The San Francisco 49ers have a visit scheduled next month with Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller, who may or may not be available at No. 7 in the first round of that month's NFL draft. But it's worth noting that they're interested enough in Miller to have a closer look and a one-on-one conversation with him at their team facility.
According to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, the 49ers also plan to bring in two others players who haven't been discussed much: 250-pound fullback Ryan Taylor of North Carolina and kicker Kai Forbath of UCLA. Taylor will visit April 6 and 7, Miller April 13 and 14. It's uncertain when Forbath will come in.
The big question, of course, is whether the 49ers will pick the best player at a position of need or grab a quarterback, especially since it looks like they might not be able to work a trade before the draft. QB is certainly a position of importance on any team, but especially so in San Francisco and a few other places. And while coach Jim Harbaugh has been reluctant to talk about draftable players, he did discuss some recently at the NFL owners meetings in New Orleans.
Asked about the value is having a mobile quarterback, Harbaugh said, "Yeah, the ability to make people miss as a quarterback is critical. … being able to go with your legs. We've got some quarterbacks in this draft like Cam Newton and (Blaine) Gabbert in particular and Jake Locker that not only will make people miss and avoid people, but they can run and keep defenses out of certain coverages, which is quite the trait to have. And they can pick up first downs with their legs, keep the chains moving.
"And Cam Newton – that's plutonium-grade raw material, you know? I haven't seen upside like with this guy in probably the last 10 years."
Does that mean the 49ers would take Newton if he's there when it's their turn? Probably not. More likely, Harbaugh wants teams to think they'd take the Auburn QB, who's talented but too much of a project for a team desperately in need. Of course, Harbaugh seems to enjoy the image of a quarterback-maker, so he might believe he can transform Newton from a spread QB to a West Coast quarterback quickly.
There might not be much time if the impasse over a new collective bargaining agreement drags into the summer. Harbaugh conceded that a first-year coach and a largely new staff is at a disadvantage, but he's a guy who claims to like challenges.
"Everybody seems to agree that it's a disadvantage for first-year coaches," he said. "It probably is. But we'll find a way to overcome it. I love the uncharted waters, I really do. There's something about it. There's more of a challenge to it. Maybe it's because I grew up in 12 different towns before I graduated from high school, I don't know. Something about it, I just feel more comfortable when it's the uncharted waters.
"We'll find a way. We won't panic."