams account for 20 percent of all downs, it is not something to be taken lightly. Additionally, he has shown through his physicality that he can make the big plays. At the same time, he needs coaching and needs to learn techniques from veteran players to make it to the next level. With the raw talent he has, there is no reason he cannot improve.