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49ers 90-in-90: OG Najee Toran

Breaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days). Today is offensive guard Najee Toran.

UCLA was one of the more pass-happy teams in 2017 and quarterback Josh Rosen needed an offensive line to give him time to throw the ball. There’s not much out there on Najee Toran. Little is listed on his draft profile, and he also is listed as a defensive back (I’m guessing that’s a typo).

As a player, Toran began moving around both sides of the ball. He was a backup defensive lineman as well as offensive lineman. He took the starting role his junior year and later would start every game his senior year.

For a guard, he’s got some nice measurables. In the limited film I watched, I saw an anchor. He did fairly well pass-blocking against USC. The only two real concerns were his hands being a bit grab-happy and his upper body bending against more powerful defensive linemen. When the Bruins ran the ball, I didn’t see as much balance as I would have liked (there’s one play in the aforementioned USC game where he falls forward in a run-block), but when one-on-one during blitzes he wasn’t awful. As a pass blocker, he could thrive in Kyle Shanahan’s system, as a run blocker, there just wasn’t enough I saw to say either way—especially when it’s run blocking for the Bruins offense. Overall, this guy could fly in under the radar with enough development and give some great depth to the offensive line.

The 49ers may have found a diamond in the rough. There’s a guard competition with some veterans in training camp this year, and he’s definitely the odd man out as a UDFA, but Toran could be someone to watch. There’s not much bad or good said about him, but for an offensive lineman, that could work in their favor. Let’s see what John Lynch and Shanahan saw when they picked him up.

There are a couple interviews where Toran talks about his upbringing in Houston, Texas and dealing with the flood last year. There’s also a nice interview from Gridiron Crew before the 2018 NFL Draft commenced. Finally, he did an interview with the Nothing But Niners podcast.

Basic info

Age: 22
Experience: Rookie season
Height: 6’2
Weight: 305

Cap Status

Is in the first year of a three-year UDFA deal. His salary for 2018 pays him $480,000.

What to expect in 2018

The more I watched Toran, the more I thought he could have a chance in Kyle Shanahan’s system. The 49ers guard positions are up for grabs and while he has some stiff competition ahead of him, he might show some things in preseason to merit a backup job. Toran does need development, which makes a thought that he’s going to hit the practice squad for a year. I think the 49ers can manage that, but if I’m not crazy and other people see what I’m seeing during the preseason, he may not make it that far—someone may put him on a roster. He’s not going to come out guns blazing this year, but he’s a good project to have.

Odds of making the roster

The 49ers have a wide open guard competition with two of the Laken Tomlinson, Joshua Garnett, and Jonathan Cooper trio being heavy favorites. Nothing is set in stone with any of those guys and neither is it for the other guards they brought in, or those competing for the swing tackle role. As a rookie, Toran not only will need to develop athletically, but he’ll need to get accustomed to Kyle Shanahan’s playbook which is going to be a beast for a rookie to learn. Toran’s got an uphill battle to make the roster this year, but hopefully he shows enough to stick around. This kid has a chance to be something, but just not this year.