With veteran Jonathan Goodwin a pending free agent, prognosticators had the 49ers looking for a center in the upcoming draft. It turns out the team’s future center has been on the squad all along.
On Thursday, the 49ers signed Daniel Kilgore, Goodwin’s backup for the last two seasons, to a three-year deal that locks him up through the 2017 season. Kilgore was a fifth-round pick in general manager Trent Baalke’s fruitful 2011 draft.
“This move is another example of our philosophy to extend the contracts of our own young players,” Baalke said in a statement.
Kilgore, 26, mostly has been used, alongside Adam Snyder, as an extra lineman in the team’s heavy-jumbo packages. He played 20 snaps last year at center. Kilgore played at Appalachian State, appearing in 48 games (29 starts) for the Mountaineers.
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Kilgore was arrested in his hometown of Kingsport, Tenn., last month on a charge of public intoxication after he and a friend were stopped while walking outside a bar. Though there is no mention of unruly or dangerous behavior in the police report, the two men were arrested “for their safety and the welfare of the public.”
Snyder and backup Joe Looney also are options at center if Goodwin is not re-signed.
Secondary spots up for grabs – Two spots in the 49ers’ secondary are set for 2014, with Eric Reid at free safety and Tramaine Brock at one cornerback spot. The other positions are open for competition – including the increasingly critical nickel role.
Carlos Rogers, due to count a team-high $8.1 million toward the salary cap, has manned the nickel spot for three seasons. Perrish Cox also played there. Cox is a restricted free agent, so the 49ers can retain him. Two others capable of moving to nickel, Tarell Brown and Eric Wright, will be unrestricted free agents next month.
Last week, during the NFL scouting combine, Mike Mayock of the NFL Network pointed out two players, TCU’s Jason Verrett of Fairfield and Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner, whohe thought could play nickel in the NFL.
Verrett was one of the standouts of the combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds, leaping 39 inches in the vertical jump and looking cat-quick and fluid throughout. Verrett, feisty and a willing tackler, would make a good slot cornerback, but he’s just 5-foot-9. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has preferred bigger players at the position. Rogers and Cox, for example, both are 6 feet.
Joyner – who played in various spots in the Seminoles’ secondary, including safety – is extremely aggressive and a very good tackler. But he also is short, just 5-8. By comparison, Donte Whitner, who measured a little more than 5-10 when he went to the combine in 2006, is considered a short safety.