I’m going to be completely honest here. I had no idea Antone Exum was on the San Francisco 49ers roster last year, nor did I know he actually started in a game. Well it’s true. He played in two games, started in one and provided some solid special teams value.
His career is a bit disappointing. Due to injuries during his 2013 season which included a torn ACL, his numbers due to lack of games played which in turn hurt his draft stock. In the 2014 NFL Draft, he was selected in the sixth round by the Minnesota Vikings. Had those injuries not held him back, he was looking at being a first or second rounder.
From there, he hasn’t been able to break the glass ceiling beyond special teams. His career beyond special teams, hit him with even more injuries that led to the Vikings releasing him in 2017. The 49ers picked him up in November and re-signed him in June for the 2018 training camp.
Exum probably won’t be on the 53-man roster to start the season, but the same scenario could play out later where he’s brought back. If he is placed on the roster, it’s either for some special teams depth or because something went horribly, horribly wrong with the lineup of safeties.
Experience: 2 accrued seasons
Weight: 213 lbs
He re-signed with the team in June of 2018 for a one-year deal. His salary is set at $705,000.
What to expect in 2018
Exum’s days of a developmental prospect are over and it seems like he won’t be doing much besides offering special teams help at best. As it stands, he’s coming to add competition during training camp with an already crowded group of safeties. Expect to not hear much besides his name being cut after his Game 4 preseason start.
Odds of making the roster
Exum was signed due to disaster with injuries to the safeties last year and did enough for the 49ers to bring him back going into training camp. I don’t see him going to the 53-man roster to start the season, but I do see him potentially coming back later in the season once an injury or two comes along.
Exum provides excellent special teams value but not much else. The 49ers have some good safeties with Jaquiski Tartt, Adrian Colbert, and Jimmie Ward in case of an emergency. That trio made it easier to let Eric Reid walk in the offseason (though he still could be brought back). Ignoring the money concerns (Reid would cost far more than Exum), if the 49ers didn’t need Reid, they definitely don’t need Exum in the safety position, and the special teams slot he could be going for is best left to one of the younger players.
Exum isn’t making this roster. He’s a Game 4 starter in the preseason. Though he may come back if the injury bug hits.