The San Francisco 49ers landed an 18-person undrafted free agency class, and with a lot of question marks up and down the roster it’s not surprising they landed quality talent. Todd McShay had them landing four of his top ten undrafted free agents. One of them was K.D. Cannon, but even with his release, three of ten is impressive.
Mel Kiper released his own list of top 25 UDFAs, and he has the 49ers landing two of them. They include tight end Cole Hikutini and safety Lorenzo Jerome. Those two were on top of McShay’s list of best UDFAs as well. Here’s what Kiper had to say about Hikutini and James.
Cole Hikutini (Final big board rank: 104): A 6-4, 247-pound Louisville product, Hikutini dropped big time, but I thought his tape showed a Day 2 pick, and he was my sixth-ranked tight end. A knee injury kept him from drills at the combine, and he ran the 40 around 4.80 at his pro day. The Niners need talent all along their roster, and Hikutini could be a steal.
Lorenzo James (Final big board rank: 202): Jerome is short (5-10) and slow (4.70 40 at the combine), but the football just seems to find him. He had two interceptions and a forced fumble in the Senior Bowl and two more interceptions at the NFL Players Association Collegiate Bowl. Jerome had 18 career interceptions at St. Francis (Pennsylvania).
Both players could have a decent shot at landing a roster spot in 2017. The 49ers tight end depth chart is full, but aside from George Kittle nobody is guaranteed anything. The team already tried trading Vance McDonald, and it would not be surprising to see something happen by the end of training camp.
The 49ers have Jimmie Ward and Eric Reid ready likely starting at free safety and strong safety, respectively. Jaquiski Tartt will compete as a backup, but other than that, there’s not much. Adrian Colbert played some safety, but John Lynch said he will initially get a go at cornerback. There are not a lot of quality options for depth at safety, which bodes well for James’ roster chances.