Who slipped and why

Several highly touted prospects slipped in this year's NFL Draft, some out of the seven rounds completely. Why? Many will ask that question for a while. Here is a look at a few of the big names, including an intriguing prospect signed by the 49ers after he went undrafted.

Many were surprised when Khalif Barnes slid into the late part of round two before being scooped up by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The reason is simple, if you stay to the basics of scouting (which we did not in this case).

Sources have told us that, though Barnes looked terrific at the Senior Bowl and grades well athletically, he does not stand out on film. Many thought Barnes should have been more dominant and played at a higher level in college. There was a concern he got beat too much on Saturdays, and though some attribute it to poor coaching, the feeling is Barnes was capable of more and did not show consistent drive or determination.

The Tennessee Titans rated Barnes as a late first-round choice and were ready to trade for a second selection in the late part of round one to grab him. That is until a conversation yielded the opinion that Michael Roos would be a better player three years down the road. Some in the organization thought, had the Eastern Washington star attended an I-A school, he would have been the first tackle drafted.

One who took a mighty slide was Ernest Shazor. The former Michigan safety, signed today by the Arizona Cardinals, was labeled as a "long-legged, knock-kneed college player who cannot run" by many scouts.

With the 49ers' needs at safety, many thought the team would consider the big-hitting Shazor with their multiple picks in the seventh round, but the team simply did not see him fitting into their scheme because of his lack of ability to make up ground in open space.

Brandon Browner was labeled in similar fashion, though there is more to his story. Besides a few character issues, sources we spoke with called Browner "disruptive" and "not well-liked," which pushed him out of the seven rounds. Browner was offered several free agent contracts but signed with the Denver Broncos, who will use him at safety.

There is still much debate as to why Marcus Lawrence went undrafted. Suffering through an injury-plagued senior campaign, Lawrence had a damaged groin muscle, which may have been part of the reason.

Teammate George Gause suffered from something else, an underachieving senior season which concerned many and pushed him out of the seven rounds.

Durability issues and age did in Kay-Jay Harris. Several lower-rated running backs were selected ahead of Harris, who signed with Miami today.

An interesting story is that of Tony Ficklin, who was signed Monday by the 49ers.

He's an explosive athlete who turned in a great pro day workout that many thought would raise his stock and push him into the draft. He played defensive end at San Jose State, but many projected him to move to the outside linebacker position for a team with a 3-4 defensive scheme, which the 49ers are implementing this year.

However, the Niners plan to try Ficklin at fullback, where they are looking to find a new backup for Fred Beasley and where they feel Ficklin can best make use of his ability at the pro level.

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