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How do you grade 49ers waivers addition Sheldon Day?

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Time to grade every 49ers roster addition from the 2017 offseason. Today, we look at defensive tackle Sheldon Day.

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams

The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up the 2017 season and have begun their work to prepare for 2018 free agency and the draft. We’ll be breaking down plenty of what that means, but in the meantime, we wanted to take a look back at the season that was for the 49ers. Jimmy Garoppolo capture our imagination, but the 49ers rebuilding process was extensive last year. We are going to take a look at every notable addition and provide a forum for grading how that signing, trade, or draft pick worked out.

Sheldon Day, Defensive Tackle
How acquired: Claimed on waivers November 20Cap breakdown

Day was an All-American defensive tackle at Notre Dame and a fourth round draft pick for Jacksonville in 2016. But after a strong showing in OTAs, he hurt his back in training camp and missed three preseason games. He ended up playing only 203 defensive snaps all year (18.9 percent).

Last season, Day played in six of the first eight games on very deep defensive line as the Jags jelled into the NFL’s toughest D. He notched three tackles, a sack and and a pass breakup, but Jacksonville released him on November 18th when WR Dede Westbrook came off of the injured reserve list.

Day will still get a share of the Jaguar’s playoff money — already $51,000 — since he was on the team for eight games. He’ll get another $56K if they get to the Super Bowl, and twice that if they win it.

Houston, Arizona and Detroit also put in claims on the waiver wire, which makes sense for a young, talented DL with high character and intelligence, agile feet and plenty of toughness (check out this hit on Leonard Fournette, who doesn’t get trucked very often). The Niners, picking second, got dibs.

It was a good fit since 49ers DC Robert Saleh — who saw Day up close as Jacksonville’s 2016 LB coach — was installing the same defense in San Francisco. Day was also familiar with the three AFC South teams — Houston, Tennessee and Jacksonville — that the Niners faced during the rest of the season, as Matt Barrows noted.

Clearly, Day turned around the entire season for the 49ers, since they went 5-1 after he joined the team. (That Garoppolo guy might have helped a little, too.)

For reals though, Day made an immediate mark as a versatile DL backup, playing 40-50 percent of snaps, and was consistently stout against the run. He started the final game against the Los Angeles Rams after DeForest Buckner got injured, and ended up with 5 tackles, a sack and 2 tackles for loss.

At only 23, Day has significant upside, extra experience in this defensive scheme, and two years left on his rookie contract. With plenty of other needs to fill, it seems likely he’ll be the team’s backup 3-technique behind Buckner unless a better player falls into their lap.

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Poll

How do you grade the Sheldon Day waiver claim?

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    A
    (1053 votes)
  • 42%
    B
    (865 votes)
  • 5%
    C
    (114 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (13 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (12 votes)
2057 votes total Vote Now