Report Card Grades for San Francisco 49ers' Undrafted Free-Agent Signings

Dylan DeSimoneCorrespondent IMay 3, 2013

Report Card Grades for San Francisco 49ers' Undrafted Free-Agent Signings

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    No, I'm sorry to report that despite the photograph, San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has not signed himself to back up Colin Kaepernick in 2013. 

    But since the clock struck zero at Radio City Music Hall, the head coach and his GM, Trent Baalke, have made several interesting undrafted free-agent signings. 

    For a roster as filled out as the one San Francisco has, the UDFA market is purely supplemental. The 49ers are looking to add training camp bodies, while remaining confident that their additions will at least push the guys ahead of them.

    Though, every now and then, gems are found. 

    Tramon Williams, David Akers, Sam Shields, Donald Penn, Jason Peters, London Fletcher, Wes Welker and Arian Foster are just a handful of current NFL players that made it as undrafted free agents.

    With San Francisco's ability to evaluate and develop talent, there is an even better chance an undrafted free agent gets noticed by the staff. Out of the nine talents they brought in after the NFL draft, at least one or two will emerge as competitors in camp. 

    Head through the following slides for a list of San Francisco undrafted free agents, complete with analysis and grades. 

Lawrence Okoye, No Affiliation

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    This is a great value move by the 49ers after the draft, especially when the well has essentially run dry and most of the incoming athletic talent has been claimed by other clubs.

    At the end of the day, teams are looking for upside with UDFAs.

    At 6’6”, 304 pounds, Olympian Lawrence Okoye has a higher ceiling than most developmental prospects coaches take on as undrafted free agents. A supreme physical specimen, Okoye wowed scouts at the super regional combine.

    With his behemoth frame, the British-born record-holder for discus ran a remarkable 4.78 40-yard dash (h/t NFL.com). This sort of freakish athleticism is hard to come by, which makes him such a captivating project player at the next level.

    He also coupled the 40 time with a 35” vertical and 10’5” broad jump.

    Okoye’s broad jump would have been third at the NFL combine among defensive linemen. The only two prospects to best his mark were No. 6 overall pick Barkevious Mingo and Devin Taylor (10’8”)—and both players are considerably lighter (around 40 lbs). 

    Fortunately, despite the tantalizing measurables Okoye showed off in front of scouts, not one NFL team was willing enough to even spend a seventh-round draft selection for his exclusive rights.

    Without a doubt, this was an element the 49ers were hoping would play out. Shortly thereafter, Jim Harbaugh and Co. would swoop in for Okoye on Day 3. San Francisco wound up with a world-class athlete that they don’t have to rush to play. 

    Okoye will immediately get to work with Jim Tomsula, the acclaimed defensive line coach for the 49ers. 

    In 2013, a 21-year-old Okoye will be putting pads on for the first time, making him a legitimate side project in San Francisco. He will take time to develop, learning the nuances of the NFL game. 

    However, in a year or two, Okoye could be a weapon for this defense and perhaps an effective 3-technique lineman once Justin Smith has moved on.

     

    Grade: A+

Luke Marquardt, OL, Azusa Pacific

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    This was a fine signing the 49ers made, and one that makes complete sense for a team looking for edge protectors.

    When primary backup G/T Alex Boone was promoted to the starting right guard position, it left San Francisco with shallow depth at tackle.

    Hailing from Azusa Pacific, Luke Marquardt is a 6’8”, 315-pound prospect that competed at the regional scouting combine. With his size and 34.5” arms, Marquardt possesses the prototypical height and length for the position.

    Like a similarly built Boone before him, Marquardt has the frame to evolve into an imposing offensive lineman.

    As a towering player, he has the ability to add weight but potentially maintain that athleticism that is such an asset to his game. A converted tight end, Marquardt has the quick feet to slide and pick up blazing edge rushers.

    He also has the ability to come down on defenders and pin them to ground. 

    According to NFL.com, Marquardt’s size and length made him a potential mid-round selection with upside. But often with players this size, leverage becomes a recurring question.

    Although, if he can play with good bend and get comfortable sitting back in his stance, it can work. The 49ers have proved this already. Again, San Francisco just converted 6’7” backup OT Alex Boone to the starting right guard—a position where even less height is required due to the fear that it will obstruct passing lanes.

    This coaching staff had success with Boone, a similarly sized player at the same position at Marquardt. This shows faith that the 49ers can develop the former Cougar and fill out the depth along the offensive line.

    Marquardt has been an anchor before and could be a potential swing tackle for San Francisco.

    I like this signing and think it’s a win. As an undrafted free agent, Luke Marquardt may actually wind up sticking around.

     

    Grade: B+

Patrick Omameh, OL, Michigan

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    No surprise here: Jim Harbaugh finds yet another Michigan man.

    The 49ers head coach is awfully fond of that Big Ten grit, especially in his offensive linemen. One of his first decisions as the new head coach was to sign Jonathan Goodwin to be the team’s starting center—another Wolverine alum.

    With Patrick Omameh, San Francisco is getting a 6’4”, 305-pound interior lineman that was a four-year varsity letterman at Michigan. As a collegian, Omameh registered 41 consecutive starts in 45 games played.

    As a well-rounded student-athlete in Ann Arbor, Omameh twice earned Academic All-Big Ten honors. The fifth-year senior was also a first-team All-Big Ten selection in his career.

    Omameh revealed to be a smart, durable and consistent player for the Wolverines, and thus, someone who could be a solid developmental prospect for the 49ers. His addition to the team will largely provide competition for Daniel Kilgore and Joe Looney. 

    Given Patrick Omameh’s track record and the Niners’ need for a center of the future, he should be on the watch list in Santa Clara this year.

     

    Grade: B-

Kevin McDermott, LS, UCLA

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    The tight end-friendly 49ers add another TE via the undrafted free-agent pool.

    Although, UCLA’s Kevin McDermott is a tight end that happens to specialize in long snapping. At 6’5”, 238 pounds, the former Bruin was never a featured starter on offense, so it would be a long shot to imagine him as such in the NFL.

    He has size for the pros, but projects as a reserve tight end and long snapper.

    McDermott played college ball from 2008-2012, having redshirted as a freshman. As one of the better performers of his craft, he earned an Academic All-Pac 12 team honorable mention.

    UCLA’s offensive coordinator, Norm Chow, originally saw potential in him as a tight end. And while the 49ers will not rule anything out, they current have Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald and Garrett Celek at the position. 

    Even more relevant to McDermott’s status with the team, San Francisco has Pro Bowl LS Brian Jennings. At 36-years-old, Jennings has been with the Niners for over a decade and still has two years left on his deal (via Spotrac).

    In 2013, Kevin McDermott will likely wind up on the practice squad, at best.

     

    Grade: C-

Sherman Carter, OL, Tennessee St.

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    With this UDFA signing, the 49ers bring in more competition and more potential depth along the offensive line.

    Sherman Carter, formerly of Tennessee State, provides a 6’3”, 304-pound interior line prospect for San Francisco. During his time with the Tigers, Carter was predominantly a center.

    Having run a 5.45 40 time at his pro day, he is more of a wide-bodied type with mediocre athleticism, although, Carter has the size and protective instincts for the position, which are strong qualities that teams look for.

    And for his level of play, Carter was a relatively decorated player, having been named a second-team All-OVC lineman. He was also a two-year captain and three-time Vernon Holland lineman of the year at TSU.

    As a senior in 2012, he earned Phil Steele All-American (FCS) Team honors.

     

    Grade: C+

Darryl Morris, DB, Texas St.

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    The 49ers are moderately loaded in the defensive backfield at the moment, which is the reason the team only felt pressured to add one more player at the position following the draft.

    San Francisco signed the 5’10”, 186-pound DB Darryl Morris of Texas State.   

    Morris is a small, fast cover corner that projects well for the nickel given his dimensions. There is not a ton of information of Morris, outside of a single impressive senior season with the Bobcats.

    In 2012, Morris piled up 56 tackles (two TFL), four interceptions and nine pass breakups. He went on to earn second team All-WAC honors, finishing top five and top 10 in the conference in picks and deflections.

    According to the report on Morris via NFL Draft Scout, the Texas State corner ran a low 4.29 at the pro day. 

     

    Grade: B-

MarQueis Gray, QB/WR, Minnesota

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    After the draft, the 49ers revealed they were still in the market for offensive weapons, signing Minnesota’s MarQueis Gray.

    At 6’3”, 240 pounds, Gray has very solid dimensions and playmaking ability.

    During his four years with the Gophers, Gray moved around, spending time at QB and WR. Having registered two years at each position, he brings versatility and a three-dimensional understanding of how to attack defenses. 

    A couple months back in Indianapolis, Gray clocked a 4.73 40 time at the regional combine. This is not spectacular for a receiver, but it is solid for a quarterback or tight end, which Gray has the frame to become.

    He left Minnesota with 2,053 career passing yards, boasting an uninspiring 14-11 TD-INT ratio. The 49ers will likely have him compete with the wide receivers and special teams unit, though.

    As a rushing and receiving threat, Gray accrued 2,497 yards from scrimmage, which included 18 total touchdowns. In San Francisco’s innovative offense, he projects as a multifaceted weapon.

    If you’re looking for a player comparison, Gray is a poor man’s Denard Robinson or Josh Cribbs. In his first year with the 49ers, Gray has potential to be a receiver, return specialist and X-factor that operates out of the backfield.   

    Of course, that all hinges on whether or not he makes the team.

     

    Grade: B-

Chuck Jacobs, WR, Utah St.

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    San Francisco continues to do their due diligence, thoroughly studying potentials from the unheralded WAC conference.

    The 49ers found two high-caliber starting offensive players from the conference, having drafted both Mike Iupati (Idaho) and Colin Kaepernick (Nevada). With proven results, the Niners don’t mind tapping the source.

    They signed another wide receiver in Chuck Jacobs of Utah State.

    At 6’0”, 178 pounds, Jacobs played in 25 games for the Aggies, developing over his junior and senior years. In that time, he caught 61 balls for 826 yards and seven touchdowns (13.5 YPC).

    Transitioning from his junior to senior season, Jacobs nearly tripled his production, showing his game is on the rise. It was a big final season that saw him earn All-Conference honors in 2012.

    He led his team with 41 receptions for 608 yards and five scores. Jacobs also ranked third in the WAC and 41st in the nation in kick returns (24.1 YPA). Plus, he ranked eighth in the conference in all-purpose yards (93.8 YPG).

    Over his collegiate career, Jacobs had 42 kick returns for 1,020 yards (24.3 YPA).

    So, the contributions can come from all over. And by all accounts, the Utah State product is a legitimate speed guy. According to NFL Draft Scout, Jacobs ran in the 4.4s at his pro day.

     

    Grade: C+

Mike Purcell, DL, Wyoming

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    The 49ers find a blue-collar guy originally from Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

    Wyoming defensive tackle Mike Purcell signed with San Francisco after the NFL draft, capping off the team’s UDFA class for the moment. 

    Coming out of high school, Purcell was originally recruited by Boise State, BYU, Colorado State, Hawaii, New Mexico, UCLA, Utah and Utah State (h/t Wyoming Football). 

    At 6’3”, 303 pounds, Purcell would go on to be a three-year starter for the University of Wyoming. 

    In 39 games played with the Cowboys, Purcell accrued 197 career tackles, 15.0 TFL, 4.0 sacks and three forced fumbles. This was a player that made splash plays and was generally disruptive in the trenches.

    His ability to anchor the line and help slow down offenses earned him All-Mountain West Conference honors. Purcell was also a three-time letter winner during his run with Wyoming.  

     

    Grade: B-

     

    Dylan DeSimone is the San Francisco 49ers' lead columnist for Bleacher Report. A former NFL journalist and fantasy football writer for SB Nation, Niners Nation and SB Nation Bay Area, Dylan now writes for B/R.

    To talk football with Dylan, follow him on Twitter @DeSimone80