49ers Blog and Q&A

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

February 23, 2009
Combine: Orakpo, Raji under the spotlight

For all you guys and gals who have to work this morning: Fear not -- I'll watch the combine for you and keep you updated on the linebackers and defensive linemen. Pass rusher is certainly atop the 49ers' wish list this offseason, and you have to believe that they will look hard for one in the first or second rounds in April. So far, it's been the defensive linemen working out. Niners DL coach Jim Tomsula has been getting some good air time. He's standing right behind the starting line as the linemen run the 40. Their first 10 yards -- the get off -- is most important for a lineman. Mike SIngletary, meanwhile, is sitting all by himself in a section of Lucas Oil Field. The lone wolf surveys the scene ...

A number of the defensive ends also will work out with the linebackers later today. The 49ers typically are intersted in smaller defensive ends whom they can make into linebackers. Some who fit that mold are:

Texas' Brian Orkapo, who had two excellent 40 runs of 4.63 (All times unofficial).
Penn State's Aaron Maybin, who ran twice at 4.78
Utah's Paul Kruger, who ran 4.84 and 4.91
FSU's Everette Brown ran a 4.63
Northern Illinois' Larry English ran 4.77
Tennessee's Robert Ayers ran 4.80
Georgia Tech's Michael Johnson ran 4.66 and 4.69
Cincinnati's Connor Barwin ran 4.66. Barwin is a former tight end who was moved to defensive end last season.

***Update*** The combine claimed another victim. The NFL Network just reported that Orakpo took himself out of the drills with what was identified as a "tweaked hamstring."

There's a good chance the 49ers will lose Ronald Fields this offseason and will need a nose tackle. Some guys who could play that position:

Boston College's B.J. Raji, who ran 5.13 and 5.14.
Kentucky's Myron Pryor, who ran 5.07 and 5.01
Temple's Terrance Knighton, who ran 5.18 and 5.08

Here are the top official times for the DLs:
Sidbury, Jr., Lawrence 4.64
Barwin, Connor 4.66
Orakpo, Brian 4.70
Brown, Everette 4.73
Johnson, Michael 4.75
Sulak, Stryker 4.77
Brown, Cody 4.84
Butler, Victor 4.84
Veikune, David 4.87
Gilbert, Jarron 4.87

-- Matt 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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