The San Francisco 49ers will be reporting a roster move today or tomorrow, as word has gotten out about a practice squad addition. The 49ers have signed defensive lineman Garrison Smith, according to his agent. The 49ers still have some space on their practice squad due to numerous injury-related promotions.
Smith was an undrafted free agent out of Georgia this past year. He signed with the Miami Dolphins but was cut after a short stint on their practice squad. He signed with the New Orleans Saints practice squad on November 26, and was released by the Saints on December 16.
I came across some scouting reports, and they describe him as a guy with a quick first step, but cannot really sustain any speed. He is described as having strong hands, but is viewed by some as undersized. You can check out the following scouting reports, as well as this feature article from April.
The highlight of the feature article was this line about having lost some weight. He had gained weight after an injury late in the season, but had cut back down:
"I can look good in T-shirts," Smith quipped after Pro Day. "I can look good in a birthday suit, it don't matter. But when them pads get on, it gets real serious. In them trenches, ask about me down there. I got a lot of respect down there."
The 49ers defensive line lost some depth with Ray McDonald's release, but they have enough options opposite Justin Smith at this point with Tony Jerod-Eddie, Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial and Mike Purcell in the mix. Purcell was promoted from the practice squad following McDonald's release, so it makes some sense to replace his practice squad spot with another defensive lineman.
When the season comes to a close, there will likely be a flurry of contract signings by the 49ers and other teams. Beginning Monday, December 29, NFL teams can start signing certain players to "reserve/future" contracts. These contracts are reserved for players that are not on a team's 53-man roster when the previous season ended. This most notably applies to practice squad players. The new league year does not start until March 10, but in the meantime, these players are being "reserved" for the "future". They are guys that if they make the 49ers roster next season, they will be making league minimum money.