Good morning folks, today marks the beginning of a one-week countdown until the first practice of training camp. Of course, that means we’re rapidly approaching “-WOF” territory with some of our favorite bubble players. Whether they’re holdovers or recent additions, a lot of “depth material” players end up with devoted cult followings - with some of these fan clubs, perhaps, a little more vocal than others.
Recently, there was The General, the regrettable offseason that I thought MarQueis Gray would be the best ever, Okoye and Hayne, Do-it-all Dobbs, a logjam of the D’s at WR (DeAndre, DiAndre, Dres), there was Marcus Rush and his one-man cheerleading section, and, of course, the man/myth/legend himself, Korey Sheets. In case you didn’t know, FOOCH is an acronym for “Forever Obsessing Over Chad Hall”. As each offseason concludes, fan-favorite underdogs will end up departing, like clockwork.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
Richie James Jr., WR, Mid Tenn State: a small school guy with the size to play out of the slot. He’s an athletic marvel who moves like Russell Wilson in the open field, but who is closer to a project at the NFL level. I believe he has the talent, but faces an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster, despite being a draft pick - with Trent Taylor entrenched as a starter and Dante Pettis likely to see some looks out of the slot, that leaves James competing with veterans Aldrick Robinson and Victor Bolden Jr. for, perhaps, one spot. The most likely scenario is that the team tries to sneak him onto the practice squad, but I just don’t think he makes the journey. RJIOF.
Ronald Blair III, DL, Appalachian State: another small school guy who was the most dominant player on the field in FCS games. Drafted in the fifth round by the 49ers in 2016, he came into the league without a defined position. Despite the new regime switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3, there are still questions surrounding where he’ll play. As a career back-up for the 49ers, he’s flashed his considerable upside occasionally, but has been somewhat underwhelming in the general sense. I assume he’s going to make the 53-man due to his value as a rotational at multiple positions, but with roster spots seemingly at a premium, I’m preparing myself for the worst. RBIOF.
Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State: a priority free agent signing this year, McFadden is seemingly a perfect fit for this defense. He excels in coverage, and has the length desired for the system. However, there are a few roadblocks to him making it onto the final roster. First and foremost, he’s slow. An argument can be made that Richard Sherman (4.56) also had a poor 40 time, but McFadden’s (4.67) is nearing Anquan Boldin territory. Next, there’s maybe one spot left, and he’ll be competing with a pair of veterans (Greg Mabin, Tyvis Powell) who both have considerable flaws, but have the athleticism to continue contributing on special teams. Finally, I have a creeping feeling that the roster makeup will tilt the numbers game in favor of other options - if for whatever reason Richard Sherman is unable to go, and third round rookie Tarvarius Moore needs a year as a reserve to complete his transition to CB, the team might value veteran experience to McFadden’s upside. TMIOF.
Who are your “-IOF/-WOF” candidates?
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