San Francisco 49ers: Derek Carrier

Much has been made about the Seattle Seahawks building their Super Bowl-winning roster on the power of undrafted free agents. Seattle had 21 undrafted free agents on their 53-man roster.

The Seahawks’ biggest competitor, the San Francisco 49ers, also have built their roster with the help of undrafted free agents. The 49ers ended the season with 16 of their 53 players being players who entered the league after not being drafted. They also have defensive tackle Ian Williams, who was on the injured reserve, as an undrafted player in their program.

Let’s take a look at the 17 San Francisco players who were not drafted:

Guard Alex Boone
Cornerback Tramaine Brock
Tight end Derek Carrier (originally signed by Oakland)
Tight end Garrett Celek
Safety Craig Dahl (Giants)
Kicker Phil Dawson (Oakland)
Defensive tackle DeMarcus Dobbs
Defensive tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie
Long-snapper Kevin McDermott
Cornerback Darryl Morris
Receiver Kassim Osgood (San Diego)
Linebacker Dan Skuta (Cincinnati)
Safety C.J. Spillman (San Diego)
Fullback Will Tukuafu (Seattle)
Safety Bubba Ventrone (New England)
Linebacker Michael Wilhoite
Defensive tackle Ian Williams

49ers rankings: 55-60

February, 3, 2014
Feb 3
We are taking a look at the top 60 players in the San Francisco 49ers’ program and will rank them from 1-60. We are going to take a look in a 12-part series, moving upward. The ranking considerations are based on 2013 production, future projections, age, and contract status:

56. Guard Ryan Seymour: The former Seattle practice-squader finished the season on the 49ers’ 53-man roster. He should get a long look in training camp. Because the 49ers would like to develop some young offensive linemen and because Seymour is versatile, he has a chance to stick around.

57. Quarterback Colt McCoy: It would be a surprise if the 49ers don’t look to upgrade from McCoy at backup quarterback. They considered it several times last season. He is a free agent. He did seem to fit in with his teammates, though.

58. Tight end Derek Carrier: He finished the season on the 53-man roster and played some. He will need to improve his strength, but the 49ers like his athleticism. He can make the team again if he has a strong training camp.

59. Wide receiver Jon Baldwin: I don’t see Baldwin having a future with the 49ers. He had three catches for 28 yards this season despite the fact the 49ers were begging for a young receiver to contribute. He was acquired in a trade for fellow former first-round pick A.J. Jenkins in August. But Baldwin never helped. I can see the 49ers cutting him to save some money.

60. Defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye: He’s an interesting prospect. A year from now, he could either be much higher on this list or off the team. The former British Olympic discus thrower is raw, but he is highly athletic, speedy and bright. The team thinks he could develop into a player. Training camp will be huge for Okoye, who was on the injured reserve list last season.

No surprises on 49ers' inactive list

December, 29, 2013
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- There isn’t much intrigue on the San Francisco 49ers’ list of inactives Sunday at Arizona.

And that’s a good thing for the team. This team is very healthy. All six of the team’s inactive players are young, depth players. The 49ers have only 52 players on the roster after putting receiver Mario Manningham on the injured reserve Friday. The 49ers are expected to fill the roster in the next couple of days.

Here are Sunday’s inactive players: tight end Derek Carrier, linebacker Nick Moody, guard Ryan Seymour, defensive tackle Quinton Dial, guard Joe Looney and receiver Jon Baldwin.

49ers' Mike Iupati returns

December, 23, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO -- Mike Iupati is back.

The San Francisco 49ers' standout left guard is active and is set to start Monday night against Atlanta. Iupati has missed the past four games with a sprained knee. Adam Snyder has taken his place.

However, backup receiver Mario Manningham is inactive. He has played the past six games after being out since last December with a knee injury. He missed two days of practice last week with a knee issue and because of an illness. Manningham's play has dwindled in the past three games with star receiver Michael Crabtree back.

Rookie Quinton Patton will get an opportunity. He has played since he broke his foot in Week 4.

Another interesting note about tonight's 46-man roster is tight end Derek Carrier is inactive for first time in a month. Newly signed backup fullback Will Tukuafu is active. He is 293 pounds. He could be a short-yardage factor.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- One of the way the San Francisco 49ers will adjust to losing versatile fullback Bruce Miller is by utilizing different offensive sets.

They might do that by having more tight ends of the field or moving a tight end around. One candidate is first-year tight end Derek Carrier. He has played some snaps after being promoted from the practice squad last month.

Carrier said Wednesday that he hasn’t heard anything about his role in the offense without Miller.

One person who believes Carrier -- a star at the small Beloit College -- can handle an increased work load is San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“He's someone that -- I don't want to compare him to Vernon [Davis] because he doesn't have that freakish speed. But as far as being that receiving tight end, he has a wiggle to him,” Kaepernick said. “He can get open, he can get separation. And I think we like him the more and more he's on the field. And he's someone who could play a role moving forward depending on how things work out.”

Vernon Davis, Eric Reid are active

November, 17, 2013
NEW ORLEANS -- As expected, star tight end Vernon Davis and standout rookie safety Eric Reid have been cleared to play Sunday at New Orleans.

Both players suffered concussions last week against Carolina. They both quickly recovered and showed strong progress through the week.

The 49ers need both players. Davis has been the catalyst to the offense. Reid has been outstanding all season and he will be needed against the pass-happy Saints.

Meanwhile, Demarcus Dobbs will start for defensive tackle Ray McDonald, who is out with a high left ankle sprain. Dobbs will rotate with Tony Jerod-Eddie.

Rookie defensive tackle Tank Carradine is inactive. He has been on the 53-man roster for two games but he hasn’t played yet. As expected, tight end Derek Carrier is active. He was promoted from the practice squad Sunday. Tight end Garrett Celek is out with a hamstring injury. Carrier will play in some alignments.

Derek Carrier gets his chance

November, 16, 2013
NEW ORLEANS – We will see Sunday if Derek Carrier is ready to be the San Francisco 49ers’ new Swiss Army knife.

The 49ers promoted Carrier from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Third tight end Garrett Celek is doubtful with a hamstring injury. Starter Vernon Davis hasn’t yet been cleared to play against the New Orleans Saints, although he is expected to.

Expect Carrier to play Sunday. The team wouldn’t have promoted him if it weren't planning to play him. It will be Carrier’s NFL debut. He was with Oakland in training camp in 2012 and spent last year on the Eagles’ practice squad.

Carrier was a small-school star at Beloit College. He is highly athletic and he has good hands. Last week, I wrote that the 49ers were hoping he develops into a Delanie Walker-like weapon. Now, he is getting his chance.

Meanwhile, Seattle cut quarterback B.J. Daniels. He was a seventh-round pick of the 49ers, and they cut him earlier this season. If he goes through waivers, perhaps the 49ers will try to have him take Carrier’s spot on the practice squad.

Davis, Reid on pace to play

November, 15, 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- A final decision will likely be made Sunday, but it appears the San Francisco 49ers will have star tight end Vernon Davis and standout rookie safety Eric Reid on Sunday in New Orleans.

Both players had to leave last week’s game against Carolina with concussions. But they are symptom-free, and barring a setback will play Sunday. They had a contact test Friday.

Both will be greatly needed. Davis has made the 49ers’ offense go this season, and Reid will be needed against the pass-happy Saints.

The 49ers will, though, be without defensive tackle Ryan McDonald. He’s been ruled out with a high ankle injury. It’s been expected he’d miss the game all week. Tony Jerod-Eddie -- who has played well this season -- will start for McDonald.

Receiver Mario Manningham is listed as questionable with a knee injury. He was limited in practice all week, but offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Thursday that Manningham is fine. He made his season debut last week. He had been out since December with a knee injury.

Fellow receiver Michael Crabtree practiced Friday after not practicing the past two days. But he did a lot of work both days, coach Jim Harbaugh said. Crabtree is on pace to be activated to the 53-man roster by Nov. 26. He suffered a torn Achilles in May.

Harbaugh said running back Marcus Lattimore will begin practicing next week. He is not expected to play until next season. Lattimore is a fourth-round pick who suffered a major knee injury at South Carolina last fall.

Tight end Garrett Celek is doubtful with a hamstring injury. The 49ers have an open roster spot. There is a good chance they promote tight end Derek Carrier from the practice squad Saturday. If so, it wouldn’t a be shock if Carrier is active, because the 49ers will want three tight ends.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The San Francisco 49ers' defense has evolved this season.

In the recent past, the 49ers were famous for not rotating many players on defense. But injuries have given several young players a chance to play. The youngsters have helped keep up San Francisco’s strong standard of defense; the unit has not slipped despite the infusion of youth.

One of those players is defensive tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie. And it's likely he will get another chance to make a contribution Sunday against New Orleans.

It appears Ray McDonald will not play because of a high left-ankle sprain. McDonald is a big part of the 49ers’ defense, but Jerod-Eddie has played well. He and Demarcus Dobbs spelled McDonald when he was hurt early against Carolina on Sunday. Jerod-Eddie also played when Glenn Dorsey was hurt earlier in the season and didn’t let the overall line play dip.

The 49ers expect the same thing to happen Sunday with McDonald likely out.

In other notes:
  • The cuts of Kyle Williams and Perrish Cox may bode well for special-teamer Kassim Osgood. He was a surprise inactive player Sunday, but the fact that two players were cut Tuesday that were active Sunday shows that the 49ers still have plans for Osgood.
  • Williams and Cox were the backup punt returners. Now cornerbacks Eric Wright and Tarell Brown will backup LaMichael James on punts. Williams was claimed by the Kansas City Chiefs, who had the 32nd and final claiming priority. If they didn’t claim him, Williams would have become a free agent. Williams joins former teammates Alex Smith and A.J. Jenkins in Kansas City. Cox went unclaimed.
  • The 49ers are practicing with 52 players on the active roster. Coach Jim Harbaugh said a decision will be made later in the week. Derek Carrier remains a candidate to be promoted from the practice squad if Garrett Celek can’t play because of a hamstring injury.
  • Running back Marcus Lattimore said Wednesday he still hopes to get on the field. Next week is the last week Lattimore can begin practicing. He is not expected to play until next season, having suffered a dislocated right kneecap and three torn knee ligaments.

49ers could add a tight end

November, 11, 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh didn’t offer much in the form of updates Monday on the concussions suffered by star tight end Vernon Davis and standout rookie safety Eric Reid in a 10-9 home loss to Carolina on Sunday.

Harbaugh did say the thought of adding a tight end to the roster for Sunday’s game at New Orleans is an “option.” In addition to Davis, backup tight end Garrett Celek left the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. It is likely he will be out longer than Davis, even if Davis can’t play at New Orleans.

The first option the 49ers look at could be Derek Carrier, who is on the team’s practice squad. The highly athletic Carrier is on his third NFL practice squad since entering the league in 2012. He has no NFL game experience.

Both Davis and Reid will go through the NFL’s concussion protocol before being able to play. Reid’s situation is complicated because this is his second concussion of the season. He suffered one in Week 2 against Seattle, so his return could be delayed some. Craig Dahl finished the game for Reid.

Meanwhile, asked Monday if receiver Michael Crabtree could be activated this week, Harbaugh said, “We’ll see.” Crabtree began to practice last week. He must be activated by Nov. 26. Playing Sunday at New Orleans would be considered a long shot.

However, Harbaugh said he anticipates rookie linebacker Nick Moody will be activated this week. So, if the 49ers activate Moody and add a tight end, two players will have to be removed from the roster. It will be interesting to see what the 49ers do with special- teamer Kassim Osgood, who is on his second stint with the 49ers this season. He was inactive Sunday, and the special-teams coverage units appeared to miss him.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The San Francisco 49ers’ coaching staff loves versatile offensive weapons. The team used Delanie Walker as their “Swiss Army knife” -- the tight end could do a little bit of everything -- but he departed to Tennessee in free agency this offseason. Fullback Bruce Miller has become somewhat of a do-everything player for the 49ers. But they want more like him.

The team claimed rookie Chris Harper off waivers from Seattle with the idea of using him as a Walker-type tight end. But Harper was released last month.

By all accounts, Derek Carrier has come along well on the practice squad. Carrier entered the NFL with Oakland in 2012 as an undrafted free-agent receiver. After he was cut by the Raiders, Carrier spent time on Philadelphia’s practice squad, where the Eagles made him a tight end. Now with the 49ers, he is still a tight end. But he is also doing a lot of different things.

“This is definitely the most different roles and responsibilities I’ve had in [my] time in the NFL,” Carrier said. “The coaches have a lot of different schemes and ideas here, and it’s a lot of fun learning everything. I know this can be a great opportunity for me.”