49ers: 5 players who aren’t helping their roster chances during OTAs
By Peter Panacy
No. 2: 49ers Linebacker Nathan Gerry
It was a little confusing when the 49ers inked former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Nathan Gerry to a free-agent deal this offseason, but it did indicate the team isn’t anywhere satisfied with its linebacker depth behind Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw.
Yet Gerry is another one of the many players who were dealing with minor injuries in Week 2 of OTAs, and he was out with an Achilles injury.
Gerry isn’t much of a pass-coverage linebacker, although his prior work on special teams and above-average efforts against the run make him a dark-horse candidate to stick around. In his absence, though, undrafted rookie linebacker Justin Hilliard out of Ohio State seems to be making the most of his chances.
At least according to the Sacramento Bee’s Chris Biderman:
"Lance had an incompletion to running back JaMycal Hasty near the right sideline on a play broken up by Ohio State rookie free agent linebacker Justin Hilliard, and another pass batted down at the line of scrimmage by defensive tackle Zach Kerr."
If Hilliard is showing off some decent pass-breakup skills this early, it could easily be an indicator Gerry won’t make the 53-man roster.
True, Hilliard has a long way to go, given he’s a UDFA and hasn’t proven much of anything yet at the pro level. But the Niners aren’t exactly committed to Gerry much at this point either, and the veteran missing time at OTAs won’t help his roster chances at all.
Especially if someone like Hilliard is beginning to overtake him on the reserve depth chart.