ORLANDO, Fla. -- Jim Harbaugh, who already has scouted two college quarterbacks this month, said he was looking forward to seeing a couple of California products – San Jose State’s David Fales and Fresno State’s Derek Carr – in the run-up to the May draft.
The two faced off in one of last season’s most entertaining games, won by the Spartans 62-52. Fales threw for 547 yards and six touchdowns, while Carr, the brother of ex-49ers quarterback David Carr, passed for 519 yards and six touchdowns.
Harbaugh attended the pro-day workouts for Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas earlier this month. He said this scouting season will be similar to 2011, when he evaluated “five or six” quarterbacks, including Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick.
Asked specifically about Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Harbaugh said: “His skill set – he sees the field like nobody I’ve ever seen see the field in college football. You’d love to work with that.”
That’s similar to the lavish comment he g made about former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, calling him “plutonium-grade raw material” before the Carolina Panthers drafted him first overall in 2011. It turns out the 49ers had no intention of drafting a quarterback in the first round that year. They are unlikely to have a shot at Manziel, who is expected to be taken in the top half of the first round May 8.
Three more years? – Running back Frank Gore is entering the final year of his contract, and at age 30, many believe this will be his final season with the 49ers.
Harbaugh isn’t so sure.
“I really think Frank has three more good years,” he said. “I truly believe that.” Then he paused. “But we’re in a game of taking it one year at a time, so … .”
Gore rushed for 1,128 yards in 2013, the third consecutive season he has surpassed 1,000 yards. He also scored nine touchdowns, the second most of his career.
Bowman better – Harbaugh has received good reports on NaVorro Bowman’s knee rehabilitation from general manager Trent Baalke, who last week talked to Bowman and the linebacker’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus. “Apparently, NaVorro’s doing really well,” Harbaugh said.
Bowman tore his ACL and MCL during the NFC Championship in Seattle on Jan. 19. Harbaugh said last month Bowman likely will begin the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
Martin’s future spot? – Can Jonathan Martin, the offensive tackle the 49ers acquired in a trade from Miami this month, play guard?
“That’s a good question,” Harbaugh said. “Coming in, it will be backing up tackles – the job he’ll be competing for. But you wonder if he can play guard as well. And we’ll take a look at that.”
The question is intriguing because of Mike Iupati’s fuzzy future. Iupati, the team’s starting left guard since 2010, will become a free agent next year.
Allen to Chicago – The Chicago Bears signed 10-year veteran defensive end Jared Allen from their NFC North rival, the Minnesota Vikings, on Wednesday. Allen is from Morgan Hill, close to the 49ers’ headquarters and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. The 49ers initially inquired about Allen, but his contract demands exceeded their salary cap space and talks never became serious.
Read Matthew Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.