Odd Named No-Names Hoping to Catch On with San Francisco 49ers

Michael ErlerCorrespondent IJuly 28, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 24:  Defensive back Jahi Word-Daniels of Georgia Tech runs with the football in practice drills during the NFL Scouting Combine presented by Under Armour at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 24, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

Dobson Collins.

Diyral Briggs.

Matthew Huners.

Jahi Word-Daniels.

Pannel Egboh.

In the immortal words of the construction worker from the movie Major League, "Who are these @#$%ing guys?"

Two weeks ago I wouldn’t know any of them from Adam.

Then I got hired for this job.

Collins is a wide receiver from noted NFL factory Gardner-Webb University and a two-time All-Big South Conference honoree.

Briggs is a two-time All-MAC linebacker out of Bowling Green University.

Huners; a guard at the University of Southern Florida, was named to last season’s All-Big East team.

Word-Daniels is a cornerback from Georgia Tech and Egboh a defensive end from Stanford.

What these men all have in common is that they signed with the San Francisco 49ers as undrafted free agents this past spring.

They, and other, more commonly-named hopefuls such as Mark Washington (linebacker—Texas State), Lewis Baker (defensive back—Oklahoma), and Alex Boone (tackle—Ohio State) will be among the unknown and unheralded long shots at training camp all eager and determined to show that all the scouts and the league’s talent scouts and network "Draftniks" were wrong about them.

The odds are considerably against these men making the team, even on a roster such as the Niners’ that isn’t exactly overflowing with Pro Bowlers.

Yet the league is filled with diamonds in the rough; guys who played well in college but for whatever reason weren’t drafted.

Kurt Warner, who quarterbacked the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl last season and led the St. Louis Rams to two others, is perhaps the most well-known example.

Others include Dallas Cowboys star quarterback Tony Romo, New York Giants Pro Bowl center Shaun O’Hara, and Philadelphia Eagles strong safety Quintin Mikell, a second-team All-Pro in 2008.   

Collins, Briggs, Huners, et al, they’re all living the dream right now, all hoping to be next big training camp success story. They’ve got their uniforms and their playbooks, football’s version of the "chip and a chair" adage in poker tournaments.

Far be it from us on the outside, crunching the roster numbers, counting up the guys we know who played decently in the past rather than the ones we don’t who may play well in the future, to cast aspersions on these gentlemen.

Whoever will be the first man cut from the Niners, it’s a given that he is infinitely more talented on a football field than I could ever fantasize about being.

It also goes without saying that whoever turns out to be that unfortunate individual, that he would easily be able to pummel me senseless if I were to get on his bad side—except maybe Alex Romero, a placekicker out of Nicholls State.

So good luck to all of them, and as long as they’re a part of the team it will be my job to know about them and to report on them.

To know them from Adam, as it were.

Backup guard Adam Snyder, that is.