Niners acquire three intriguing newcomers

The 49ers will be lopping off more than a dozen players from their roster six days from now, but on Wednesday they still were mixing and matching, waiving three players who had no chance of making the roster and bringing in three new and intriguing prospects who might.

Receivers Nate Jackson and Corey Brown didn't have a place in the Niners' plans. Neither did cornerback Fred Booker, who was brought in a couple of weeks ago but obviously wasn't going to challenge Rashad Holman or Jimmy Williams for a berth at that position.

But look what the Niners have now to take their place: Fourth-year veteran receiver Jeremy McDaniel, defensive back Clevan Thomas and receiver Antoine "T.T." Tolliver.

What's so good about that trio, you ask?

Well, McDaniel was a legitimate NFL receiving threat as recently as 2000, when he caught 43 passes for 697 yards with the Buffalo Bills, leading the team with an average of 16.2 yards per catch. The Bills released McDaniel earlier this week, and the Niners quickly snatched him off waivers. At 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, he is the kind of big receiver that would fit well in the San Francisco system.

Clevan Thomas? All he did was set the Arena League on fire this spring and summer as a rookie out of Florida State. In leading the league-champion San Jose Sabercats to the greatest season in Arena League history, Thomas earned Defensive Player of the Year honors and also was the league's Rookie of the Year.

And he also can return kicks, as does Tolliver, who was one of the Arena League's more athletic players this season for the Orlando Predators. In addition to his kick returning skills, Tolliver also played receiver and defensive back. The Niners will take a look at him as a receiver and return candidate.

These moves are writing on the wall for Vinny Sutherland, the Niners' incumbent No. 5 receiver and return specialist last year who hasn't seen much action in either role this season and didn't practice Wednesday due to a sore left hamstring.

If Sutherland's days with the Niners are indeed numbered, one of the three newcomers could be the guy who takes his place on the roster.

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