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Thursday, February 25, 2010
Iupati could fit for 49ers, Cardinals

By Mike Sando

INDIANAPOLIS -- Idaho guard Mike Iupati just finished making the media rounds at the NFL combine.

Mike Iupati
Mike Iupati is one of the top O-line prospects available.
He definitely looks the part.

Combine officials measured him at 6-foot-5 and 331 pounds, according to Iupati. That is prototypical NFL size and Iupati wears it well. He does not appear fat. He's very thick through the shoulders and neck.

One question on Iupati is whether he could move from left guard, his natural position, to right tackle -- perhaps with the 49ers, who could use one.

I'm not sure how wise it would be for a team to draft Iupati based on his potential ability to play a position unnatural to him. Iupati did show good mobility at Idaho, but scouts differentiate short-area quickness from the kind needed to hold up consistently against edge pass-rushers.

Much of the Iupati-related analysis has concerned the 49ers. What if he remained available when the Cardinals picked at No. 26? Might he be a value pick in that range? That might be something to consider at least as a possibility.

Left guard Reggie Wells did not have his best season in 2009 and his contract expires after the 2010 season.

Iupati appears to have the size and strength to fit well in the schemes Arizona and San Francisco are running. He also listed the Rams and Seahawks as teams he has spoken with at the combine so far.