No. 5: Defensive End Ronald Blair
Defensive end Ronald Blair appeared to be on pace to be one of the few gems from Trent Baalke’s recent draft classes.
His rookie season, Blair registered three sacks and 11 tackles in limited action.
San Francisco 49ers
What made Blair special in college was his unique pass-rush ability. But while the sack totals are decent enough to suggest a strong shot for a role in 2017, one also has to factor in Blair’s pass-rush grade from Pro Football Focus — 50.5.
That’s not good enough to guarantee a spot on the roster this season.
And it’s more complicated, given the Niners pickups of defensive ends Solomon Thomas and Pita Taumoepenu in this year’s NFL Draft, along with EDGE Elvis Dumervil and nose tackle Earl Mitchell in free agency.
With the remaining defensive line cast, Blair will be competing for the back end of San Francisco’s depth chart. Perhaps he has a shot to make the 53-man roster, but staying around beyond this season is going to be a tough climb.
If Blair manages to flash some promise over this season in a reserve role, he could find himself in a position to stick around through this rebuild.