The 2014 NFL Supplemental Draft went down Thursday morning, and none of the four eligible players was drafted. The group included New Mexico WR Chase Clayton, North Carolina LB Darius Lipford, Va.-Lynchburg DT Lakendrick Ross, and Southern Methodist RB Traylon Shead. All four players became free agents as soon as the draft ended, free to sign with any team before training camp.
There are now rumors the 49ers might be dipping their toe in the UDFA supplemental pool. Inside Carolina, a UNC scout.com message board, is reporting that sources have told them linebacker Darius Lipford is headed to San Francisco on Monday, and plans on signing with the 49ers. They have indicated they will have more details in the next day, so we'll keep an eye out.
Our friends at Mocking the Draft put together scouting reports on all four eligible players. They had this to say about Lipford:
Lipford is arguably the most well-known player in this year's supplemental draft, but that may only be a consequence of attending a power conference school. Lipford played the bandit position for the Tar Heels and had 20 tackles, six tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Lipford was a starter for UNC in 2011 at strong-side linebacker. But a torn ACL after that season in the team's bowl knocked him out of the 2012 season. He transitioned to bandit last season while playing 10 games. He was overshadowed, though, by senior-to-be Norkeithus Otis last season.
Lipford injured his ACL in UNC's December 2011 bowl game. He then re-injured the ACL in July 2012, requiring another surgery, and costing him the 2012 season. He returned in 2013 and played in ten games. Optimum Scouting had some additional comments about Lipford:
Once he returned in 2013, he played in 10 games, mostly as the team's "Bandit" linebacker, playing more defensive end/pass-rusher roles than a regular 4-3 strong side linebacker. Despite the injury concerns and somewhat out of place position, Lipford showed plus explosiveness on the edge and when stunting as a rusher, with the requisite bend and balance during his leg drive and while engaged. Also with plus length for an NFL strong side linebacker and plus in-space athleticism to breakdown and finish as a tackler, he has the upside to contribute situationally early in his NFL career and can certainly add a good, not elite, athlete to a team's special teams unit.
The 49ers have some solid depth at the outside linebacker position, but Aldon Smith's potential suspension means the team likely wants more competition for Dan Skuta, Corey Lemonier, Aaron Lynch, and Chase Thomas.
The 49ers currently have a full 90-man roster, so if this signing happened, the 49ers would need to release someone. Al Netter seems like the logical candidate, but we'll see. It's kind of fitting that 49ers.com had this article earlier today about Trent Baalke and how even now he is still looking for ways to improve the roster.