The San Francisco 49ers have an open spot on their practice squad, and it might go to a rookie who won the 2016 award for best linebacker in the country. 49ers beat writer Eric Branch is reporting the 49ers are bringing in former Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware for a visit.
Boulware went undrafted this past year due to his size (6’0, 238 pounds at the Combine), and a poor showing at his Pro Day. He ran a 4.85 40, and per Branch, his vertical jump tied for the lowest among linebackers at the Combine. He signed with the Carolina Panthers after the draft, but was released this past weekend.
Boulware is actually similar in size to what NaVorro Bowman was coming out of college, but he was significantly worse in the Combine drills measurements. Lance Zierlein sees him as a guy who will need to excel on special teams to have a shot at an NFL career.
Tough and highly competitive. Has the attitude and swagger for the position but lacks the desired size and quickness. Margin for error might be too small to become a starter in the league, but his potential on special teams could be a way to open the door to an NFL career.
There is one other reason to bring Boulware into the fold. He spent training camp with the Panthers, so he likely has a good idea of their defensive playbook. 2016 film provides a lot of information, but if they are making any notable changes, Boulware could provide some insight in that regard.