Don’t expect Alex Barrett on the 49ers’ 53-man roster in 2020.
This, because the Niners still boast a deep and talented defensive line heading into training camp and the upcoming season. And while a number of names departed, including defensive tackles DeForest Buckner and Sheldon Day, there are still far too many names above Barrett on the depth chart to suggest he has a strong chance.
But what is there to know about Barrett heading into his first offseason with San Francisco?
For starters, he joined the league as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and signed with the Detroit Lions, giving him some experience with now-49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek. Barrett then spent the better part of his first two years at the pro level on Detroit’s practice squad, appearing in two games his rookie season. He spent 2019 camp with the Oakland Raiders before being waived prior to the start of the regular season.
San Francisco signed him to its practice squad in November of last year.
The 6-foot-2, 250-pound defensive end put together a nice collegiate career at San Diego State, though, amassing 18 sacks over his four-year campaign, including 7.5 his senior year.
|*2013||San Diego State||MWC||FR||DL||7||8||7||15||5.0||3.0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|*2014||San Diego State||MWC||SO||DL||10||21||18||39||9.0||3.0||0||0||0||2||0||1|
|*2015||San Diego State||MWC||JR||DL||13||31||27||58||12.0||4.5||2||53||26.5||1||0||0||2|
|*2016||San Diego State||MWC||SR||DL||14||29||24||53||13.0||7.5||0||0||0||4||0||0|
|Career||San Diego State||89||76||165||39.0||18.0||2||53||26.5||1||6||0||3|
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Those efforts haven’t translated over to the NFL level, though, meaning Barrett projects to be little more than a camp body this upcoming season.
Is there room for improvement, though? Of course, and Niner Noise breaks down a possible route for how in our latest “Who Is?” installment.
Why Alex Barrett Improves with 49ers in 2020
Reuniting with Kocurek could give Barrett a slight leg up over some other depth players along San Francisco’s defensive line.
In some ways, Barrett could also benefit from the 2019 ACL tear suffered by fellow defensive end Ronald Blair, who re-signed with the Niners during the offseason yet could still be brought along slowly, potentially giving the former additional looks with the second team during training camp.
Another player with whom Barrett could be compared is defensive end Damontre Moore, who had himself a budding career that seemingly came out of nowhere.
Given the added chances in camp, and if Barrett seizes each opportunity, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to see him a dark-horse addition to the back end of the roster.
Why Alex Barrett Regresses with 49ers in 2020
Barrett doesn’t exactly have the ideal size for a 5-technique end and can easily be overworked by bigger, stronger tackles and guards. While Barrett can win with his speed — he ran a 4.97 40-yard time at his pro day in 2017 — the lack of size and functional strength could hurt here.
So could the fact the Niners already boast a sizable crop of defensive linemen and edge rushers. In addition to Blair, EDGE Kerry Hyder could take away camp snaps from Barrett on the back end of the depth chart.
There are plenty of other names, too, and it’s going to take a near-superhuman effort from Barrett to work his way into consideration.
Chances of Alex Barrett Making 49ers’ 53-Man Roster
Simply put, Barrett is a long shot at best right now.
Yes, as was the case with Moore, there are sometimes those feel-good camp and preseason storylines coming up with players who were otherwise unheard-of commodities. But it’s important to acknowledge they’re rare.
What’s most likely the case for Barrett is him being a fourth-quarter contributor during the first three preseason games, possibly playing out the second half of the final exhibition bout before Week 1. A strong camp could earn some added playing time and looks, potentially increasing his stock value. But with Barrett hitting his fourth year, practice squad eligibility is no longer an option.
It’s highly likely Barrett will be one of those cut just ahead of Week 1.