Five undrafted prospects agree to join 49ers

The acquisition of fresh college talent continued for the 49ers into Sunday evening after the 2009 NFL draft was completed as the team agreed to terms with five prospects that were not selected during the college lottery. General manager Scot McCloughan says the team is likely to sign as many as seven more, and here's a look at the five who are coming to the team and where they might fit in.

McCloughan would not comment Sunday evening on any of the undrafted prospects until the team has a signed contract back from each player. But SFI has confirmed that these five players have agreed to sign with the 49ers, including Ohio State offensive tackle Alex Boone, who once was considered a top prospect before his stock plummeted over the past year.

McCloughan appeared to be referring to Boone when he said about the undrafted free agents who will be coming to San Francisco, "I feel really positive about our offensive line with the guys we've added, that's one of our strong points."

McCloughan said the team would probably end up signing between eight and 12 undrafted rookie prospects, and contrary to recent years when none of the team's URFAs made the team or really even was a legitimate contender to do so, McCloughan indicated several of the prospects are priority free agents who may have a legitimate shot at earning a role with the 49ers in 2009.

"I think it has a chance to be our best (group of URFAs) yet," McCloughan said.

Here's a look at each of the five who have already agreed to terms with the team:

Alex Boone


Position: Offensive tackle
College: Ohio State
Height: 6-foot-7
Weight: 328
The skinny: Boone was the most highly regarded prospect of Ohio State's entire 2005 recruiting class and was a four-year starter for the Buckeyes and a two-time All-Big 10 selection. Projected to be selected somewhere in the first three rounds if he had come out after his junior season, Boone's stock has nose-dived over the past year in part because of several dubious off-field incidents that put in question his commitment to the game. He has been arrested twice since 2006 on alcohol-related charges, and was arrested in February due to a drunken outburst during which police allege he was jumping up and down on the hoods of cars, attempted to smash the window of a tow truck and then fled police and had to be tasered twice in order to be subdued. Still, Boone has optimum size for the position, great strength and power and has considerable experience and a certain amount of accomplishment against top-level competition. If he gets his act together, he could develop into a legitimate NFL tackle.
Where he might fit in: The 49ers are giving Boone an opportunity the rest of the NFL decided to pass on during the draft, and in some ways he qualifies as the intriguing tackle prospect they failed to bring in with any of their seven picks. Boone could be a player at right tackle and there could be a roster spot available as a backup if he proves worthy. He has to get his life together if he wants to have a NFL career, but he has the physical ability to make it and the 49ers could have a real find here. Barring further implosion, he could have a legitimate chance to make the team in an area of need.


Kory Sheets


Position: Running back
College: Purdue
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 2008
The skinny: Sheets displayed some big-time production at Purdue, finishing with 3,341 career rushing yards against Big 10 competition and scoring at least 10 touchdowns in each of his four college seasons while finishing with 48 for his career. He's a tough, competitive player who runs hard and has excellent acceleration and burst. There are some holes in the package, however, and his work ethic, durability and maturity have been questioned. Still, he probably was among the final running back prospects to get left out of the draft and has the skills to make it at the next level.
Where he might fit in: Sheets will have a tough time making the roster after the 49ers drafted Glen Coffee in the third round, but he has potential as a NFL backup and special teamer who could work his way onto San Francisco's practice squad as a rookie, which would give him time to further develop and impress coaches. The 49ers will give him a legitimate look.


Pannel Egboh


Position: Defensive end
College: Stanford
Height: 6-foot-6
Weight: 276
The skinny: Was hampered by a knee problem last year but still started 10 games after starting every game the previous two seasons and leading Stanford's defensive linemen in tackles each of those seasons. Has unique size for the position with rare height, good bulk, long arms and huge hands. Can hold up against the run and has the ability to get into opposing backfields, recording six sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss in his junior season. Has some physical tools but must get tougher and more productive to make it at the pro level.
Where he might fit in: The 49ers know about Egboh because of his college proximity and he'll get a look, but he must really show he can make some kind of contribution to be taken seriously as a candidate to make the team along the defensive line. The 3-4 system doesn't seem the best kind of scheme for his skills, but he's a physical specimen that the 49ers may take a shine to and want to develop on their practice squad.


Jahi Word-Daniels


Position: Cornerback
College: Georgia Tech
Height: 6-foot
Weight: 197
The skinny: A two-year starter who missed the last six games of the 2008 season with a hamstring injury that also kept him out of the East-West Shrine Game and still wasn't healed by the NFL Combine in February. That may have affected him falling out of the draft, because he was highly regarded coming out of his promising junior season, but his senior year did not live up to expectations. Is a strong and tough player who's smooth and fluid and is a terrific leaper with decent ball skills.
Where he might fit in: The 49ers didn't draft a cornerback and lost contributing veteran Donald Strickland to free agency this year, so there could be an opening at cornerback that a prospect such as Word-Daniels could have a shot at. He must revert to the promise he displayed earlier in his college career, however, and prove that he can be consistent and durable at the pro level.


Carlos Thomas


Position: Cornerback
College: South Carolina
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 197 pounds
The skinny: Displayed outstanding speed with a clocking of 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash during his Pro Day, and like several of the prospects listed here, had a possible late-round grade entering the draft before being passed over. Thomas is an unpolished player who needs time to hone his skills but could be a late bloomer. He didn't get a lot of recognition at South Carolina as scouts paid more attention to his more accomplished teammate on the other side, Captain Munnerlyn, a junior who came out early and was rated among the top 20 cornerbacks available by some draft analysts.
Where he might fit in: Thomas was overlooked in college, but the 49ers want to give him a look and see if he can be developed as they look for another cornerback to add to their mix at the position. Thomas certainly has NFL speed, but he comes to the team as a long shot who will need to make an impression if he wants to stick around into the latter stages of training camp.


Niners Digest Top Stories