SANTA CLARA -- General manager Trent Balke not only worked out Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson on Thursday but also his equally intriguing teammate Kevin Dodd, according to league sources.
Both also are expected to visit the 49ers at team headquarters in Santa Clara in the coming weeks and might be considered dark-horse options with San Francisco's No. 7 pick. After all, at this point in the process in 2011, Aldon Smith was considered a mid first-round selection. Baalke surprised some draft observers by taking him at No. 7 that year.
Every team is allowed to host 30 players in the run-up to the draft; most of the 49ers known visitors so far are defensive players.
Lawson mostly played on the right side of Clemson's formidable defense while Dodd played defensive end on the left. Both mainly lined up in a three-point stance but also rushed the passer from a stand-up position at times.
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Lawson (6-3, 269 pounds) was one of the nation's leaders in tackles for loss last season, finishing with 25 1/2 to go along with 12 1/2 sacks. Dodd (6-5, 277) wasn't far behind. He had 23 /1/2 tackles for loss and 12 sacks and really shined in the national championship game when he had five tackles for loss and three sacks against Alabama.
The 49ers typically have preferred tall, long-armed players on the edge of their defense, and Dodd fits that mold a little better than Lawson. He's got 34-inch arms and 10-inch hands. Lawson's measured 32 3/4-inches and 10 inches.
Baalke undoubtedly put the pair through linebacker drills at Clemson. When they did so earlier this month at the school's pro day, Dodd reportedly looked like the more fluid athlete.
He might have to drop 10 pounds or so to play outside linebacker for the 49ers. He and Lawson also would be options if the 49ers traded back in the first round.
Kevin Dodd, Clemson DE
vertical: 30 1/2
short shuttle: 4.44
tackles for loss: 23 1/2
Shaq Lawson, Clemson DE
Arm: 32 3/4
short shuttle: 4.21
sacks: 12 1/2
tackles for loss: 25 1/2