John Lynch’s revamped scouting department is performing their due diligence at various Pro Day’s around the country.
The Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson is reporting representatives from the 49ers met with 6-foot-6 Texas Southern pass catcher Derrick Griffin. Originally signed with Texas A&M out of high school, Griffin played football and basketball for the Tigers. He caught 36 passes for 709 yards and 11 touchdowns as a freshman, but was kicked off the team for violating rules in 2016. Griffin continued to play basketball in the winter — and was named SWAC basketball player of the year — before entering the NFL Draft in December. He’s being viewed as a hybrid tight end. There’s more on his background here.
Listen: We aren’t going to post every meeting the 49ers hold before the draft. Less than five percent of the players they meet with will end up in a red and gold jersey come training camp. Meeting with different players around the country is a strategy every team employs. The tape has been watched, now the scouts are trying to get a feel for prospects’ personalities.
The point of this post is to remind you that Kyle Shanahan has proven he can develop late round and undrafted talent into immediate contributors. That’s why the best guess is that the 49ers will focus on defense early in the draft, and look at unique athletes like Griffin in the later rounds. A reminder of the guys Shanahan has plucked past the third round: Kirk Cousins, Alfred Morris, Isaiah Crowell, Taylor Gabriel, Aldrick Robinson. As Lynch assembles the final draft board, this type of staggered grading on offensive weapons could be used.
The 49ers were linked to Martellus Bennett earlier in free agency. Vance McDonald signed an extension in December and Logan Paulsen was signed from the Bears as a blocker. The 49ers could use a young developmental project in tight ends room at the very least. Whether that’s Griffin or not, this tight end’s class is being viewed very highly in the scouting community. Expect the 49ers to dabble.
Also, if you remember correctly, the 49ers drafted another player in 2016 who was kicked off his football team: Rashard Robinson. The fourth-round draft pick had a promising rookie season and if the team is trying to develop young talent, should be starting over Tramaine Brock come September. Unless the 49ers discover some red flags in talking with Griffin, they shouldn’t eliminate him. Young men make mistakes.
Today is March 27th. The NFL Draft is April 27th. Someone start the advent calendar countdown.