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April 16, 2013
In the Tank: 49ers to get close look at FSU defensive lineman Carradine

The 49ers will attend the Saturday workout of Florida State defensive lineman Tank Carradine, a legitimate possibility for the team in the first round. Carradine was leading the Seminoles in sacks (11) when he suffered an ACL injury that ended his season. He had surgery Dec. 6 and has not been able to run for scouts until now.

It's not known whether Carradine is one of the 30 players who have visited the 49ers over the last month. (Wednesday is the last day prospects can visit). However, he fits the parameters of someone the team might bring in so that officials can gather more information. That is, he is coming off an injury, he was only a one-year starter at Florida State after beginning his college career at Butler (Kansas) Community College and he plays defensive line, a position the 49ers could stand to bolster in the coming years.

Starting defensive lineman Justin Smith is recovering nicely from triceps tendon surgery, and he should be at full strength for the start of the season if not training camp. However, he's entering the final year of his contract, turns 34 this season, and the 49ers would be wise to find an heir who can pair with Aldon Smith on the defensive front and help protect two other long-term 49ers investments, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, in the running game.

At the scouting combine in February, Carradine measured 6-4 and weighed 276 pounds. He also kicked out 32 repetitions of 225 pounds at the Florida State pro day last month - not bad for someone with 34 3/4-inch arms.

At 276 pounds, Carradine likely is too light to play defensive end in the 49ers' 3-4 scheme. But it's worth noting that Justin Smith was 282 pounds when the 49ers signed him as a free agent in 2008 and that he now weighs about 300 pounds. That is, Carradine could grow into the position and could serve as a pass-rush specialist - like Aldon Smith did - his rookie season while he continues to recover from his 2012 injury.

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The 49ers will host Penn State outside linebacker Gerald Hodges this week, a league source confirmed. Hodges is a bit smaller (6-1, 243 pounds) than what the 49ers typically look for at outside linebacker, but he played very well at the East-West Shrine game in January. The 49ers could be looking at Hodges as an inside linebacker. After all, that's what the team did with another Penn State product, Bowman, in 2010.

-- 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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