The 49ers reportedly have signed four undrafted free-agent rookies so far this offseason. Here's who they are and what you should know about them.
Austin Watkins, Wide Receiver, UAB
Watkins is six-foot-two, he weights 207 pounds, runs a 4.52 40-yard dash and specializes at making contested catches over the middle.
Which means he could become Kendrick Bourne's replacement. Bourne was an undrafted free agent who made a role for himself on the team as the contested-catch receiver who made tough catches on third down and in the red zone. Bourne never was fast or a big threat with the ball, but he made incredibly difficult grabs look routine.
That's what Watkins can do. In 2019, he caught 57 passes and gained 1092 receiving yards. Good numbers.
Bourne played in 11 games his rookie season and caught 16 passes. Let's see if Watkins can have a similar ascension.
Josh Pederson, Tight End, Louisiana-Monroe
A six-foot-four tight end who weighs 234 pounds and runs a 4.81. Athletically, he's nothing special, not a dominant receiver or blocker. He'll have a tough time beating out Ross Dwelley or Charlie Woerner.
The most notable thing about Pederson is father, former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson. Perhaps Josh has a future in coaching as well. I doubt he has a future on the 49ers' roster.
Elijah Sullivan, Linebacker, Kansas
Sullivan went undrafted because he's a 215-pound linebacker. But the 49ers like small linebackers. Two years ago, they signed college safety Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles as an undrafted free agent and moved him to outside linebacker. He's six-foot-two and weighs just 210 pounds. He spent a year on the 49ers practice squad, then appeared in 11 games last season. Sullivan could follow a similar path to the team.
Justin Hilliard, Linebacker, Ohio State
Hilliard is a 229-pounds linebacker who struggles in man-to-man coverage, which means he pretty much can't play linebacker in the NFL. But he was a terrific special teams player in college, so he could create a career for himself covering punts and kickoffs.