49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

May 1, 2008
Official UFA list: 49ers high on Butler

The 49ers' undrafted free agents went through their physicals today and will be ready for tomorrow's minicamp, which begins at 10:30 a.m. Here is the list:

LB Lewis Baker, Oklahoma
G John Booker, San Jose State
LB Lance Brandenburgh, Nebraska
LB Ezra Butler, Nevada
WR Cam Colvin, Oregon
G Brian De La Puente, Cal
TE Joe Jon Finley, Oklahoma
DE Louis Holmes, Arizona
WR Robert Jordan, Cal
S DJ Parker, Virginia Tech
LB Shaun Richardson, Tennessee State

Of that group, the 49ers are particularly happy to have landed Butler, who can play both inside and outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. Four teams – the 49ers, Raiders, Buccaneers and Chiefs – tried hard to get Butler following the draft. And two of those teams offered more money than the 49ers, according to his agent, C.J. LaBoy.

But Butler ultimately decided that the opportunity of playing for position coach Mike Singletary was too good to pass up. It also didn’t hurt that defensive coordinator Greg Manusky called him personally in the hours after the draft.

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When he first arrived at Nevada, Butler was a 285-pound defensive tackle. Before his sophomore season, however, he dropped down to 255 pounds and began playing a quasi defensive end-linebacker position for the Wolfpack. Over the last two seasons, he played more of a pure outside linebacker position. As a junior, he led Nevada with 71 tackles and finished second with 7 ½ sacks. His senior season, however, was marred by an injury and by off-the-field troubles that cost him the season opener against Nebraska. Those off-the-field concerns – Butler admitted to using marijuana – obviously hurt his draft stock. In terms of talent, LaBoy said, most teams ranked Butler as a second or third rounder.

Butler was invited to the East-West Shrine game and the scouting combine but did not participate in either because of lingering hamstring and shoulder problems. Weighing about 240 pounds at his pro day April 1, Butler ran the 40 in 4.51 and 4.57 seconds. He had a 39-inch vertical jump, 7.15 cone drill, 4.17 short shuttle and 18 reps in the bench press.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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