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Monday, July 6, 2009
Niners add rookie linebacker to play fullback

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Undrafted rookie Brit Miller joins the 49ers' linebackers heading into training camp after the team claimed him off waivers from Carolina. I would tentatively put him in the category with players hoping to earn spots on the practice squad. Miller lacks ideal size and the 49ers have better depth at inside linebacker after drafting Scott McKillop.

Update: The 49ers intend to have Miller play fullback. He's going to have to earn his place on special teams anyway. Miller: "I won't have any trouble picking up on it because I am an offensive-minded player. I am OK playing with the ball behind me. I am going to try to do my job no matter where the ball is. I'm just trying to beat the man in front of me."

Miller had high hopes after the Panthers paid him a $6,000 bonus as part of a three-year deal. Life as an undrafted free agent tends to be an adventure, however. The Panthers waived Miller and another undrafted rookie linebacker, Mike Juergens, last week. The NFL awarded Miller to the 49ers after San Francisco placed the only claim on him.

That leaves the 49ers with 82 players, counting injured cornerback Walt Harris and four unsigned draft choices.

Miller, from Illinois, is 6 feet and 243 pounds. He was a team captain at Illinois. Pro Football Weekly's 2009 Draft Preview book called him "tough and instinctive" with good intangibles. They liked his strength, said he played hard and reacted quickly.

On the down side, Miller appeared "not very agile or quick-footed" to the point where he "could be restricted to playing on run downs" only. PFW described Miller as a "tough plugger" who "made his senior year his best and should warrant a chance to compete" in an NFL training camp.

It appears as though Miller will get that chance.