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March 31, 2011
Niners brass on hand to watch UNC's Quinn

The place to be Thursday? Chapel Hill, N.C., where a large contingent of Tar Heels, led by defensive end Robert Quinn, worked out in front of NFL evaluators. On hand for the 49ers were their top two college talent evaluators, general manager Trent Baalke and college scouting director Joel Patten, according to the university.


Quinn was forced to sit out the 2010 season after accepting gifts - travel accommodations and jewelry - from an agent. In addition, he was diagnoses in high school with a benign brain tumor that has required monitoring every six months with an MRI.

But he also has shown a rare burst off the edge for a 265-pound defender, and teams like the 49ers that play a 3-4 defense are interested in him as an outside linebacker. His numbers Thursday certainly suggest he has the athleticism to make the transition. According to the school, Quinn ran his 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds, had 24 reps of 225 lbs. on the bench press, had a 33-inch vertical leap and had a long jump - something he wanted to improve upon from the combine - of 10 feet, 5 ½ inches. Quinn also was one of the more impressive players on the combine podium.

There are other Tar Heels Baalke and Patten likely were scoping out.

Along with Quinn, defensive tackle Marvin Austin and receiver Greg Little were forced to sit out the 2010 season. Austin, who weighed in at 301 pounds, mostly rested on his combine numbers. Little, who measured 6-2 3/4, 225 pounds, had a 38-inch vertical, 10-foot 10-inch broad jump and 4.19-second short shuttle.

Another UNC defender, linebacker Bruce Carter, suffered an ACL tear in December. He is a possibility to the 49ers at outside linebacker, perhaps in the second round. Meanwhile, the team's quarterback, T.J. Yates, threw triple the amount of passes some other quarterbacks have thrown in their pro days. He reportedly connected on 110-of-112 attempts. Yates is considered a Day 3 pick.

** It's not much of a stretch to think that Baalke and Patten will attend Da'Quan Bowers' workout in South Carolina on Friday.

-- 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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