Reports last week linked the 49ers to Darius Lipford, a linebacker who played at North Carolina and who was among the players who went unclaimed in last week’s supplemental draft. Lipford (6-2, 255) may indeed end up signing with San Francisco, but first he will work out for the team, according to a league source. Lipford is flying to the West Coast today and will work out on Tuesday.
Lipford certainly fits the profile for a 49ers’ acquisition in that he suffered an ACL tear in college, in his case during the final game of the 2011 season. He reinjured the knee the following offseason, sat out the 2012 campaign, but returned last year to play 10 games. He had 20 tackles, six tackles for loss and 2 1/2 sacks in a pass-rush role. Before he was injured, however, Lipford played strong-side linebacker, and it will be interesting to see whether the 49ers view him as more of an inside or outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme.
They have depth at both spots. Aldon Smith is expected to miss at least some games at the start of the season due to a league suspension. Still, the 49ers have Ahmad Brooks, Dan Skuta, Corey Lemonier, Aaron Lynch and Chase Thomas at outside linebacker. NaVorro Bowman almost certainly will miss time at inside linebacker as he recovers from his January ACL tear. But the team has Patrick Willis, Michael Wilhoite, Nick Moody, Chris Borland and Shayne Skov at that spot.
If the 49ers end up signing Lipford, they will have to release a player from their 90-man roster. They recently signed guard Al Netter after cutting him earlier this offseason. Rookies report for training camp on Wednesday, quarterbacks and rehabbing veterans on Friday and the rest of the team July 23. The first practice is July 24.