San Francisco 49ers

Meet cornerback Tarvarus McFadden, the 49ers’ ‘eighth-round’ draft pick

Tarvarus McFadden wasn't one of the 49ers' nine draft picks last week, but the 6-foot-2 cornerback from Florida State might as well be considered the team's eighth-round pick.

McFadden was one of the most sought-after free agents when the draft ended Saturday, with the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers also making a push to sign him. The 49ers offered him $90,000 in guaranteed money – top dollar for an undrafted rookie – along with a chance to learn from one of his idols.

"Actually, money had nothing to do with it," McFadden said Thursday. "Like I said, I feel like I can come in and play in this scheme right away. And I also have somebody in Richard Sherman to learn from."

Sherman is slated to start at cornerback in September with Ahkello Witherspon, a third-round draft pick last year, the top candidate on the other side.

Sherman, however, is entering his eighth season and is coming back from a ruptured Achilles tendon, and there is little proven depth behind Witherspoon. Which explains why the 49ers were to eager to land McFadden.

He fits the size and weight parameters to play outside cornerback in San Francisco's scheme, he's well-versed in man-to-man coverage from his time at Florida State, and he had eight interceptions in 2016, which tied for the most among Football Bowl Subdivision players that season.

So how does a big, physical guy like McFadden go undrafted in a pass-happy league with too few cornerbacks? First, his interception total dropped from eight to zero last season. Then he ran a tight end-like 4.67-second 40-yard dash at the combine. Only two of the 56 cornerbacks and safeties who ran the 40 in Indianapolis were slower.

McFadden said NFL teams place too much emphasis on their stopwatches and not enough on performance.

"I definitely feel like too much is put on to the 40," he said. "You turn on the film – I've actually never been ran right by. I've given up some plays, but name a corner who hasn't. I honestly don't think that the 40 should make or break these players in the draft."

The 49ers were the only team that hosted McFadden on an official pre-draft visit. He said he started watching the draft at his parents' house in Ft. Lauderdale. But before it was over, he got a sense that he wasn't going to hear his name called.

"I saw things weren't going my way, so I went home to be by myself a little bit," he said. "It was kind of emotional for me, but like I said, I've got this opportunity to be here now, so I'm going to make the best of my opportunity."

Pettis to participate – Unlike Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas before him, 49ers' second-round draft pick Dante Pettis will be able to take part in organized team activity practice sessions this spring.

Oregon, Stanford and Washington, where Pettis played, are on the quarter system and won't hold graduation ceremonies before the 49ers begin OTAs. In the past, that has prevented players from joining teammates for the full slate of practices.

A new rule adopted in the fall, however, states that teams must give players like Pettis sufficient time to do their remaining coursework and to fly them back to school for final exams. But otherwise they can take part in OTAs.

Et cetera – A hearing in Reuben Foster's misdemeanor marijuana arrest in Tuscaloosa, Ala., has been delayed until June 20. Meanwhile, a plea hearing in Foster's domestic violence-related case in Santa Clara County is scheduled for Tuesday.

The 49ers handed out jersey numbers this week. First-round pick Mike McGlinchey will wear No. 69, while Pettis gets No. 18. Among returning 49ers, safety Adrian Colbert has switched to No. 27, while pass rusher Pita Taumoepenu has No. 55.

The 49ers will hold a rookie minicamp beginning Friday. Among those taking part on a tryout basis is North Dakota State tight end/fullback Connor Wentz, who is a cousin of Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

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