49ers Blog and Q&A

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

March 29, 2009
Some draft prospects getting closer look from Niners

'Tis the season for pre-draft visits and pro day workouts. Here is a brief look at who the 49ers will be and have been looking at with the draft a mere 27 days away. Keep in mind that there are plenty of visits we might not know about and that these visits result in the team dropping a player down its list as often as they do bumping them up.

Boston College NT B.J. Raji will visit the 49ers among other teams reports Pro Football Talk. As mentioned in a previous blog, Raji's skill set seems to fit what the 49ers want from their nose tackle. Raji is big - 337 pounds - but is more of a quick, penetrating nose tackle as opposed to a speed bump who merely holds his ground. It's also worth noting that the 49ers lost one nose tackle, Ronald Fields, in the offseason and haven't always been complimentary about their other one, Aubrayo Franklin.

andre brown.jpg English.jpg bj.jpg

N.C. State running back Andre Brown also is scheduled for a visit. Brown was the best running back at the Senior Bowl and his workout numbers - 4.47 40 - also have been dazzling. At 224 pounds, Brown also fits the big-back mold the 49ers are looking for. They'll probably have to use a second-round pick to grab him.

Pro Football Talk also reports that Gregory Toler from tiny St. Paul's College in Virginia will visit. Toler has been getting plenty of interest lately. He wasn't invited to the combine but reportedly ran a 4.35 40 at his pro day. The 49ers lost Donald Strickland in free agency and have been looking at possible replacements. Look for them to draft a cornerback in the later rounds.

Trent Baalke also has been seen at a few pro day workouts. Baalke is the team's director of player personnel, meaning he's the No. 2 man to GM Scot McCloughan. Baalke recently has attended the workouts of Northern Illinois' Larry English, a projected 3-4 OLB who could be available in the second round, and Washington State receiver Brandon Gibson, a Day 2 selection. Look for the 49ers to take a receiver late in the draft and hope to strike gold like they did last year in the sixth round with Josh Morgan.

-- 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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