Just 135 days since surgery to repair a torn ACL, Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine ran a 40-yard dash reprtedly in 4.75 to 4.85 seconds. To put that in perspective, 4.75 seconds would have been one of the better 40 times posted by a defensive end at the scouting combine in February. Fellow Florida State defensive lineman Bjoern Werner, for example, ran his 40-yard dash in 4.83 seconds at the combine.
Carradine worked out in his native Cincinnati, and the session was attended by scouts from a dozen teams, including the 49ers. In fact, San Francisco sent defensive line coach Jim Tomsula to the workout, and he and Carradine had dinner on Friday night, according to a league source. The Chiefs, Lions, Browns, Saints, Bengals, Vikings, Colts, Broncos, Patriots, Falcons and Ravens also attended the workout.
Carradine, who measures 6-5, 273 pounds, played right defensive end for the Seminoles and was the team's leader in sacks (11) and tackles before he went down with an ACL tear in November. He had surgery in early December, and now teams must figure out how to rate him in the draft.
While Carradine was a defensive lineman in college, his best spot on a 3-4 team like the 49ers - at least initially - likely would be as an outside linebacker. Indeed, his physique - he has very long arms - and his style of play are similar to that of Aldon Smith, who was a situational pass rusher his rookie year with San Francisco.
The team's bigger need, however, is at defensive end. Justin Smith turns 34 this season and is entering the final year of his contract. There is no heir apparent on the roster, and his arm injury last season showed just how much the 49ers defenses needs a quality right defensive end in the lineup. Meanwhile, the 49ers have several outside linebackers beyond Aldon Smith and fellow starter Ahmad Brooks. Then again, veteran Parys Haralson is signed only through the upcoming season while 2012 rookies Darius Fleming and Cam Johnson are unproven.
It's possible that Carradine could begin his NFL career as an outside linebacker and grow into a defensive line position. Justin Smith, for example, was 267 pounds when he was drafted as a 4-3 defensive end in 2001. He now weighs close to 300 pounds.
A year ago, the 49ers showed a lot of interest in West Virginia defensive end Bruce Irvin, whom the Seahawks selected with the 15th overall pick. The 49ers have the 31st and 34th overall picks this year.
-- Matt Barrows