Despite only playing in the NFL for one season, cornerback Greg Mabin had already been on two rosters before signing with the 49ers — Tampa Bay and Buffalo. Mabin appeared in one game for Buffalo, but was waived soon after and signed by the 49ers to their practice squad.
Mabin clearly impressed sufficiently to earn a promotion to the 49ers’ active roster. He appeared in six games, “earning” snaps coming in for Dontae Johnson as the 49ers sought to relieve the beleaguered corner from time to time. Now Mabin finds himself in a far more competitive cornerback room with a fight on his hands to make the 53 man roster.
Experience: 1 accrued season
Weight: 200 lbs
Mabin enters the final year of the two year contract he signed with the 49ers, carrying a cap hit of $555,000 without a dead cap hit. After this season, if he remains a 49er, he will become an exclusive rights free agent.
Why he might improve in 2018
When Mabin did see the field, he showed himself to be a sufficiently capable but un-flashy option at corner. Most notable was his performance against the Texans, where he replaced Dontae Johnson and helped the 49ers’ defense shut down De’Andre Hopkins, albeit with a significant amount of inside help. Mabin can do a job, but he also showed he was raw and needed considerable development before he could be relied upon to execute consistently at outside corner in the 49ers’ scheme. A full offseason in the 49ers’ scheme could be all he gets to show sufficient development, but evidence is that he has one or more believers on the 49ers’ coaching staff.
Why he might regress in 2018
The big knocks on Mabin coming out were fears about his athleticism and lack of ability to make plays on the ball. Given the way the 49ers’ corners often find themselves isolated outside, these could be major barriers to Mabin’s long term viability in this scheme. That could take him out of the reckoning for game day snaps, especially with Jimmie Ward moving to corner. Furthermore, a lack of athleticism can also be a problem for special teams, a crucial part of a bottom-of-the-roster defensive back’s toolkit. With the competition for spots at safety likely to be hot, and the arrival of über athlete Tarvarius Moore as a developmental corner, the number of spots available for a back up corner with average to below average athleticism could well be none existent.
Odds of making the roster
Given he has shown something, Mabin finds himself a strong bubble to make the roster. Richard Sherman’s Achilles, Jimmie Ward’s injuries and Tarvarius Moore’s inexperience at corner all mean that Mabin is probably a necessary insurance policy who the coaches trust to go out and execute a plan.