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49ers get solid grade for UDFA haul

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The 49ers have fewer roster spots open than a year ago.

The San Francisco 49ers are headed into OTAs next Monday, which is a big step forward for players looking to secure a starting role, or even just a complementary role. The 49ers UDFA class in particular will be looking to impress to try and build some momentum heading into training camp.

The 49ers signed 14 UDFAs this offseason, with the most recent the signing of defensive lineman Blaine Woodson this past Tuesday. Woodson tried out at the team’s rookie minicamp, and joins the following UDFAs with a contract.

Jack Heneghan, QB
Jeffery Wilson, RB
Steven Dunbar, WR
Ross Dwelley, TE
Alan Knott, OL
Jamal McGloster, OL
Coleman Shelton, OL
Najee Toran, OL
Niles Scott, DT
Tarvarus McFadden, CB
Emmanuel Moseley, CB
Corey Griffin, S
Terrell Williams, S

Bleacher Report recently sat down and graded out all 32 UDFA class. They gave the 49ers a B for their haul. They specifically pointed out Dunbar and McFadden in praising the class.

The San Francisco 49ers won’t field a bunch of household names at the position for the upcoming season. As it stands, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will throw to Pierre Garçon, Trent Taylor and second-rounder Dante Pettis.

Steven Dunbar could become a lesser-known name to make plays in the 49ers passing attack. He doesn’t bring much flash and only scored 11 touchdowns in three seasons at Houston, but his routes come with sharp moves to break open. It’s a simple yet effective approach that may fit this offense.

Cornerback Tarvarus McFadden may have hurt his draft stock by not following his stellar sophomore season with an even better junior year. He snagged eight interceptions that year but didn’t record one in 2017. His 10 pass breakups didn’t bring the same excitement, even though they were an improvement on his six from 2016.

Nonetheless, ball-tracking skills don’t just vanish into thin air. At 6’2”, 205 pounds, McFadden can still impose his physicality in coverage and swat passes with his 32 ½” arms.

The cornerback position has a potential starting lineup, but enough questions that McFadden could break through for a role. Richard Sherman’s status is up in the air because of his Achilles rehab, but he seems to be making good progress. Ahkello Witherspoon will likely start in one of the outside corner jobs, with K’Waun Williams the favorite for the slot, with draft pick D.J. Reed competing for an opportunity inside. Greg Mabin looked to emerge last year before a calf injury cost him. Tarvarius Moore is moving over from safety, but has great size and length for the role. But it’s a pretty wide open competition.

On the other hand, Dunbar faces a tough uphill climb at wide receiver. Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, and Dante Pettis all seem like roster locks. That leaves one, maaaaaybe two spots on the depth chart. Kendrick Bourne, Aldrick Robinson, Richie James, and Victor Bolden are among the receivers competing for an opportunity. It’s going to be tough to break through.

I would have thought Coleman Shelton or Alan Knott might have had a chance to grab an interior offensive line spot, but the signing of Mike Person throws that for a loop. Person signed for the league minimum, so he’s certainly not guaranteed anything, but he brings solid versatility.