49ers Blog and Q&A

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

April 30, 2009
49ers announce undrafted free agents; sign LB Harris

The 49ers made a dual announcement: They signed linebacker Marques Harris, formerly of the Chargers, to a one-year contract. Harris (6-1, 231) is entering his fifth season. He started six games in the last four years in San Diego and has 75 tackles, eight sacks, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles over that span. The team also released a list of the 12 undrafted free agents they have signed. Michigan State defensive end Brandon Long is not on that list. Long apparently failed his physical. Here's some information on the others. And, yes, I stole shamelessly from NFL Draft Scout ...

Alex Boone, OT, Ohio State
6-7, 328, rated 21 out of 183 OTs

Positives: Tall tackle prospect with good functional strength and long arms. ... His size and strength makes it tough to bull rush him. ... Has lined up at left and right tackle. ... Agile enough to combo down and then move straight ahead to the middle linebacker. ... Can lock onto defensive ends and keep them out of the play. ... Recognizes blitzes and twists.

Negatives: May need to play right tackle in the pros, as he is more of a mauler than an athlete. ... Lumbers in space, and does not play through the whistle. ... Needs more consistency using his punch to keep pass rushers off balance. ... Does not move his feet or hands quickly enough to handle explosive speed on the edge. ... Also loses his balance when sustaining because he leans too far forward and his hands are not inside the body. ... Plays too upright in pass protection. ... Lacks great flexibility to adjust to oncoming blitzers.

Diyral Briggs, OLB, Bowling Green
6-3, 242, rated 41 out of 193 OLB

Notable: He led the MAC with 9.5 sacks in 2008 and was second in the conference in tackles for loss with 13.5 He finished the year with 60 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and 10 quarterback hurries He had two sacks versus Pittsburgh and a week later had three sacks versus Minnesota. He was named MAC East Defensive Player of the week after recording seven tackles, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in a 38-10 win at Toledo.

Dobson Collins, WR, Gardner-Webb
6-1, 181, rated 53 out 311 receivers

Notable: Was elected to the All-Big South Conference First Team. Collins led the Big South and ranked No. 7 nationally in receptions per game in 2008, hauling in 76 balls for 937 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had six games with at least 90 yards receiving, and posted four 100-yard games on the year. In Big South games, the Stone Mountain, Ga., native averaged 106.2 yards per game to lead the league in that category.

Pannel Egboh, DE, Stanford
6-6, 267, rated 16 out of 173 DEs

Positives: Legitimate NFL frame. ... Well-built athlete with the frame to add an additional 10-15 pounds without significant loss of quickness. ... At least adequate initial quickness off the snap. ... Uses his long arms well to fend off the blockers and disengage. ... Good key-and-diagnose skills. ... Team defender who understands his responsibility and fights to keep contain. ... Reads the action and has the flexibility to break down in space and make the tackle at the line of scrimmage. ... Good strength. ... Plays with good leverage despite his height and can push the tackle into the quarterback's passing lane. ... Athletic enough to occasionally be used on the zone blitz. ... Four-year starter.

Negatives: Bit of a "tweener." Lacks speed off the edge. Lacks the bulk to be moved inside to defensive tackle. ... Might be best served as a 3-4 defensive end due to his strength in keeping contain and providing an occasional pass rush. ... Good enough athlete to operate in the zone blitz, but lacks the straight-line speed or hip flexibility to make a seamless transition to outside linebacker full-time. ... Broken leg, which ended his 2005 season, must be checked.

Kirby Freeman, QB, Baylor
6-3, 206, not rated

Notable: Freeman transferred from the University of Miami (Fla.) to Mike SIngletary's alma mater. He played in only three games (one start) last season, completing six of 13 passes for 49 yards and a touchdown.

Kyle Howard, OT, Wyoming
6-6, 316, rated 80 out of 183 OTs

Notable: Howard is a three-year starter who played in 43 games, starting 40. He has extensive experience at right tackle and both guard positions.

Matt Huners, G, South Florida
6-3, 303, rated 48 out of 192 guards

Notable: As a senior, Huners started all 12 games this season and 25 in his career. He has graded out as USF's best lineman the past two seasons. At the South Florida team banquet, Huners received the Coaches Award for "recognition of the player who makes a substantive yet recognized contribution; a person whose bravery is unknown or unacknowledged."

Terrail Lambert, CB, Notre Dame
5-10, 188, rated 41 out of 226 cornerbacks

Notable: Might give Sheets a run for his money in a foot race. At Notre Dame's pro day, he ran his 40 in 4.38 and 4.36 seconds, had a 35-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot, 4-inch broad jump, a 4.09 short shuttle, a 6.80 three-cone drill and did 15 bench press reps.

Khalif Mitchell, DE, East Carolina
6-5, 318, rated 25 out of 160 DEs

Positives: Tall with long arms and good upper- and lower-body strength. ... Fluid when running in space. ... Chases down the line and hustles downfield. ... Can push his man into the backfield when gaining leverage one-on-one. ... Uses his length to wrap up ballcarriers after they get into the hole. ... Has the body and athleticism to play defensive end in the 3-4 alignment.

Negatives: Only adequate quickness off the snap. ... Doesn't play to his strength -- gets too upright and lacks the anchor to hold his ground against double teams. ... Must improve his hand play to get off blocks and beat his man in pass rush. ... Leans into his man too much, costing him balance and allowing linemen to use his movement against him. ... Susceptible to cut blocks because of his height, but has the recovery speed to get up and make a tackle. ... Was substituted out in most rushing situations. ... Lacks great awareness and doesn't keep his eyes in the backfield. ... Medical check required on recent injuries.

Kory Sheets, RB, Purdue
5-11, 208, rated 11 out 150 Rbs.

Positives: Lanky build with the room for additional mass without a significant loss of quickness. Quick to the hole. Agile. Can make defenders miss in tight quarters. Quickly gets to top speed and can accelerate through a gap and to the second level. Patient runner who follows his blocks, but can stick his foot in the ground and explode through holes. Good speed for the stretch play. Good vision for the cutback. Despite a lack of prototypical bulk and leg drive, is an extraordinarily effective runner near the goal-line. Good hands out of the backfield. Experienced kick returner with the vision and speed to contribute immediately in this area. Four-year contributor who has never missed a game due to injury. Enjoyed a solid week of practice at the Senior Bowl. Could have been hidden a bit by Purdue's reliance on the passing game and surprise at the next level.

Negatives: Lacks the bulk and lower leg drive necessary for grinding out the tough yards. Only had one season as the team's primary back. Operated out of a spread offense, and will likely be forced to acclimate to a more pro-style offense in the NFL. Marginal effectiveness as a pass blocker. Supplies good effort, but simply lacks the strength to hold up. Complained about the struggles of the rest of the Purdue offense -- specifically quarterback Curtis Painter -- to the press, forcing coach Joe Tiller to ban him from talking to the media at the end of 2008.

Carlos Thomas, CB, South Carolina
5-11, 186, rated 76 out of 226 cornerbacks

Notable: Thomas made 25 starts for the Gamecocks, recording 59 tackles, 12 pass defenses and six interceptions. He started five games last season. Thomas reportedly has run a 4.37 40-yard dash at South Carolina. During his pro day, however, he ran it in 4.51.

Jahi Word-Daniels, CB, Georgia Tech
6-0, 197, rated 39 out of 226 cornerbacks

Positives: Good height, strong build and long arms for the position. ... Relatively smooth flipping his hips for his height. ... Opens his hips to run with quicker receivers down the sideline. ... Uses his length to knock away passes in his area. ... Supports the run and attacks screens on the outside, closing quickly to cut down the ballcarrier.

Negatives: His tackling has been suspect in the past, although he has the size and reach to be effective. ... Typically a cut tackler but will duck his head instead of seeing what he hits. ... Could be dominant as a press cornerback but gives inconsistent effort at the line, whether jamming receivers or as the gunner on special teams. ... Typically plays off to keep the throw in front of him in Tech's defense. ... Stays high and is slow in his pedal. ... Inconsistent hands for the interception. ... Does not defeat blocks of wide receivers often enough, even against smaller players.

-- 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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