49ers Blog and Q&A

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

July 21, 2011
49ers ready to scoop up undrafted players

The 49ers currently have 18 undrafted players on their roster, including 11 who spent time on the active roster last year: T Alex Boone, CB Tramaine Brock, TE Colin Cloherty, LB Keaton Kristick, S Chris Maragos, K Joe Nedney, K Jeff Reed, T Barry Sims, S C.J. Spillman, G Tony Wragge and WR Dominique Ziegler.

They'll have to add a lot more undrafted players to get to the 90-player mark they will need for training camp. With that in mind, I checked in with CBS Sports draft expert Rob Rang, who highlighted what he thought were the best players who were overlooked in the April draft.

froman.bmp

Quarterbacks. This is always the most sought-after position when the draft ends, and this year is no exception. One of Rang's top picks is Santa Rosa resident Adam Froman, who played at Louisville and who attracted interest from the 49ers during the draft.

• Adam Froman, Louisville
• Pat Devlin, Delaware
• Adam Weber, Minnesota
• Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin

Running backs. This position typically pays huge dividends in the undrafted free-agent market. In fact, the league's top two rookie runners last year, LeGarrette Blount and Chris Ivory, went undrafted. The 49ers currently have four tailbacks - Frank Gore, Anthony Dixon, Kendall Hunter and Xavier Oman - on the roster but likely will add at least one more before training camp. Some of the top runners, according to Rang:

• Mario Fannin, Auburn
• Graig Cooper, Miami
• Darren Evans, Va. Tech

Wide receivers. They do the most running during training camp and are the most apt to go down with pulls and tweaks. Therefore, teams like to have a lot of them on hand during the summer. The 49ers promise to add several to the roster. The best ones:

• Terrence Toliver, LSU
• Ricardo Lockette, Fort Valley State
• Jeff Maehl, Oregon
• Armon Binns, Cincinnati

Offensive line. The 49ers players brought in former Stanford center Chase Beeler to help them learn Jim Harbaugh's playbook, and Beeler seems poised to join the 49ers as an undrafted free agent. The team also could sign Beeler's teammate, Derek Hall, who played tackle at Stanford. Others:

• T Willie Smith, East Carolina
• C Jake Kirkpatrick, TCU
• C Kris O'Dowd, USC


herzlich.jpg

Linebackers. Perhaps the biggest name of all the undrafted players is Mark Herzlich, who was excellent as a junior in 2008 but who missed the 2009 season with a rare form of bone cancer. Herzlich beat the cancer, miraculously played a full season in 2010 but was not his former self. Still, the farther away he gets from his treatment, the stronger he gets. And he could be a steal as an outside 'backer for either a 3-4 or 4-3 team.

• Mark Herzlich, Boston College
• Thomas Keiser, Stanford
• Steven Friday, Virginia Tech

Cornerbacks. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's buddy, Dom Capers, found two starting cornerbacks on the undrafted free-agent market in Tramon Williams and Sam Shields. Last year, the 49ers kept undrafted Tramaine Brock over Michael Robinson. All of which is to say that teams think that they can strike gold at this position when the draft is over. Some names:

• James Dockery, Oregon State
• Kendric Burney, North Carolina
• Ryan Jones, Northwest Missouri State
• Anthony Walters, Delaware

Defensive line. The 49ers seem to have enough players who can play defensive end. The question mark is nose tackle, especially if starter Aubrayo Franklin departs via free agency. Some potential NT depth, according to Rang:

• Ian Williams, Notre Dame
• Sealver Siliga, Utah

* Some of you might recall that Keiser, who played for Harbaugh and Fangio at Stanford, did not take part in the 49ers "local" pro day prior to the draft. Instead, he chose to go to class. That seemed odd at the time and may have been a signal that Keiser didn't particularly like playing for Harbaugh. That is, he might not be the no-brainer addition by the 49ers we once thought he was.

-- 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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