49ers add a Bing to secondary; sign WR Hill

The 49ers have added another contender for a roster berth in their upgraded secondary, claiming safety Darnell Bing off waivers Thursday from the Oakland Raiders.

Bing was a prospect the 49ers showed considerable interest in during last year's draft when San Francisco had the third pick of the fourth round to begin the draft's second day. The 49ers selected Penn State's Michael Robinson instead with the No. 100 overall selection, and Bing went on the very next pick to the Raiders at No. 101.

Bing was a star safety known for his big hitting and play-making ability at USC, but he slipped into the fourth round because of concerns about his coverage ability. The Raiders attempted to convert him to outside linebacker last year before a neck injury forced Bing to spend his entire rookie season on injured reserve.

Bing became expendable in Oakland, which released him earlier this week, because the Raiders had an excess of safeties following the signings of free agents Donovin Darius, Colin Branch and B.J. Ward.

But the 49ers remained intrigued with his ability to fit into a role in their 3-4 defensive scheme, where the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Bing can show off his ability as an in-the-box safety.

When training camp practices begin Sunday at 49ers headquarters, Bing will be competing with 2007 fourth-round selection Dashon Goldson and 2006 seventh-rounder Vickiel Vaughn for the fourth safety spot behind holdover starters Mark Roman and Keith Lewis and free-agent newcomer Michael Lewis.

Bing saw action in all five of Oakland's preseason games last year before suffering his neck injury in the Raiders' exhibition finale. He was an All-Pac-10 standout at USC, starting 35 of the 37 games in which he played during his three-year career, when he totaled 182 tackles, eight interceptions, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

In other Niners news Thursday, the team announced that it has signed the first of its third-round picks in the April draft, wide receiver Jason Hill of Washington State. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

With the signing of Hill, the 49ers now have seven of their nine draft picks signed after inking T Joe Staley (1st round), LB Jay Moore (4th round), S Dashon Goldson (4th round), DT Joe Cohen (4th round), CB Tarell Brown (5th round) and RB Thomas Clayton (6th round).

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