Niners zeroing in on Kansas All-American?

As April nears, the scouting process is moving into the final phases as NFL teams travel to the final college Pro Days across the nation and pare down their draft boards. Sources say the 49ers are high on versatile Kansas junior Charles Gordon, a playmaker that San Francisco is projecting as a top prospect, in contrast to what some other teams feel. Here's the latest scoop on a few other prospects drawing interest who also are surrounded by questions.

--- Gordon is garnering a wide range of opinions from franchises with teams grading him anywhere from an early second-round choice all the way to a late second-day selection. Besides the New England Patriots another team zeroing in on the Kansas All American has been the 49ers. A team with a lot of needs, the Niners are giving serious consideration to using their pick in round two on Gordon, then using him at cornerback, wide receiver and as a return specialist. The redshirt junior isn't big at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, but he has skills to play all over the field. He led the nation with seven interceptions and was a third-team AP All-American at cornerback last year as a sophomore. He was a first-team freshman All-American at wide receiver in 2003. Gordon also holds the school record with 999 punt return yards and finished his three-year Kansas career with 106 catches for 1,232 yards and nine touchdowns. In 2005, Gordon's time was too split between the offense and defense to rack up similar national awards. He intercepted two passes and caught 34 balls for 313 yards at receiver, but his statistics weren't flashy enough to earn him anything outside of All-Big 12 Conference honors as an all-purpose performer. The big questions about Gordon are his size and lack of explosive speed. Some wonder if Gordon ever can develop into a full-time NFL cornerback, though his versatility to play on offense and return kicks will increase his value at the next level.

--- Oregon defensive tackle Haloti Ngata has received some bad press recently. Some are now saying NFL scouts question the big man's motor. Others have Florida State's Brodrick Bunkley as the top-rated defensive tackle heading towards the draft. Yet none are looking at the entire picture. To say Ngata's postseason performances have been uninspired is justified, yet to leave it at that is not telling the whole story. Two years ago Ngata lost his father in a tragic car accident. Sadly, two months ago Ngata unexpectedly lost his mother to kidney failure. The loss of his mother was sudden, as she had not been terribly sick for a long period. As one would expect, the 21-year old has been in the dumps after losing both his parents over the course of two years. His support team and workout partners have tried to keep Ngata's spirits high, though no one can blame the big-man for being down. Scouts understand the situation and the recent talk of Ngata falling down boards is just that - talk.

--- After an average Pro Day last week sources have told us Vince Young's recent workouts have not been all that much better. Young has been experiencing many of the same problems throwing NFL-type passes during individual workouts. The hope is Young will quickly improve and be ready by the middle of April, when several more teams will work him out individually. Another Longhorn experiencing problems is Jon Scott. We documented how ill-prepared Scott was going into his Pro Day workout last week. Now comes word of his uncooperativeness. Seems the tackle from Texas would not work out in a group setting prior to the combine and wants to go it alone. Also a problem is Scott seems more concerned about life after football then the immediate future, which has some wondering about his dedication to the sport. This does not bode well for Scott, who could fall out of the first day.

--- Jerious Norwood of Mississippi State has been a player moving up charts recently. At his Pro Day last week, several teams were showing plenty of interest with some franchises setting up dates to bring the speedy skill player into their venues. The Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons are all very high on Norwood with just about all planning to use the college running back at wide receiver. The Bears have been very active with another player, Miami-Ohio linebacker Terna Nande, who they feel would be a solid fit as a weak-side player in Lovie Smith's defense.

--- Rice had its Pro Day earlier this week and John Syptak worked out well for scouts. The college defensive end weighed 253 pounds and ran a 4.7 in the 40. Fifteen teams were on hand, including the Cincinnati Bengals who sent most of their defensive staff, and the Chicago Bears, who also worked out Syptak at fullback. That same day, scouts made their way to Texas Southern University, working out linebacker Frederick Brock. Both New York teams were on hand with the Jets saying Brock would be a good fit on the inside for the 3-4 alignment they plan on installing next season.

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