San Francisco 49ers

RB Tyler Ervin draws crowd, including 49ers Chip Kelly and Tom Rathman

Tyler Ervin works out for 49ers, other teams

San Jose State RB Tyler Ervin is considered a mid-round draft pick. He worked out in front of 25 teams on March 16
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San Jose State RB Tyler Ervin is considered a mid-round draft pick. He worked out in front of 25 teams on March 16

SAN JOSE -- Scouts and coaches from 25 NFL teams were on hand Wednesday to watch San Jose State running back Tyler Ervin at his pro day, including a large contingent of 49ers that included head coach Chip Kelly, offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins and running backs coach Tom Rathman.

A trio of running backs coaches -- Rathman, the Steelers' James Saxon and the Raiders' Bernie Parmalee -- put Ervin through a workout that included plenty of pass-catching drills as well as punt and kick returns.

Wednesday’s session also featured offensive lineman Wes Schweitzer and longsnapper Ryan DiSalvo among others. Eric Wolford, the 49ers' assistant offensive line coach, and defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro were on hand, as was senior player personnel coordinator Ethan Waugh.

Ervin was the focal point of the Spartans offense last season and was the main attraction Wednesday. In 2015 he ran for 1,601 yards, caught 45 passes for 334 yards and averaged 23.9 yards per kickoff return. His rushing total included a 300-yard effort against Fresno State and 160 yards against Auburn in back-to-back games.

Scouts like him because he has the quickness of a small tailback but runs between the tackles with the power of a bigger man. Ervin weighed 188 pounds Wednesday, which is four pounds less than what he weighed at last month's scouting combine.

There's no doubt about his speed. He ran his 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds last month in Indianapolis. But teams wonder how well he'll hold up in the NFL at around 190 pounds. He is considered a third-round prospect.

Ervin did not run the 40 again on Wednesday. He did take part in the short and long shuttles as well as the three-cone drill. He posted times of 4.34, 11.81 and 7.03 seconds respectively.

Kelly made great use of small, shifty running backs at the University of Oregon, including LaMichael James, a 2012 draft pick by the 49ers. Darren Sproles, who measures 5-8, 190 pounds, caught 90 passes in Kelly's Philadelphia Eagles offense over the last two seasons.

With the 49ers, he has a couple of options for that role. DuJuan Harris was a late-season addition in 2015 who played well in a short span. Kelly also has said he’s excited by receiver Bruce Ellington, who has worked with the 49ers running backs from time to time over the past two seasons.

San Francisco certainly wasn't the only team eying Ervin.

Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was on hand for Wednesday's workout and spoke with Ervin for 10 minutes when it was over. Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter also attended.


The crowd at San Jose State also may be related to Stanford and Cal having their pro days this week. Kelly said he planned to attend Stanford’s pro day Thursday and Cal’s pro day on Friday.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at