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49ers 90-in-90: P Jeff Locke

Breaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days). Today is Punter Jeff Locke.

The San Francisco 49ers need to practice against not just right footed punters but left footed ones as well as it can affect ball placement. Jeff Locke fulfills the latter being a lefty. Of course, the 49ers also have Bradley Pinion as their designated punter and he’s played decently, especially with the large body of work he was handed given past 49ers offenses tendencies to punt.

So what is Locke? Well, he’s a left handed/footed punter. That’s really all I can say on this one. He’s a lefty, and that may be the only reason he was brought to training camp. He had a nice few years with the Minnesota Vikings, setting a team record on average net punt yards, but he hasn’t been able to stay put anywhere since the conclusion of the 2016 season.

Basic info

Age: 28
Experience: Four accrued seasons (2017 he played five games with the Detroit Lions)
Height: 6’0
Weight: 207

Cap Status

He is signed to a one-year deal that pays $790,000

What to expect in 2018

At one point, Locke could have been a decent prospect. He holds the Vikings record for longest average net punt in a career at 38.9 yards. Unfortunately, besides that record he hasn’t done much else. Given that he’s bounced around the league since leaving the Vikings, he’s becoming a yearly camp body at best. He could find a role on a punter-needy team (like he did in 2017 for the Detroit Lions), but that’s not going to happen here on the 49ers. At least, not while they have Bradley Pinion on the roster. Locke will be booting left handed punts to help the return team get experienced with southpaw kickers and that will be that.

Unless Bradley Pinion were to put himself out of commission, Locke will be cut before the 53-man roster is made official. On that note, him playing with the 49ers at training camp will be helpful if he is brought back to help special teams in an emergency. This is actually a plausible scenario as punters don’t jump around the league as much as, say, a wide receiver would. So maybe he comes back if Pinion goes down, but don’t count on it.

Odds of making the roster

Not happening. Unless Pinion were to regress horribly and Locke started to show a golden leg, he’s a camp body helping the return teams get acclimated with a left-footed punter. Maybe you’ll see him in Game Four of the preseason. I say maybe, because perhaps the backup 49ers offense won’t need to punt that game.