Tight ends were the main attraction at Stanford's pro day today.
So why was a 49ers quarterbacks coach, Geep Chryst, who unlike most of the 49ers staff has no ties to Stanford, on hand? Chryst has a long background as a tight ends coach having served in that capacity for five years in Carolina before joining Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers in 2011. ***Chryst's son, Keller, also is considering playing quarterback at Stanford, which is probably the more likely reason for his visit.***
He was the only 49ers coach seen at the event, although three members of the scouting staff made the short drive up Highway 101.
The Stanford tight end getting the most attention was Zach Ertz, who is dueling with Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert to be the first player at that position taken in the draft (and whose schools are dueling for the title of Tight End U.) Ertz, who has been groomed since high school by former 49ers tight end Brent Jones, said he wanted to improve on three events from last month's combine: the vertical jump, the broad jump and the 40-yard dash.
He did just that. His vertical leap of 35 ½ inches was considerably better than the 30 ½ inches he jumped in Indianapolis, and his 9-foot, six-inch broad jump was two inches better than last month's effort. He ran the 40 between 4.57 and 4.63 seconds, which is good for a tight end.
Perhaps no Stanford player helped himself more than Levine Toilolo, who showed good power for a tall, 6-8 guy with long arms by knocking out 20 repetitions on the bench press. Toilolo also caught the ball well and ran his 40-yard dash in the 4.7-second range.
The Stanford contingent also included running back Stepfan Taylor, who is expected to be a mid-round selection, and a couple of linebackers, Chase Thomas and Alex Debniak, a 6-3, 233-pounder who could be a special teams standout early on.
All 32 teams were on hand for the pro day, and the crowd of observers included former Stanford players Coby Fleener, Jonathan Martin and Chris Owusu. Astute followers of this blog will recall that Fleener was my 2012 Draft Crush. Today Fleener sloughed me off when I asked if had a second to talk. I'm contemplating stripping him of his crown. Very disappointed.
Meanwhile, the 49ers lost another player, return man Ted Ginn, and gained another safety, Darcel McBath. The latter was a restricted free agent the 49ers did not tender. That made McBath, 27, an unrestricted free agent, and the team signed him to a one-year deal. He'll join a crowd trying to fill the void left by Dashon Goldson's departure to Tampa Bay. Craig Dahl, Trenton Robinson, C.J. Spillman and Michael Thomas also are at the position.
Ginn, meanwhile, signed a one-year deal with Carolina, according to ESPN. The 49ers have a solid kick returner in LaMichael James but need to find a good punt-return option. Candidates include James, Perrish Cox and newly signed Marlon Moore.
- Matt Barrows