Undrafted Free Agent 49ers Report
April 24 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
Undrafted Free agents are typically rarely talked about in the NFL. Their names are usually part of the transaction list, they may see a little action but for the most part their careers will end there. For the 49ers though, of past and present, it is usually quite a different story. The 49ers pride themselves on their scouting unit, and its ability to find talent in rookies even after the draft.
The team has missed on it's fair share of UDFA's too. Don't get me wrong, they bring at least ten each season and very few actually make the practice squad, let alone the roster; but several 49ers of yester-year, and of today, were/are indeed UDFA's. The team has a few guys in mind to follow the trend this season too.
Names like Zack Bronson, Derek Deese, Jr Bryant and Jeff Posey are among the elite that made it as undrafted free agents. Of course, there have been others too. The 49ers hope Oregon State RB Ken Simonton and Menlo receiver Nate Jackson will be two players who make it on to the teams roster.
Simonton is a young, short running back the 49ers feel will be able to push Vinny Sutherland for the kick return position. Simonton will see other competition too, maybe even from seventh round pick Teddy Gaines.
As for Nate Jackson, he's been on Bill Walsh's target list for an awfully long time. Walsh a long time supporter of the Menlo star was thrilled the team could sign him Jackson too was quite happy: ``I'm really excited about it,'' he said. ``This is where I wanted to be, and I feel it's where I fit in." The 49ers are looking to upgrade their receiver position, and if Jackson has anything to say about it, he will be that diamond in the rough they were looking for. ``My goal is to give them no reason to cut me,'' Jackson said. ``I don't even want to be on the bubble.''
The 49ers will add a total of about twelve UDFA's when all is said and done. Less than in years past, but hopefully that will mean more quality. The results of the 'eighth' round of the draft wont be fully known until this summer.