The 49ers hosted a large crew of draft prospects Wednesday, including LSU running back Leonard Fournette, Iowa tight end George Kittle, Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers and Florida cornerback Teez Tabor. Another safety prospect, Connecticut’s Obi Melifonwu, visited Tuesday.
Wednesday was the final day for teams to hold a visit at their headquarters. Teams can bring in as many as 30 prospects from out of town. Local players are permitted to work out at the facility, which the 49ers did with Cal quarterback Davis Webb and Cal receiver Chad Hansen, and with highly rated cornerbacks Kevin King of Washington and Chidobe Awuzie of Colorado.
Wednesday’s visitors included:
▪ Fournette: The big running back is considered the top player at his position in this year’s draft and there has been chatter for two months that the 49ers would take him with the second overall pick. Fournette (6 feet, 235 pounds) is likely best as a between-the-tackles bruiser, but he showed good hands at his pro day earlier this month. Coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense works best with a tailback who can catch.
▪ Kittle: He played in a pro-style offense at Iowa and already is adept at blocking. Kittle (6-4, 247) also put up impressive numbers at last month’s scouting combine, running his 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds – third-best among tight ends this year – and posting an 11-foot broad jump. Kittle had 22 catches for 314 yards and four touchdowns in 2016 despite being slowed by a foot injury the second half of the season.
▪ Melifonwu: He’s a big-bodied safety (6-4, 224) who could perhaps fill the strong-safety role in San Francisco that Kam Chancellor plays in Seattle. Other teams are interested in whether Melifonwu, who ran his 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds, can become a press cornerback. Melifonwu had perhaps the most impressive scouting combine of any prospect in 2017, coming up with the top mark in the vertical jump (44 inches) and broad jump (11 feet, 9 inches). He’s also visited the Seahawks.
▪ Peppers: He played inside linebacker last year because Michigan needed his speed at that position. But he has the size (5-11, 213) of a safety, which he played his first two seasons in Ann Arbor. Peppers also is an excellent punt returner, averaging 14.8 yards last season with a touchdown. Like Melifonwu – and LSU’s Jamal Adams, who also visited – he could play the strong safety position in San Francisco and also work as a nickel cornerback.
▪ Tabor: He’s one of several cornerback prospects the 49ers have taken a look at who have the size (6-0, 199) to play press coverage in the team’s new defense. Tabor’s 40 time at the combine, 4.62 seconds, was concerning and scouts wonder about his ability to run with receivers deep down field. However, Tabor was productive throughout college, finishing last year with four interceptions and six pass break-ups.