It’s the longest of long shots for Jake Brendel to make the 49ers roster
After all, Brendel had bounced around the league a bit ever since signing with the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent after going undrafted in the 2016 NFL Draft.
The Cowboys released him later that year, and he eventually signed with the Miami Dolphins’ practice squad and eventually made his way onto the active roster, spending three full seasons in Miami and even starting three games in 2018.
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Injuries hindered his time in Miami, which moved on early in 2019, and Brendel subsequently signed with the Denver Broncos that year but didn’t make the regular-season roster. When the Baltimore Ravens lost veteran center Matt Skura to a season-ending injury last year, Brendel was the first player called to replace him on the roster. But that stint only lasted a few days before the former UCLA Bruin was cast off back to the ranks of free agency.
So, if you’re wondering if Brendel has a legitimate chance to make the 49ers roster in 2020, you’ll have to strongly consider the context around him and the Niners offensive line this offseason.
Why Jake Brendel improves with 49ers in 2020
There’s always something to be said about players bouncing around from team to team, and this should be taken in a positive light.
At 27 years old, Brendel is no longer a young and developing player, yet there have been suitors for his services ever since he went undrafted back in 2016. The 6-foot-4, 299-pound lineman has adequate speed and strength, running a 5.01 40-yard time with 25 225-pound bench reps back at the 2016 NFL Combine.
This 2016 scouting report also suggests he’s adequate enough in the run game, too, which should make his fit with San Francisco notable.
Why Jake Brendel regresses with 49ers in 2020
It’s one thing to be wanted for reserve roles and as a camp body. It’s entirely different to suggest that player is good enough to crack a regular-season roster, and those times have repeatedly come and gone.
Brendel, despite his strength, is undersized. That same scouting report also suggests a shortish arm length could limit him strictly to center duties instead of him bolstering multiple spots along the interior of the O-line.
That won’t bode well for his chances, likely relegating him to a third-string player during training camp.
Chances of making the 49ers’ 53-man roster
The Niners already have a backup center slated for regular-season duties in 2020, Ben Garland, who adequately backed up the starter, Weston Richburg, late in 2019 and into the playoffs. There are also a number of other bodies, including second-year pro Ross Reynolds, competing for one of the handful of depth spots at guard heading into 2020, too.
None of this bodes well for Brendel, who appears slated for the proverbial “camp body” role above all else.
What likely happens, given Brendel is no longer eligible for the practice squad, is some duties during the fourth quarter of the first three preseason games, potentially seeing the entire second half of the final exhibition bout.
After that, Brendel will all but assuredly join the ranks of those cut before Week 1.