Every NFL team is allotted 30 official “visits” with college players in the runup to the draft. The 49ers tend to use those visits on smaller-school prospects who don’t get as much attention during the college season, on prospects with character concerns, and on players they might want to take with their first-round pick. (See list below).
Their dance card so far ...
Arik Armstead, DL, Oregon
6-7, 292, 33-inch arms
The key word when it comes to Armstead is ‘potential.’ He wasn’t ultra-productive last season at Oregon, recording just 2 1/2 sacks (although he did have 16 quarterback hurries). But his combination of size and athleticism is rare, and teams that like Armstead will believe they are catching a rising star as he begins his ascent. The 49ers seem to have an abundance of defensive linemen even if Justin Smith retires. Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial and Tony Jerod-Eddie all show promise but are thus far unproven. First reported by: The Bee.
Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn
6-1, 212, 33 3/8
Coates is a big, strong receiver who played in the nation’s toughest conference and ... wait for it ... he has the long arms that general manager Trent Baalke covets. What sets Coates apart from some of the other speedsters in the draft is that he has some heft and, despite his long arms, was able to manage 23 repetitions in the bench press. He also played through knee injuries to have an impressive week at the Senior Bowl. Do the 49ers need another down-field receiver after signing Torrey Smith to a five-year contract? That’s the question. Coates is likely to be picked in the second round; the 49ers have the 14th pick in that round. National Football Post.
Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
6-1, 203, 32 1/8
Collins is one of several cornerbacks the 49ers could tap in the first round, and he has the length that Baalke likes. However, he only started one of his three seasons at LSU and has three interceptions during his time there. There’s also a general concern about cornerbacks: The leap from college to the NFL has become more and more dramatic and rookies rarely have a big impact in Year 1. They need time to develop and adjust to the NFL’s ticky-tacky rules. Fox Sports.
Ricky Collins, WR, Texas A&M Commerce
Collins helped Texas A&M Commerce set a Division II record for total offense – 986 yards – in a 98-20 win over East Texas Baptist to open the 2014 season. He had four catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns in that game. He finished with 71 catches for 1,187 yards and 14 touchdowns, which ranked ninth in Division II in receiving yards. Teammate Vernon Johnson finished sixth with 77 catches, 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns. Both could be drafted. The Bee.
Paul Dawson, LB, TCU
6-0, 235, 31 1/2
Dawson may not look the part – he’s slightly undersized for an NFL inside linebacker and had a slow 40 time in Indianapolis, but he was ultra-productive at TCU and was named the Big 12’s defensive player of the year for 2014. The 49ers, of course, need to replenish their ILB coffers after losing Patrick Willis and Chris Borland in the offseason. The second or third rounds look to be the spots to strike. Dawson, Clemson’s Stephone Anthony, Miami’s Denzel Perryman, UCLA’s Eric Kendricks and Mississippi State’s Benardrick McKinney all could be taken in that range.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland
6-0, 195, 31 1/4
Diggs’ season ended with a lacerated kidney as well as a one-game suspension that occurred when Maryland’s team captains wouldn’t shake hands with Penn State’s team captains. In the ensuing melee, Diggs made contact with an official. He finished the season with a big game – 10 catches for 138 yards – against Stanford in the Foster Farms Bowl. Diggs also has experience returning kicks and punts. The Baltimore Sun.
Chris Dunkley, CB, South Florida
Dunkley moved from wide receiver to cornerback for the start of the 2014 season at the suggestion of head coach (and Jim Harbaugh best bud) Willie Taggart. That implies that he’s a bit of a project. He also has return-man experience, averaging 22.6 yards per kickoff return in 2013 and 24.2 yards per punt return, including a 50-yard punt return for a touchdown. He was suspended for the final seven games of the 2012 season after being arrested and charged with domestic battery. Tampa Bay Times.
Devin Funchess, WR/TE, Michigan
6-4, 232, 33 1/2
Tight end or wide receiver? That's the question surrounding Funchess, who spent his first two seasons at Michigan at tight end before switching to wide receiver a year ago. Big receivers usually are tough to evaluate. Some turn out to be busts because they can't get separation on defensive backs. Others -- the Bears' Alshon Jeffery, for example -- do quite well.
Eddie Goldman, DL, Florida State
6-4, 336, 33 1/8
He’s one of the few (known) players visiting the 49ers who could be taken at pick No. 15. The 49ers could figure that with the top receivers, cornerbacks and edge pass rushers gone, the safest bet would be to take another defensive lineman. Goldman is similar to the 49er’ other d-lineman in that he could handle a variety of roles. However, he seems closer to their nose tackles, Glenn Dorsey and Ian Williams, who already are sharing a position that traditionally hasn’t gotten a lot of playing time in the 49ers’ system. NFL.com.
Deontay Greenberry, WR, Houston
6-1, 211, 31 1/4
The Fresno product had 841 receiving yards and six touchdowns last season and 2,612 yards and 20 touchdowns for his career at Houston. He has very good size and could be a late-round – or priority free-agent – pickup for the 49ers. The Fresno Bee.
Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut
6-1, 199, 32
A long cornerback whose length is complemented by his ability to get airborne. Jones leaped 44 1/2 inches at the scouting combine and had a broad jump of more than 12 feet. Like former 49er Chris Culliver, Jones is a former safety who converted to cornerback. Unlike Culliver, he was a team captain with the Huskies and reportedly a solid leader in the locker room.
Brock Lutes, TE, Bemidji State
He was offered a scholarship from Washington State to play football, but his grades weren’t up to snuff and he played basketball instead. He seems to have the body of a tight end but will need plenty of development after being on the hardwood for four years. Still, the 49ers can afford to take on this project, especially at tight end, which has all sorts of question marks in coming years. The Bee.
Lorenzo Mauldin, OLB, Louisville
6-4, 259, 33
Mauldin is a hard-working, long-armed outside linebacker prospect who may not have the athleticism of those expected to go early in the draft. The 49ers absolutely could stand to add another pass rusher. Aldon Smith is on a one-year contract while Ahmad Brooks is on the wrong side of 30. Both are coming off down years. FOX.
Vince Mayle, WR, Washington State
6-2, 224, 31 3/4
In scout speak, Mayle has both a high floor and a high ceiling. That is, he offers size and good hands and played special teams for the Cougars, so the 49ers know he’ll bring some value to the squad. He also played basketball – point guard – his first two seasons of college and doesn’t have a lot of experience as a wideout. With Anquan Boldin heading into the final year of his contract, the 49ers need to develop a bigger-bodied receiver adept at short and intermediate routes. The Bee.
DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
6-3, 209, 33 1/4
Parker is considered one of the Top 3 receivers in the draft, a player whose combination of size, speed and burst makes him a possible No. 1 wideout in an NFL offense. The problem for the 49ers: Will Parker be on the board when they pick? The Dolphins are one slot ahead of them and also could use a wideout. The Bee.
Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
6-0, 197, 31 1/2
Peters and Michigan State’s Trae Waynes are considered the best cornerbacks in the draft. Peters, however, has character concerns that might cause him to drop farther than Waynes. That’s what makes his visit with the 49ers so critical. If he can convince general manager Trent Baalke, coach Jim Tomsula and secondary coach Tim Lewis that he is coach-able, he becomes a definite target for them at pick No. 15. The fact that the 49ers have a solid position group led by two mature, well-regarded safeties, Antoine Bethea and Eric Reid, doesn’t hurt Peters’ prospects. The Bee.
Jeremiah Poutasi, OL, Utah
6-5, 335, 34
Poutasi has a lot of similarities to Mike Iupati, who left for the Cardinals in free agency and whose left guard position the 49ers must fill. The team has plenty of candidates, including Erik Pears, Brandon Thomas and Marcus Martin. Like Pears, Poutasi also can play tackle, his position at Utah. The Bee.
Tory Slater, DL, West Georgia
Slater warrants a visit because he played at a small school and had eye-popping measurables at his pro day: a 35-inch vertical leap, a 10-3 broad jump and 31 reps on the bench press. Slater had 10 sacks and 16 1/2 tackles for loss last season, the kind of production NFL evaluators want to see in a small-school prospect. However, he remains raw and the 49ers will want to figure out how much development he’ll require and thus which round they might be willing to take him. I’m sure Baalke is dying to measure Slater’s arms. National Football Post.
Devon Smith, WR, Ohio State
6-1, 196, 31
He was perhaps the best deep threat in college football last season with half of his catches on plays of 25 yards or more. The 49ers want to go down-field more often this season and are obviously interested in adding another burner beyond free-agent acquisition Torrey Smith. The Bee.
Donovan Smith, OT, Penn State
6-6, 338, 34 3/8
He has good length and very long arms, which likely caught Baalke’s eye. Though he played left tackle at Penn State, some believe he is better suited for guard. If drafted, he could fill the role of swing tackle in the future. Smith likely is a Day 2 selection. The Baltimore Sun.
Darren Waller, WR, Georgia Tech
6-6, 238, 33 1/4
Waller fits the mold of past Georgia Tech wideouts, including another one in this draft, DeAndre Smelter, in that he’s big, physical and can do damage downfield. Some teams are looking at him as a tight end, though Waller told Sirius XM radio that the 49ers see him as a wideout. He’s expected to be taken in the fourth or fifth round.
Note: Texas Southern CB Tray Walker had been listed here but it turns out that he did not make an official visit.
2010: Anthony Davis – yes
2010: Mike Iupati – yes
2011: Aldon Smith – yes
2012: A.J. Jenkins – yes
2013: Eric Reid – no.
2014: Jimmie Ward – yes
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.