Niners bringing 11 undrafted FAs to minicamp

The 49ers have signed 11 rookie free agents who were not selected in the NFL draft over the weekend to fill out their roster, and each of the young prospects will be on hand when the Niners begin their three-day spring spring minicamp at team headquarters Friday morning. Here's a look at each of the 11 players and where they might fit in with San Francisco.

LB LEWIS BAKER, Oklahoma
The skinny:
Baker carries just 203 pounds on his 6-foot-3 frame, but he saw action in 50 games during his career at Oklahoma and started 19 games. Last year as a senior, Lewis had 12 starts and recorded 91 tackles with seven stops behind the line of scrimmage. He finished his college career with 171 tackles, including nine stops for a loss and had five passes defensed. A versatile player with good speed, Baker played 11 games with seven starts at strong safety as a sophomore in 2005. He's also a good special teams performer who has the ability to contribute on those units.
Where he might fit in: The 49ers will give Baker a look during the spring and summer, but he may have to make the transition to safety to have any real shot at making it with the 49ers, which seems a long shot at best. The Niners will see what kind of heat Baker can bring from the edge, but he'll have to bulk up considerably to have a future at linebacker at the pro level. Probably more of a training camp body than anything.

G JOHN BOOKER, San Jose State
The skinny:
Booker has solid size at 6-foot-4 and 313 pounds and was a versatile performer at San Jose State, where he played several positions along the line, starting nine games at right tackle and another at left tackle last year while earning All-Western Athletic Conference second-team honors. Also started at right guard and left guard while recording 35 starts during college career. In 2004, Booker became the first true freshman to start at guard for the Spartans since freshman eligibility was restored by the NCAA in 1972. Has good mobility and has been timed as fast as 4.98 seconds in the 40-yard dash, an excellent time for a man his size. His skills project to guard at the NFL level.
Where he might fit in: Booker finished a solid college career with a fine senior season, but this isn't the WAC, and the 49ers will have to see how well he can make the leap to the big time. Still, he is a versatile offensive lineman with skills, and the Niners have a need for those kind of players. He has a chance to be in the mix for a backup role along the line, and might be a practice squad candidate.

LB LANCE BRANDENBURGH, Nebraska
The skinny:
A versatile performer whose senior season was cut short last year when he suffered a season-ending injury in Nebraska's ninth game. Had recorded 51 tackles before being hurt. Played all three linebacker positions for the Huskers and earned four varsity letters, recording 118 career tackles. Does not have optimum size at 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds.
Where he might fit in: After drafting Larry Grant in the seventh round, the 49ers are looking for more bodies to add competition at the linebacker position and push the players who ultimately will make the final roster. Brandenburgh falls into that mix and will have to truly distinguish himself to rise from the bottom of the depth chart. But he's here, so he gets a look just like everybody.

OLB EZRA BUTLER, Nevada
The skinny:
Had a very productive career at Nevada, recording 233 tackles in his final three seasons at the school to go along with an impressive 46 stops for losses during that span. A very active player who also had 16 career sacks. Also recorded three interceptions last season as a senior. Is an aggressive player with fine speed, but he relies too much on that speed and needs to refine his pass-rushing technique. Is a tough individual who plays with a mean streak. Has some upside and could fit into either a 4-3 or 3-4 system at the pro level.
Where he might fit: If Butler can get to the quarterback, he could challenge for a roster berth on the 3-4 edge. He appears to have the versatility the 49ers like to see in their linebackers and should receive a legitimate look this summer. May have the best chance of any of the four linebackers signed this week to earn a spot on the team.

WR CAMERON COLVIN, Oregon
The skinny:
Another San Francisco Bay Area product, Colvin was a star at national prep powerhouse De La Salle and was one of the nation's top recruits coming out of high school. He did not live up to that billing at Oregon, where injury issues limited his productivity. He's an outstanding athlete with good size and strength and great leaping ability. Doesn't have great speed and needs to refine his route-running. Has some durability and character issues. Averaged 12.1 yards on 74 receptions at Oregon, but never had more than 22 catches in any season.
Where he might fit in: Colvin had an underachieving career in college, and it left him out in the cold on draft weekend. But the guy has the physical tools to play at the NFL level, and maybe good coaching - and the 49ers have one of the best receiver coaches in Jerry Sullivan - can do wonders and bring out the best in a talented prospect. But the light needs to go on for Colvin and he has to show consistency if he's going to stick around beyond August. Another practice squad candidate.

G BRIAN DE LA PUENTE, California
The skinny:
Earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors last season as a senior at Cal, where he started all 13 games at left guard for the Bears. Showed considerable improvement toward end of college career to develop into a pro prospect. At 6-foot-4 and 302 pounds, may need to add some strength and bulk to compete at the NFL level. Was part of a unit that allowed a league-low 11 sacks last year and paved the way for running back Justin Forsett to rush for 1,546 yards.
Where he might fit in: The 49ers have had a chance to see De La Puente as he played college in the backyard, and they see some things in his potential that make him worth a look at the team's interior line positions. If he can refine his technique, De La Puente may have a shot at the practice squad where he can add some bulk and develop his strength.

TE JOE JON FINLEY, Oklahoma
The skinny:
Has optimum size at 6-foot-6 and 254 pounds with a frame that has room to add bulk. Runs good routes, knows how to get open and has good hands to bring in the football. Started 29 of the 51 games he played at Oklahoma but was used rather sparingly in the passing game. Had career totals of 62 receptions for 775 yards, a nice 12.5 average, and 10 touchdowns. Had best season totals last year as a senior with 23 receptions for 290 yards and four touchdowns. Has great awareness and his a hard worker; not a great blocker but gives a lot of effort in that area to get better at it. Is tough but lacks explosiveness and burst and doesn't have the speed to stretch the field vertically.
Where he might fit in: Some scouts had Finley rated to be drafted as high as the fifth round, so he's a legitimate prospect who is coming to a team that already is set at tight end with young veterans Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker and Billy Bajema. Finley, who has the skills to fit well into a pro passing scheme, may give the 49ers pause to think about keeping four tight ends if he impresses but still can't beat out one of the incumbents. He could be a strong practice squad candidate if he can't stick on the big roster.

DE/OLB LOUIS HOLMES, Arizona
The skinny:
One of the nation's premier junior college recruits two years ago, Holmes had a solid career at Arizona at defensive end, recording 73 tackles - 10.5 for loss - and six sacks in 24 games as a Wildcat. Has good size at 6-foot-4 and 263 pounds and has long arms to fight off blockers. Has some legitimate pass-rushing ability. Still a raw prospect who needs to refine his game and develop his pass-rush moves. There are questions about his motor and his football instincts and awareness.
Where he might fit in: The 49ers are looking at Holmes as an edge rusher in their 3-4 defensive scheme, a position of need that they did not address on draft weekend. Holmes doesn't have the size to play along the front of that system, so he'll have to convert to outside linebacker. While he has great size for that position, he'll have to prove that he has the speed and agility to play there.

WR ROBERT JORDAN, California
The skinny:
Had a productive college career in the 49ers' backyard at Cal, where he was overshadowed by fellow receivers DeSean Jackson and Lavelle Hawkins, each of whom was drafted during the first four rounds over the weekend. Jordan averaged 13.1 yards on 156 career receptions and has the speed to get open, and he's elusive and runs precise routes. His downfall is size at 170 pounds, and he will struggle to beat jams and get off the line at the NFL level. He doesn't have the strength to break tackles and doesn't appear to have much upside at the next level.
Where he might fit in: What Jordan has going for him is Mike Martz's offense, which is a scheme well-suited for his skills, particularly if he plays from the slot. But he'll have to show plenty this summer to make it out of training camp. Could be a practice squad candidate.

S D.J. PARKER, Virginia Tech
The skinny:
Started final 27 games of college career at free safety and was considered the anchor of a secondary that in 2006 led the nation in pass defense as Tech also led the nation in total defense. Last year as a senior, played a huge role in Tech ranking fourth nationally in total defense, finishing with career-best totals of 59 tackles, seven passes defensed and three interceptions. Career totals include 144 tackles, 16 passes defensed and five interceptions. Is a smooth athlete with a quick burst and good range. Has good football instincts, awareness and intangibles. Lacks ideal size and bulk at 5-foot-11 and 192 pounds and speed is marginal for the position at the pro level. Is a very experienced player who needs to get more physical and aggressive now that he's with the big boys in the NFL.
Where he might fit in: Parker pretty much fills the role of the late-round safety product the 49ers would have liked to have drafted if they hadn't been limited to just six selections by NFL sanctions. A very productive college player, Parker will have to hone his skills to make it at the pro level, but he should get plenty of repetitions this spring and summer and could find a practice squad berth waiting if he can prove himself worthy of it.

LB SHAUN RICHARDSON, Tennessee State
The skinny:
Had an outstanding senior season as an impact performer at defensive end, earning All-Ohio Valley Conference first-team honors after recording 46 tackles, 13.5 for a loss, seven sacks, four forced fumbles and returning both an interception and a fumble for touchdowns. JC transfer blossomed in final college season but at 6-foot-1 and 248 pounds, will have to make transition to outside linebacker in pros.
Where he might fit: Richardson displayed some real explosion as a pass rusher last year, but it's a long way up from Tennessee State to the NFL level, and he'll have to make the conversion to the 3-4 edge after playing along the front in college. But his pass-rushing skills will merit a look, and anyone who can get to the quarterback has a chance to make it with the 49ers.


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