San Francisco 49ers Get Local Playmakers as Undrafted Free Agents

Feb 27, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Stanford Cardinal wide receiver Devon Cajuste catches a pass during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Stanford Cardinal wide receiver Devon Cajuste catches a pass during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

The San Francisco 49ers have signed a couple local playmakers as undrafted free agents.

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Just because the NFL draft is over doesn’t mean the fun has to end to. There are tons of undrafted free agents for teams to fight over, and the San Francisco 49ers picked up two local kids within hours of the draft ending. They picked up former California Golden Bear wide receiver Bryce Treggs and former Stanford Cardinal wide receiver Devon Cajuste.

Treggs and Cajuste are polar opposites, just in terms of looks. The former Cal Bear stands 5’11” and weighs in at 181 pounds, and is more of a slot receiver that can use his speed to beat defenders and get open. The former Cardinal is 6’4″ and 231 pounds, one of the biggest wide receivers in the draft (he looks more like a tight end than a receiver), and uses that size to his advantage, picking on smaller defensive backs.

Treggs was never the number-one receiver at Cal, being paired with a lot of other very talented receivers (current New England Patriot Chris Harper, current San Diego Charger Keenan Allen, Seattle Seahawks’ seventh-round pick this year Kenny Lawler). He still managed to post some stellar numbers with the Bears, racking up 195 receptions (third in school history), 2,506 yards (fourth), and 15 touchdowns (ninth) in his four-year college career. In 2015, his 956 receiving yards led the team while his 45 catches and seven scores were both third.

The small-ish pass catcher is more of a shifty slot receiver than an outside threat, but he’s got the speed to beat defenders deep. He was not invited to the NFL Combine, but he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds at Cal’s pro day in mid-March. His hands are very reliable as well, and he had a knack for making tough catches to move the chains for Jared Goff and his offense.

Cajuste looks like the type of receiver (or tight end, if the team decides to move the Stanford product to the inside) that will be a problem for opposing defenses in goal line situations. With his 6’4″ frame and nearly 11-inch, soft hands, Cajuste is an ideal target when the field gets shorter.

Speed was a bit of an issue at the Combine, as it was for the majority of the wide receiver groups, with Cajuste running the 40-yard dash in 4.64 seconds, but he improved on that immensely at Stanford’s pro day. Cajuste ran the 40-yard dash twice, coming in at 4.44 and 4.45 seconds, respectively. Even without a great ability to make defenders miss, Cajuste’s size and speed could make him a very good target at the next level.

In four seasons with the Cardinal, Cajuste caught 40 passes for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns. His production was down a bit in 2015, but with Heisman Trophy runner-up Christian McCaffrey running all over defenses, the aerial attack took a backseat in comparison. Cajuste still managed to catch 27 passes for 383 yards and three touchdowns, all figures that were fourth-best in the Cardinal offense.

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The fact that Treggs and Cajuste both went unpicked in the 2016 draft was fairly surprising, but the 49ers did well to pick up these two players. Their passing attack is somewhat questionable, both because of the quarterback controversies and the lack of experience at wide receiver. Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert, and sixth-round pick Jeff Driskel will compete for snaps, and their receiving corps is still questionable.

With Anquan Boldin a free agent, Torrey Smith is the most experienced and successful 49ers’ receiver with 246 catches in his career. Jerome Simpson, with 148 catches, was suspended six games last season, and invisible for the rest. The other receivers on the roster have combined for 44 catches (Quinton Patton 23, Bruce Ellington 19, DeAndrew White 2, Dres Anderson 0, DiAndre Campbell 0, Eric Rogers 0, DeAndre Smelter 0).

Next: 49ers Take DeForest Buckner in Round One

If nothing else, Treggs and Cajuste will at least have chances to compete as the 49ers’ rebuild continues. Maybe their dreams can continue.