Baalke: Late-round DBs caught 49ers' attention

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Baalke: Late-round DBs caught 49ers' attention

May 17, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE49ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEOMatt MaioccoCSNBayArea.comSANTA CLARA -- Through the typically mundane process of cataloging 40-yard dash times at pro days, the 49ers became aware of two defensive backs they targeted with late-round picks.Safety Colin Jones of Texas Christian and cornerback Curtis Holcomb of Florida A&M were solid college players, all right.Jones was a second-team Mountain West selection as a senior, while Holcomb was a first-team All-Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference honoree as a sophomore and a second-teamer his junior and senior seasons.But neither was viewed as a potential draft pick until both demonstrated NFL-quality speed at their pro days to go along with size and smarts. Then, when the 49ers checked out the video of their game action, scouts and coaches determined both had unique qualities to offer.Jones' future in the NFL is directly tied to his ability to run down on kickoffs and punts to make tackles for 49ers new special-teams coordinator Brad Seely.RELATED: The Colin Jones File
"When we went out and got coach Seely, one of the questions he had in the process was, 'Are we going to be able to carry one or two or three core (special) teams guys?'" 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said.Jones could be one of the answers to that question. In fact, Baalke said he believes Jones can be one of the NFL's elite special teams player."When you look at the measurable, he's 6-foot, 210 pounds, runs low 4.4s and you can see it on film," Baalke said during his annual film review of the team's draft picks. "He loves special teams. You look at the TCU film, covering kicks, covering punts, he's the first one down and he's not afraid of contact."Jones will learn strong safety upon his arrival with the club, but the 49ers are not expecting a whole lot from him on defense. Eventually, Baalke said, Jones might be able to develop into the 49ers' dime linebacker -- a job veteran safety Michael Lewis held until he quit the team early last season. After Holcomb's impressive showing at his pro day, the 49ers began doing some catchup work to learn more about the player who opened their eyes late in the draft process."He's similar to Phillip Adams (the 49ers' seventh-round pick in 2010 from South Carolina State)," Baalke said. "He's from a smaller school and a little unknown. But at his pro day, he has a real good workout."RELATED: The Curtis Holcomb file
The 49ers saw what they deemed as a "plus workout" from Holcomb. (Baalke declined to outline the exact measurables that caused them to take notice.) But when a player with certain size, speed and agility opens their eyes, they go back to game film to learn more about the player.Director of pro personnel Tom Gamble and his staff, including pro personnel scout Ryan Myers, compiled cutups of Holcomb that demonstrated NFL-quality attributes."What we're looking for is the quickness," Baalke said, while showing film of Holcomb. "(It's the) same thing we saw last year in Phillip when we were (scouting) Phillip -- the quickness, the close."And, then, when the 49ers dug a little deeper, they were blown away with Holcomb's intangibles. Holcomb, the eldest of eight children, was voted as a team captain at Florida A&M for each of his four college seasons."I don't know that anybody in our building has ever heard of it, a guy who's been a four-time captain at the college level," Baalke said. "He's all about football. He's a very smart young man and competitive."RELATED: 49ers' post draft depth chart
The 49ers were not disappointed in Adams' rookie season. He made the team and worked his way onto the field on defense and special teams before sustaining a broken ankle late in the season. Adams' rehab from that injury is on schedule, according to his agent and the 49ers.Holcomb, as most of the 49ers' 10 draft picks, will be required to follow the same path -- beginning with strong work on special teams. "All these guys we feel very comfortable that the value of the pick was the right value," Baalke said. "Now they have to come here and they got to do it. That's the bottom line. The picks have been made and it's up to them now to come in and prove they're worthy of where they were picked." GM Trent Baalke is scheduled to appear Tuesday at 5 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's "Chronicle Live." The program is scheduled to re-air Tuesday at 11 p.m.

49ers have already spent more in 2017 free agency than a year ago

49ers have already spent more in 2017 free agency than a year ago

Under the 49ers’ new regime, the club has already invested more in the free-agent market than a year ago under then-general manager Trent Baalke.

Just a reminder: The free-agent signing period does not officially open until March 9.

The 49ers on Friday reached a contract agreement with veteran defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, who is penciled into be a starter in the team’s new 4-3 base scheme under defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

"As soon as Earl hit the open market, he became a priority for us to sign,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement released Saturday morning. “A man of high character, he represents everything we want to be as a football team. Earl is a tone-setter who plays the game with a tremendous passion and the effort necessary to win in this league. We believe those qualities are contagious and will help to make our team stronger. We look forward to the impact Earl will have on the field, in the locker room and in our community.”

It was the first significant move under Lynch, who also signed a player with NFL experience earlier in the week.

The 49ers also added cornerback K’Waun Williams to a one-year contract. Williams served as the Cleveland Browns’ nickel back for two seasons. The Browns released him before the start of last season and he was unable to play due to an ankle injury.

Mitchell was available to be signed before the start of the new league year because the Miami Dolphins released him last week in a move to save the team $4 million in cap space.

Mitchell took four free-agent visits and after wrapping up his tour with the Atlanta Falcons on Friday, he and the 49ers quickly agreed on a four-year, $16 million contract that includes $5.5 million of money in the first year, according to a source.

Last year, Baalke did little to improve the roster for coach Chip Kelly. The 49ers, who finished 5-11 in Jim Tomsula's one season, dropped to 2-14. Just hours after the season concluded, the 49ers announced the firings of Baalke and Kelly.

The only veteran free-agent addition who stepped on the field for the 49ers last season was offensive lineman Zane Beadles. The 49ers signed Beadles in late-March to a three-year, $9.75 million contract with a $1.75 million signing bonus. Beadles had a good season for the 49ers, starting 13 games at left guard and the final three games at left tackle.

The 49ers have already shown more willingness to be aggressive under Lynch’s leadership.

Mitchell, 29, is a seven-year veteran who began his NFL career from 2010 to ’13 with the Houston Texans. He was a rookie in Saleh’s final season as assistant linebackers coach in Houston.

Mitchell joins DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Quinton Dial on the 49ers defensive line. The 49ers view Mitchell as a high-energy player who bring good character to the locker room. The signing of Mitchell could be an indication the 49ers are moving on from Glenn Dorsey, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

With 5.5 sacks in seven seasons, the 49ers do not figure to use Mitchell in passing situations. The club must try to bolster its pass rush in free agency or the draft. Last season, Buckner and Ahmad Brooks shared the team-lead with six sacks apiece. In 2015, Brooks and Aaron Lynch both led the way with 6.5 sacks.

 

Source: 49ers agree to four-year deal with former Dolphins DT

Source: 49ers agree to four-year deal with former Dolphins DT

The San Francisco 49ers agreed to a four-year, $16 million deal with defensive tackle Earl Mitchell on Friday, CSNBayArea.com has learned

Mitchell, 29, will earn $5.5 million in his first year with the 49ers. 

The seven-year veteran played in nine games last season for the Dolphins. He recorded 17 total tackles. 

Since entering the league in 2010 as a third-round draft pick with the Texans, Mitchell has appeared in 100 games between Houston and Miami, totaling 206 tackles. He has also recorded 5.5 sacks.