Last year’s pro day at San Jose State attracted 48 scouts, 10 assistant coaches and one head coach, Chip Kelly, most of whom were in town to see running back Tyler Ervin.
This year’s attendance was more modest – roughly 10 teams sent scouts, including the 49ers, who as the de facto home squad had a large contingent. The Jaguars, Falcons. Chiefs, Giants, Broncos and Colts were among the other teams who sent scouts.
Why the lower turnout?
There’s no must-see prospect like Ervin or like quarterback David Fales in 2014. The school also typically schedules its pro day the same week that Stanford and Cal have their workouts. That way a scout or general manager who flies to the west coast can hit all three on his trip.
This year, however, USC scheduled its pro day March 22, the day San Jose originally hoped to holds its session. Rather than compete with the Trojans, who have eight draft-eligible players, the Spartans held theirs’ today.
The standout may have been a fullback, Shane Smith, who set a school record with 36 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press and also had a vertical leap of 37 inches. Smith, who measured 6-1, 244 pounds, was Ervin’s lead blocker in 2015 when Ervin set the school’s rushing record with 1,601 yards. Smith also had a team-best 10 1/2-foot broad jump and ran his 40-yard dash in 4.77 seconds.
The Texans drafted Ervin in the fourth round last year. A power-running squad should take a look at Smith in the offseason.
Another prospect scouts are curious about is linebacker Christian Tago, who led the team in tackles in 2015, including nine behind the line of scrimmage. Tago still was recovering from an offseason procedure to clean up his knee when his senior year began and he sat out the team’s first three games of 2016. He had 26 repetitions on the bench press and ran his 40 in 4.78 seconds. The Packers, Steelers, Raiders and Redskins have inquired about Tago, his agent said.
Tight end Billy Freeman also could wind up on a 90-man roster this offseason. He ran his 40-yard dash at times of 4.7 and 4.74 seconds and looked good in drills.
Receiver Tim Crawley, who had 55 catches for 648 yards in 2016, had a 35-inch vertical leap and was timed at 4.68 seconds in the 40. After the session, he met with the Browns and Falcons.
Defensive end Isaiah Irving measured 6-3, 255 pounds. He had a vertical leap of 36 inches and ran his 40 in 4.81 seconds. He had 11 tackles for loss last season to go along with seven sacks.
Free agents – The 49ers are keeping their eye on some of their own free agents, including receiver Rod Streater and running backs DuJuan Harris and Shaun Draughn. Another player in that category – and one getting attention from other teams – is cornerback Marcus Cromartie, who visited the Lions over the weekend. He also has received interest from the Seahawks, Jets and Eagles.
The 49ers declined to tender Cromartie as a restricted free agent, which would have meant a $1.8 million salary. Still, he’s tall and physical, and seems to be a good fit in their new defense, which emphasizes press coverage and uses taller cornerbacks. That’s presumably why the Seahawks are interested in him.