49ers Blog and Q&A

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

July 7, 2010
Niners are Long on wide receivers

If I told you the 49ers have the star of the 2010 scouting combine on their roster, you'd probably think I'm talking about Taylor Mays. I'm not. The guy I'm referring to led all receivers invited to the combine in the bench press, the vertical jump, the 3-cone drill and the 60-yard shuttle. He stands 6-2, weighs 216 pounds and is a good downfield blocker. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds, tying him for seventh best among receivers.

Despite those numbers, Scott Long wasn't drafted. The 49ers signed him and a handful of other free agents shortly after the draft. Long likely was hurt by a Louisville offense that struggled his senior year and by an ACL tear suffered early in his junior season. He got onto the 49ers radar because at one point they were interested in Kentucky cornerback Trevard Lindley (4th round to Philadelphia). Long, however, had a strong game against Lindley in September and also was very good in the Texas vs. the Nation game in January (where he played well against another cornerback the 49ers were interested in, Phillip Adams).

If I had to make a prediction now, I'd say the 49ers will keep five receivers on their active roster and another youngster on the practice squad. (Remember, Dominique Zeigler doesn't have any more practice-squad eligibility). Long was battling the flu during the team's rookie minicamp in May, and he had a hard time getting reps in June. Like any undrafted free agent, he needs to take advantage of those precious opportunities when training camp practices begin August 2. His main competition for a spot on the practice squad:

Bakari Grant, UC Davis. The Oakland native is the most Zeigler-like of the youngsters. He's tall - 6-3 - but beanpole-skinny. Like Zeigler, he also made some eye-opening catches during OTAs. Grant played with the third-team offense, meaning he had fireball-throwing Nate Davis as his quarterback. Grant seemed to do a good job of hauling in Davis' passes and might be an ideal developmental player.

Jared Perry, Missouri. At 6 feet, 178 pounds, Perry is the type of player the 49ers have avoided in years past but who may have more of a chance under Trent Baalke. He's fast and put up impressive career numbers -- 137 receptions for 1,844 yards and 13 touchdowns - in Missouri's wide open offense. Perry looked good in the 49ers' rookie minicamp, but like Long he did not get many chances once the veterans arrived.

-- 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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