New 49er Chris Harper was given a wide receiver's number - No. 13 - on Tuesday but confirmed he will have a Delanie Walker-like role in San Francisco.
Harper was drafted by the Seahawks as a wide receiver out of Kansas State. And he began his college career as a quarterback at Oregon. However, he's never played tight end, something he got a taste of in his first practice with the 49ers Tuesday afternoon.
"I've never gotten in a three-point stance before, so that's going to be different for me," Harper said. Asked whether he was a good blocker, he said, "I thought I was a great blocker - as a receiver. But now I've got to block dudes like Aldon (Smith) and Patrick (Willis). So we'll see."
At 232 pounds, Harper is slightly lighter than Walker, the 49ers' former No. 2 tight end, was when he came out of Central Missouri University in 2006. Like Harper, Walker played wide receiver in college. Harper said he already was somewhat familiar with Walker and watched game film of him when he arrived in Santa Clara Monday night. "They put him all over the field," Harper said. "And he's a great athlete You can see that on film - he's a big guy that can run."
Harper was drafted in the fourth round this year by the Seahawks. However, his hands were inconsistent, and he was outperformed by unheralded receivers Jermaine Kearse and Stephen Williams and did not make the final roster. When Seattle put Harper on their practice squad, the 49ers signed him away.
Harper said the Seahawks tried to get him to stay by bumping up his practice-squad salary but that the 49ers offered a better opportunity to get on the field, albeit one outside of his comfort zone.
"The thing that for me that's going to be hard is learning the (defensive) fronts and stuff like that," he said. "Even as a quarterback, I would have to look at the nose (tackle). But I would never have to identify a front."
Harper, who wore No. 3 at Oregon and Kansas State, said he asked Jim Harbaugh for No. 13, and that's what he was given. "It's not like I won't be playing receiver, either," he said.
-- Matt Barrows