The offseason comes to an end this week for the 49ers as the coaching staff is scheduled to return from vacation this week while the rookies have reported to training camp.
San Francisco returns the majority of its starters from the NFC Championship game, but that doesn’t mean every role on the team is taken. And with the way this team has been handicapped by injuries under Kyle Shanahan, you never know when a younger player will get have his number called.
It’s not unusual for undrafted free agents to contribute for the 49ers. Emmanuel Moseley earned himself another contract with the Niners and, if not for a severe knee injury, likely would have been among the highest-paid cornerbacks last free agency.
Jeff Wilson Jr., Matt Breida, the list goes on. But as the roster has strengthened, opportunities haven’t been few and far to come by for draft picks, let alone the players who were undrafted. Will that change this year?
San Francisco agreed to terms with 11 UDFAs after the draft. Here they are:
RB Ronald Awatt -UTEP
FB Jack Colletto-Oregon St
OL Joey Fisher -Shepherd
CB D’Shawn Jamison -UT
RB Khalan Laborn -Marshall
OL Corey Luciano -Wash
OL Ilm Manning -Hawaii
LB Mariano Sori-Marin -MINN
DL Spencer Waege -NDSU
WR Shae Wyatt -Tulane
S Avery Young -Rutgers
Sori-Marin out of Minnesota has since been waived due to an undisclosed injury.
The 49ers added veteran depth along the offensive line during free agency in Jon Feliciano and Matt Pryor. Between those two, Jason Poe, Jaylon Moore, and last year’s sixth-round pick Nick Zakelj, the offensive linemen have an uphill battle to steal a roster spot.
Fisher’s athleticism is impressive and finished his blocks at a spectacular rate in college. But the jump from Shepherd University to practicing against the 49ers defensive line every day for a month may be too much of an adjustment for Fisher.
While most options are long shots, Jamison has the best resume. I’m only slightly joking when I say this, but he’s an alum from the same school as Shanahan. More importantly, he plays a position that can help the 49ers. In fact, he plays multiple positions.
Despite being small in stature at 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, Jamison ran a 4.41 40-yard dash, with a 3.90 short-shuttle, and a 38” vertical jump. Each of those numbers are elite. If you’ve watched his highlights from Texas, you’ll see a ball-hawking defensive back who is an exceptional returner.
If you can help a team on special teams, your odds of making a roster soar through the roof. Jamison only had one career return for a touchdown, but he averaged over 25 yards per punt return as a sophomore, and had two seasons averaging more than 30 yards as a kick returner.
Speed translates. But those aren’t the only boxes Jamison checks. He was a fifth-year senior who played in at least 10 games in every season. So we have an uber athletic experienced defensive back that had 17 pass breakups and six interceptions in a Power 5 conference.
That’s the profile I’ll bank on making a name for himself during training camp. You can never have enough cornerbacks.