San Francisco 49ers

49ers discards: Seahawks claim NT Garrison Smith, Bengals grab QB Jeff Driskel

Denver Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) is pushed down by San Francisco 49ers' Garrison Smith, right, after Sanchez fumbled in the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, in Denver.
Denver Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) is pushed down by San Francisco 49ers' Garrison Smith, right, after Sanchez fumbled in the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, in Denver. AP

Nose tackle Garrison Smith, whom the 49ers released on Saturday, was signed by division rival Seattle on Sunday, one of four discarded 49ers who were added to other teams’ 53-man rosters.

The Bengals signed quarterback Jeff Driskel, the Browns landed outside linebacker Corey Lemonier and the Eagles -- Chip Kelly’s former squad -- added rookie receiver Bryce Treggs.

Smith was one of two preseason defensive standouts for the 49ers, especially during an Aug. 20 game against in Denver when he was forced into the contest early due to injuries along the defensive line. He finished fourth on the team in tackles this summer and was Pro Football Focus’ top-rated interior defensive lineman. He spent 2015 on the 49ers practice squad.

Last season the Seahawks’ roster included 26 players who began their NFL careers as undrafted free agents, the league’s most. Smith went undrafted out of Georgia last season. Seattle also acquired safety L.J. McCray -- undrafted in 2014 -- in a trade with the 49ers on Saturday.

Another player who excelled in the preseason for San Francisco, outside linebacker Marcus Rush, was not claimed. He joined the 49ers practice squad, which is where he also spent last season.

Driskel, meanwhile, went through most of the summer as the team’s third quarterback. However, he threw two interceptions in the preseason finale against San Diego and was leapfrogged by veteran Christian Ponder, whom the 49ers added Aug. 16. The 49ers have three quarterbacks -- Blaine Gabbert, Colin Kaepernick and Ponder -- on their 53-man roster but had planned to put Driskel on the practice squad.

Meanwhile, the Browns claimed Lemonier, a third-round pick by the 49ers in 2014. Lemonier was released Saturday. The Eagles claimed Treggs out of Cal.

Treggs was one of the few draft prospects Kelly took an interest in personally -- guard Joshua Garnett and receiver Devon Cajuste were the others -- and was having a strong training camp before suffering an MCL tear Aug. 20. The 49ers liked Treggs’ speed and felt he was a good fit for the role of slot receiver.

Cajuste was added to the Packers’ practice squad.

Practice squad formed -- The 49ers signed nine players, all of whom spent the offseason with them, to their practice squad: Offensive linemen Alex Balducci, Fahn Cooper and Norman Price; linebackers Rush and Shayne Skov; receiver Dres Anderson; running back Kelvin Taylor; tight end Je’Ron Hamm and cornerback Prince Charles Iworah.

A 10th, former Cal receiver Chris Harper, is expected to be added to the list. Harper spent time on both the Patriots’ active roster and practice squad last year.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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