As the San Francisco 49ers continue to battle injuries across the roster, they also add new blood to combat it.
The latest addition has come through a former NFC West rival, as Cameron Malveaux was announced as San Francisco’s latest addition on Wednesday, taking up the 49ers’ last remaining roster spot after linebacker Fred Warner was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier this week.
With edge-rushers Dee Ford and Nick Bosa continuing to not practice ahead of the start of the season, which comes in less than two weeks against Malveaux’s former team, the Arizona Cardinals.
Now that he’s in Santa Clara, California, it’s time for a closer look at the 25-year-old’s background and chances for a roster spot.
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Before ever hitting the NFL, Malveaux honed his chops in Texas, going to high school at Fannett and then staying in the Lone Star State with the Houston Cougars.
While playing for Houston, Malveaux clocked 39 appearances, including 24 starts in his final two years for the Cougars. During that time, the defensive lineman racked up 16 tackles for loss and 3.5 total sacks, with five pass breakups to boot.
After going undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft, Malveaux was signed on by the Miami Dolphins, where he earned a total of four appearances in his rookie season in the league.
Despite the small amount of appearances, Malveaux earned his first career sack and added three tackles for loss, proving to be productive when he gets the chance.
However, with a plethora of defensive names like Robert Quinn and Cameron Wake in front of him, time and roster space was always limited, which led to the former Cougars release in the 2018 season.
After bouncing between the practice squad and main roster, the Cardinals swooped in to sign him off Miami’s practice squad, which saw him earn a sack in his five appearances with Arizona.
Malveaux then spent time on practice squads in 2019 with the Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins, always earning a place on an NFL team, but seemingly on the edge of teams’ final 53-man rosters.
Expectations for Malveaux
That “edge” of the main roster is where the 49ers will expect him to end up, and that’s perfectly fine.
With two sacks and four tackles for loss in nine appearances, Malveaux has a better return than plenty of players competing with him, and his track record of consistently being looked at and picked up by opposing teams is a sign that he does have something to offer.
This is an insurance policy for the 49ers. Should the injury issues continue into the actual regular-season, the team will need guys who can step up. They may not be able to replicate a star like Arik Armstead or Bosa’s production, but ensuring that the man stepping up behind them can still perform is imperative for a goal like winning the Super Bowl.
Malveaux may be a name that people will forget when he eventually signs with the practice squad, but if the 49ers keep him around, there’s a very real chance he could see snaps this season.
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the NFL for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, Mont. Reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier and join our 49ers community at Heavy on 49ers on Facebook.