The 49ers have yet to fill three positions on their offensive staff – quarterbacks coach, running backs coach and offensive assistant – but it appears they are close on all three. The thinking right now is that Ted Tollner will step in and coach the quarterbacks, a position he held in San Francisco in 2002 and 2003. The team also is close to hiring Adam Gase as an offensive assistant. Gase worked under Mike Martz last year in Detroit as the Lions quarterbacks coach. Detroit recently hired a new quarterbacks coach and Gase was demoted. The 49ers are not as close to hiring a running backs coach but they are believed to be leaning toward Wilbert Montgomery, the former Eagles running back who worked under Martz in both St. Louis and Detroit.
The rain that had held off all week arrived in force for today’s North practice. That, combined with some chilly temperatures, chased away the throngs that had attended the first three days of practice. When I arrived this morning, there were only half a dozen or so people watching at field level. The rest of the observers were huddled under an overhang in the upper decks. The six men on the ground – they were all 49ers scouts. They were all impressed that I showed up and said that I could be an honorary scout. I told them they couldn’t afford me. ... After practice, I drove to Panera Bread restaurant (free internet) where I am now huddled over a hot bowl of broccoli-cheddar soup.
The best defensive lineman at the Senior Bowl has been USC’s Sedrick Ellis, who would be a nice nose tackle for the 49ers. Alas, he likely will be drafted well before San Francisco has a shot at him. The second-best lineman, however, has been Maryland’s Dre Moore. He could last into the second round.
There are three or so so-called ‘tweeners here in Mobile – defensive ends who could play outside linebacker in the NFL. The best of the bunch is the North’s Cliff Avril, a 6-3, 252 pounder who has shown nice quickness all week. The other two players with ‘tweener capabilities are Alabama’s Wallace Gilberry and Wake Forest’s Jeremy Thompson.
Along with Moore, two other players who have boosted their draft stocks this week have been Nebraska’s Carl Nicks and Michigan State tight end Kellen Davis. As I wrote yesterday, Tennessee tight end Brad Cottam also has been impressive.
One more rainy practice to go today and then I’m out of here … The most critical practices are held Mon - Wed. By Thursday, all the scouts (i.e. my sources) start clearing out. I'm heading back to New Orleans this afternoon.
-- Matt Barrows