San Francisco 49ers

Former Browns defensive lineman Xavier Cooper finds home with 49ers

Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Xavier Cooper (96) pressures Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco on Sept. 18, 2016, in Cleveland. Cooper was signed by the 49ers after being waived by the Browns.
Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Xavier Cooper (96) pressures Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco on Sept. 18, 2016, in Cleveland. Cooper was signed by the 49ers after being waived by the Browns. Associated Press file

The 49ers on Sunday claimed former Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Xavier Cooper off waivers and signed two Sacramento-area natives to their practice squad.

San Francisco had 10 defensive linemen on their roster, but one, Ronald Blair, was placed on short-term injured reserve with a thumb injury. Cooper took Blair’s roster spot.

Cooper, who was a third-round pick in 2015, is listed as a defensive end. But his 6-3, 295-pound frame – and the 49ers’ depth chart – suggests he may play defensive tackle for San Francisco.

DeForest Buckner is the starter at that spot. But the linemen who played behind him this summer – Chris Jones, Quinton Dial, Sen’Derrick Marks and others – either were released or placed on season-ending injured reserve.

Cooper played both defensive end and defensive tackle at Washington State, where he had 32 1/2 tackles for loss in three seasons.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings claimed tight end Blake Bell, whom the 49ers waived Saturday. The 49ers added tight end Cole Hikutini (Pleasant Grove High School) and cornerback Asa Jackson (Christian Brothers High School) to their 10-man practice squad. They also signed former Sacramento State receiver DeAndre Carter to the practice squad.

The NFL Network reported that former Boise State tailback Jeremy McNichols will join the 49ers practice squad after he was cut by Tampa Bay on Saturday. McNichols, who rushed for 1,709 yards and 23 touchdowns last season, was a fifth-round pick by the Buccaneers.

The 49ers have just three tailbacks – Carlos Hyde, Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert – on their active roster. The runner they drafted, fourth-rounder Joe Williams, will be on injured reserve for all of 2017.

For more names on the practice squad, click here.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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