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February 22, 2012
Newest Niner? Names to follow at the scouting combine

jeffery.jpg

The scouting combine officially begins today but the real work doesn't start until Thursday when the offensive linemen and tight ends step on the scales, the coaches and GMs take the podiums and every player starts going through the mother of all medical evaluations. (I'm on my way there now; stuck in Dallas; Thanks, American, you've now sunk below United).

The 49ers will have a lot of interest in the wide receivers, a deep group that will weigh in on Friday and that will run the 40-yard dash on Sunday. Here are some players that might interest the 49ers at pick No. 30.

Mohamed Sanu
WR, Rutgers. Sanu is a big, physical receiver who seems ideally suited for a West Coast offense that emphasizes yards after the catch. The question is whether he's fast enough for the first round. All eyes will be on his 40-yard dash.

Alshon Jeffery
WR, South Carolina. Jeffery's most anticipated test will come Friday when the big receiver steps on the scale. Jeffery's weight has been a concern and scouts want to see him in the 220-pound range. Like Sanu and every other big-bodied receiver, Jeffery's 40 time will be critical.

Rueben Randle
WR, LSU. Randle has nice size and toughness, and he's battle tested after playing in a conference with a lot of excellent cornerbacks. The question is whether he can stretch defenses and prevent them from crowding the line of scrimmage.

Stephen Hill
WR, Georgia Tech. Hill went to the same school as NFL receivers Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas. Like those players, he's big and physical and might be just what the 49ers are seeking. Like Randle, his stock will shoot up with a good combine.

Janoris Jenkins
CB, North Alabama. Jenkins is one of several talented cornerbacks who might be available at the end of the first round. The transfer from the University of Florida, however, has red flags next to his name after arrests last year, and teams will be eager to sit down with him during the interview process.

Melvin Ingram
OLB, South Carolina. Ingram mostly played on the defensive line for the Gamecocks but seems to show enough wiggle and pass-rush ability to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. Ingram probably won't last until pick No. 30, but if he did he'd be a steal for the 49ers.

Coby Fleener
TE, Stanford. Jim Harbaugh's former pupil will be on hand but won't run because of the high-ankle sprain he suffered in Stanford's bowl game. The 49ers are set at tight end for now. But Delanie Walker is a free agent next season and Harbaugh loves tight ends.

David Wilson
RB, Virginia Tech. There's an outside chance that the 49ers will pick a running back at the end of the first round, and Wilson might be the most talented outside of Alabama's Trent Richardson. He has special balance and speed but needs to hit the line of scrimmage like an NFL back not a college runner looking to break an 80-yard touchdown on every play.

Some other names of note: Florida's Chris Rainey and Fresno State's Devon Wylie should be among the fastest players in Indy. The 49ers could be interested, especially if they lose Ted Ginn in free agency. Rainey and Wylie both are good returners. I'm writing about Wylie and fellow Granite Bay product Miles Burris in Thursday's Bee. Burris is an option in the middle rounds at outside linebacker. So is Boise State's Shea McClellin.

-- 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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