NFL Combine 2014: Day 1 welcomes offensive linemen, special teamers, tight ends

The first group of players arrive to start the NFL Combine. We break down the positions arriving, looking at their four-day schedule, what it means for the 49ers, and who to watch.

Welcome to the 2014 NFL Combine! Day 1 is underway, although given the schedule of things, it will be fairly quiet from a news perspective. There is nothing in the way of "public" events for the players. They are busy registering, going through orientation, getting some preliminary medical work done, and start up team interviews. We might get some details about the 49ers interviewing specific players, but for the most part, it will be pretty quiet.

The first group to arrive includes offensive linemen, tight ends, kickers and other specialists. The kickers and specialists will do their on-field work on Day 3, while everybody else gets to that on Day 4. Here's a rundown of the schedule for this first group:

February 19, 2014
Travel to Indianapolis* ~ Registration ~ Hospital Pre-Exam & X-rays ~ Orientation ~ Interviews
February 20, 2014
Measurements ~ Medical Examinations ~ Media ~ Interviews
February 21, 2014
NFLPA Meeting ~ Psychological Testing ~ PK/ST Workout ~ Bench Press ~ Interviews
February 22, 2014
On-Field Workout (timing, stations, skill drills) ~ Departure from Indianapolis

What does it mean for the 49ers?

This first day features positions that might not necessarily be at the very top of the draft board, but all three bring some level of intrigue. The 49ers are likely losing their starting center, Jonathan Goodwin. Daniel Kilgore is likely the front-runner at the position, but we don't quite know the 49ers long-term plans. They could extend Kilgore or Looney in that role, or they could use them short term and develop a long-term center. And with Mike Iupati a year away from free agency, guard could be worth watching.

The 49ers have four tight ends on the roster in Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek and Derek Carrier. They invested a second round pick in McDonald last year, so this does not seem like a high priority position. If they're satisfied with Celek as their No. 3 tight end, they are unlikely to invest more than some UDFA money in the position.

Kicker is a tough one to figure out until we know the team's plans with Phil Dawson. If they sign him to a new contract, there is no need to add another kicker. I think Dawson returns, but we may still be a couple weeks from figuring that out. And with Colton Schmidt on the roster, they likely already have their "camp leg" for later this year.

Players to watch

Trevor Woods put together some thoughts on a few players from this group worth watching this week:

Tight End

Eric Ebron, North Carolina

The North Carolina standout is the number one tight end in this draft class. Ebron had an impressive year at North Carolina in which he caught the eye of scouts while hauling in 62 receptions for 973 yards. Ebron is a vertical threat and should flash good speed at the combine, but he also comes with some cons to his game. He isn't the most sure handed pass catcher and will drop an open pass every now and then, he must improve catching the football. He has the ability to be a mismatch lining up in the slot or with his hand in the dirt at the tight end position. The 6'4" prospect will be selected in round one.

Jace Amaro, Texas Tech

Coming off the board next come May at tight end more than likely will be Amaro. He is arguably a bigger receiving threat than Ebron after posting eye popping numbers at Texas Tech. Amaro racked up 106 receptions, 1,352 yards receiving, and 7 touchdowns. Amaro wasn't used as a true tight end much for Texas Tech, mostly getting Jimmy Graham treatment as a slot receiver. He is a good receiver in most facets of his game but needs to improve his blocking in order to be utilized in all packages and schemes.

Offensive Line

It all starts with the big boys up front, and this class has some good options. The 49ers offensive line is pretty much set, but had a need in the middle at center. Look out for Arkansas' Travis Swanson to put together a good performance at the combine. Swanson was a Senior Bowl participant and had a good week of practices. He will be pushed by Colorado State's Weston Richburg, who also was at the Senior Bowl and did his very best to make his case as the best Center in the draft. A competition is brewing between these two and it's up to them to create some separation of their draft stock.


The best case scenario is Phil Dawson is re-signed and there is no need to draft a rookie kicker. But just in case....

The best kicker at Texas since Phil Dawson has been Anthony Fera. Fera is a tough kicker, of the Janikowski mold, standing 6'2" 208 lbs. But does he have a strong leg? Yes. Fera was 6-7 from over 40 yards this season. Fera was a Lou Groza Award finalist.

Another option is Rice kicker Chris Boswell. He has a lot of experience at the collegiate level, but his production dipped this year. While averaging around 80% of his field goals made in 2011 and 2012, this season Boswell only knocked in 66.7 percent of his attempts. While some have him ranked as the top option in the draft, I have him below Fera

Complete list of participants

OL Joel Bitonio, Nevada 
OL Russell Bodine, North Carolina 
OL Conor Boffeli, Iowa 
OL Justin Britt, Missouri 
OL Dakota Dozier, Furman 
OL Kadeem Edwards, Tennessee State 
OL Matt Feiler, Bloomsburg 
OL Cameron Fleming, Stanford 
OL Zach Fulton, Tennessee 
OL Ryan Groy, Wisconsin 
OL Jon Halapio, Florida 
OL Jonotthan Harrison, Florida 
OL Seantrel Henderson, Miami (FL) 
OL James Hurst, North Carolina 
OL Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma 
OL Gabriel Jackson, Mississippi State 
OL Ja'Wuan James, Tennessee 
OL Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt 
OL Cyrus Kouandijo, Alabama 
OL Tyler Larsen, Utah State 
OL Charles Leno, Boise State 
OL Taylor Lewan, Michigan
OL Brandon Linder, Miami (FL) 
OL Corey Linsley, Ohio State 
OL Spencer Long, Nebraska 
OL Luke Lucas, Kansas State 
OL Marcus Martin, USC 
OL Zack Martin, Notre Dame 
OL Jake Matthews, Texas A&M 
OL Jack Mewhort, Ohio State 
OL Morgan Moses, Virginia 
OL Matt Paradis, Boise State 
OL Matt Patchan, Boston College 
OL Antonio Richardson, Tennessee 
OL Cyril Richardson, Baylor
OL Weston Richburg, Colorado State
OL Greg Robinson, Auburn
OL Michael Schofield, Michigan
OL Anthony Steen, Alabama
OL James Stone, Tennessee
OL Bryan Stork, Florida State
OL Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA
OL Travis Swanson, Arkansas
OL Brandon Thomas, Clemson
OL Trai Turner, LSU
OL Billy Turner, North Dakota State
OL John Urschel, Penn State
OL Chris Watt, Notre Dame
OL David Yankey, Stanford

TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech 
TE Rob Blanchflower, Massachusetts 
TE Trey Burton, Florida 
TE A.D. Denham, Utah 
TE Joe Don Duncan, Dixie State 
TE Eric Ebron North, Carolina 
TE C.J. Fedorowicz, Iowa 
TE Crockett Gillmore, Colorado State 
TE Xavier Grimble, USC 
TE Nic Jacobs, McNeese State 
TE Marcel Jensen, Fresno State 
TE Reggie Jordan, Missouri Western State
TE A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State 
TE Colt Lyerla, Oregon 
TE Arthur Lynch, Georgia 
TE Jake Murphy, Utah 
TE Jordan Najvar, Baylor 
TE Troy Niklas, Notre Dame 
TE Jake Pedersen, Wisconsin 
TE Richard Rodgers, California 
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington 
TE D.J. Tialavea, Utah State

LS Marcus Heit, Kansas State
P Steven Clark, Auburn
P Zach Hocker, Arkansas
P Tom Hornsey, Memphis
P Richie Leone, Houston
P Cody Mandell, Alabama
P Pat O'Donnell, Miami (FL)
K Chris Boswell, Rice
K Anthony Fera, Texas
K Cairo Santos, Tulane

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