After three days of medical, physical and psychological exams in Indianapolis, on-field workouts at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine began Friday morning.
The first course of the high-calorie meal that is the combine served up offensive linemen and running backs to NFL coaches and scouts. The San Francisco 49ers are looking to to improve at both positions heading into the 2017 draft.
Seven hours of television coverage carried a barrage of workouts for NFL prospects looking to join a professional team for the 2017-18 season, including the 40-yard dash, speed stations, plus agility and skill drills.
First up Friday were the “big boys” — centers, offensive guards and tackles — to showcase their skill sets and demonstrate their abilities to perform as NFL linemen.
The 49ers are expected to address the hole at right tackle this year, so this position group would seem to warrant special attention from general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan, both of whom are in Indianapolis.
Standouts of the day:
Cam Robinson, (OT) Alabama: Standing 6-foot-6 and weighing in at 322 pounds, Robinson ran a 5.15 40-yard dash, fifth-fastest among linemen on the day.
Robinson’s vertical jump ranked in the middle of the pack at 26 inches, though his footwork looked good in agility and skill drills, showcasing why he is the second-ranked offensive tackle in this year’s draft, behind only Ryan Ramczyk out of Wisconsin. Robinson is projected to be a late first round pick by CBS Sports. If he happens to fall, he could be a player for the 49ers to target with the 34th-overall pick in the second round.
Garett Bolles, (OT) Utah: Bolles put up a blistering 4.95 40-yard time Friday. That may not seem that fast compared to other position groups, but Bolles’ time ranked him second among offensive linemen. Standing 6-foot-5, Bolles had an above-average vertical jump at 28 feet.
One concern about Bolles’ physical build is his weight. At only 297 pounds, Bolles’ lighter weight could signal an eventual move to offensive guard at the pro level. CBS projects Bolles to go in the first or second round, and could be a viable option at right tackle if Ramczyk and Robinson are off of the board.
Antonio Garcia, (OT) Troy: Garcia may not top many draft boards this year, but could be a value pick for teams looking to improve at tackle — like the 49ers.
The 6-foot-6, 306-pound turned in a 5.15 40-yard dash, placing himself in a four-way tie for fifth among offensive linemen. The most impressive part of Garcia’s workout may have been his vertical jump, 31 inches to lead all offensive linemen. Considering the 49ers’ many needs to address this season, snagging Garcia at No. 34 could be a viable plan.
One prospect missing from Friday’s workouts was projected first-round pick Ryan Ramczyk (Wisconsin). Recovering from hip surgery, Ramczyk said his surgeon believes his hip “looks really clean, really good,” and he expects to be ready for OTAs or training camp for the 2017 season.
While running back may not be at the top of the 49ers’ shopping list, there are still some legitimate candidates who would solidify the San Francisco backfield. Considering that many expect the 49ers to draft a quarterback with their No. 2 overall pick, it would make sense to add backfield depth.
Christian McCaffrey (RB) Stanford: McCaffrey took criticism when he sat out Stanford’s Sun Bowl appearance in December to save himself for the combine. McCaffrey’s plan paid off, as he delivered a 4.48 40-yard dash, tying for fourth-best among backs behind T.J. Logan (4.37) from North Carolina, Joe Williams (4.41) out of Utah, and North Carolina A&T’s Tarik Cohen at 4.42.
McCaffrey looked solid at the speed and agility stations, but struggled to get to 10 reps at 225 pounds at the bench press.
A best-case though unlikely scenario regarding McCaffrey wearing a 49ers uniform this season would be snagging him with the No. 34 pick if he falls to the second round. McCaffrey he is projected to go late in the first round of the 2017 draft by CBS Sports.
Wayne Gallman (RB) Clemson: Coming off of a national championship, Gallman presented his case at being a legitimate choice at running back. Gallman’s 4.57 40-yard dash barely cracked Friday’s 20 best times, but what sets him apart from the rest of the field is his size. Standing 6-foot tall, Gallman has a wingspan of 32-5/8 inches, second-best of any running back at the combine only behind Freddie Stevenson (FSU).
Gallman is projected by CBS Sports as a third or fourth round pick, and would be a welcome addition as a No. 2 option in the backfield. This would work well for San Francisco who already has a franchise running back in Carlos Hyde.
The combine shifts Saturday towards quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends, all positions the 49ers will be paying very close attention to.