Training camp will be here in a matter of days for the San Francisco 49ers. As we get closer, we will roll out the ranking of the 90-man roster, much like we did last year. This year, myself and the Niners Nation staff ranked the players individually, so there was no group think involved. Knowing that this is subjective, there wasn’t much criteria for this. Positional value goes without saying, but this will include everything from talent to ceiling. There’s no one way to do this, so I left the door open for the guys to interpret themselves.
We’ll start with 90-81. This is mostly practice squad candidates and camp fodder, but a couple could surprise us. You never know, and that keeps drawing us back to this sport every year. So without further ado, let’s get into it. I’ll add in the high, low, and my ranking, like Fooch, in years past.
90. Jon Brown, K (High: 77, Low: 90, KP: 90)
Brown went from having a chance to at least prove himself worthy and audition for other teams during the preseason, to be a complete afterthought once Robbie Gould signed his deal. Tough luck for Brown, but this is the type of business we are in. We are also talking about a backup kicker.
89. Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, S (High: 72, Low: 89, KP: 76)
Flannigan-Fowles is a UDFA out of Arizona, where he started at safety for three years. The reason I had him so high is more of a reflection on the health of the safety position. He could be in the first round of cuts, and that wouldn’t be a surprise. At 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, Flannigan-Fowles has good size. He’ll have to show off some range and aggression if he wants to make the roster.
88. Wesley Johnson, OL (High: 72, Low: 88, KP: 72)
Like Flannigan-Fowles, Johnson was higher on my list for injury purposes. Johnson has also lined up as both a guard or a center, so versatility might keep him around longer than a guy that can only play one position. Johnson has played about a seasons worth of snaps throughout his four-year career.
87. Daniel Brunskill, OT (High: 74, Low: 87, KP: 77)
If Brunskill were standing in my face, I wouldn’t be able to tell you who he was. A few of us were higher on him strictly for positional value. The majority of the staff doesn’t believe he’ll be around long.
86. Wilton Speight, QB (High: 67, Low: 90, KP: 86)
Speight had more “90” votes than anyone besides Brown. The 67 saved him. In college, Speight never really did anything to separate himself from the pack. Calling him a “middling quarterback” would be a compliment. He did do enough to warrant a spot at training camp, though. He will have to impress to earn a spot on the practice squad.
85. Mark Nzeocha, LB (High: 38, Low: 85, KP: 75)
Nzeocha has spent the last two years with the Niners after being drafted in 2015 by the Dallas Cowboys. Nzeocha is known as a Special Teamer. That’s when he’s been on the field the most. Judging by the voting, the staff seems to like him, or at least appreciate Nzeocha. A couple of votes in the ‘80s and mine placed him here.
84. Cedric Thornton, DT (High: 64, Low: 84, KP: 84)
Half of Thornton’s votes were 84. Thornton signed with the 49ers, then announced his retirement from the NFL after six seasons less than a month later. Then, on April 15 of this year, he came out of retirement. Thornton has played as a 3-4 defensive end the majority of his career. He would play the “3-tech” and “big end” in Robert Saleh’s defense. Sitting out a year of football makes it tough to rank him higher than this.
83. Colin Holba, LS (High: 69, Low: 89, KP: 84)
The other long snapper. He will be on the roster for at least six more games while Kyle Nelson serves the rest of his suspension.
82. Azeez Al-Shaair, LB (High: 41, Low: 89, KP: 89)
I’m the grinch, apparently. It’ll be tough for the UDFA to make the team. Coming off an ACL/MCL injury. I’ve already pushed all my injury hopes into the Jason Verrett pool. Al-Shaair is Florida Atlantic’s all-time leader in tackles. You don’t fake your way into that. His scouting report says he plays small.
81. Austin Walter, RB (High: 64, Low: 90, KP: 87)
The Niners signed Walter after a tryout back in May to fill their final roster spot. Walter is coming into a tough situation. He would have to make the roster due to injury or stand out to the point he makes a Special Teamer like Raheem Mostert expendable. The odds of that happening aren’t very good. Walter does have a chance to prove that he is talented enough to stash on the practice squad, though.