San Francisco 49ers: 2016 Undrafted Free-Agent Roundup

Feb 25, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Stanford wide receiver Devon Cajuste speaks to the media during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 25, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Stanford wide receiver Devon Cajuste speaks to the media during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The San Francisco 49ers had eight open roster spots after the 2016 NFL Draft. Niner Noise gives you a brief rundown on the eight undrafted free agents signed by the 49ers after the draft’s conclusion.

NFL teams typically rush to sign undrafted free agents right after the conclusion of the NFL Draft, and 2016 was no exception. Not surprisingly, many talented players — many of whom were projected as targets at some point over seven rounds of the draft — wind up being available in a “first-come, first-serve” basis for teams expressing interest.

The San Francisco 49ers finished the NFL Draft with eight remaining spots on their 90-man offseason roster. That number will stay as such until the preseason, where it will eventually be cut down to 75, before being trimmed to the 53-man regular-season roster we’ll see in Week 1.

Typically, UDFA players don’t make regular season rosters. Many wind up being practice squad additions and, at best, serviceable backup projects at the NFL level. But there are some gems who wind up working out on a level much higher than anticipated. For example, Niners nose tackle Ian Williams was a UDFA as was cornerback Tramaine Brock. Both earned starting roles in time.

Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area provided an immediate UDFA tracker for San Francisco, but let’s go into some more detail.

Devon Cajuste — Tight End/Wide Receiver, Stanford

One of the first San Francisco UDFA selections was Stanford wide receiver/tight end Devon Cajuste.

The 6’4″, 234-pound Stanford product projects as a tight end at the pro level, and CBS Sports listed him as a late fourth- or early fifth-round pick — a possible steal for San Francisco.

Cajuste definitely provides some red-zone options should he make the roster, and he’ll be challenging other tight ends like Blake Bell, Busta Anderson and, possibly Vance McDonald for a roster spot.

Jay Fanaika — Defensive End/Linebacker, Utah

Building within the trenches was a theme for this 49ers in this year’s draft, and on both sides of the ball. This didn’t stop in the UDFA period as San Francisco added Utah defensive end Jay Fanaika — another fourth-round prediction piece from CBS Sports.


But Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee noted Fanaika will line up at the linebacker position, which could give the Niners a little more pass-rushing flexibility.

At 6’2″ and 271 pounds, Fanaika might be guilty of being a “tweener” of sorts, but he should at least push some of the 49ers’ existing edge-rusher options.

John Lunsford — Kicker, Liberty

San Francisco has two kickers on its roster — incumbent veteran Phil Dawson and Corey Acosta. Liberty kicker John Lunsford announced he’d be signing with the 49ers on his Twitter account.

The only thinking here is the 49ers might be looking at long-term options to replace Dawson in a manner they did so with punter Andy Lee last season.

Albeit without the draft pick.

Demetrius Cherry — Defensive Tackle, Arizona State

Arizona State defensive tackle Demetrius Cherry signed with the 49ers.

The 6’6″, 298-pound lineman figures to be a camp body and adds to the competition behind an ever deeper defensive line.

Lenny Jones — Defensive End, Nevada

Continuing with the trend of adding D-linemen, the 49ers also signed Nevada defensive end Lenny Jones — a 6’3″, 270-pound prospect out of Nevada.

Just like Cherry, Jones figures to be a camp body and won’t realistically challenge a top-four cast of Ian Williams, DeForest Buckner, Quinton Dial and Arik Armstead. Jones did register 151 total tackles — 31.5 for a loss — with 20 sacks over four seasons with the Wolf Pack.

Kevin Anderson — Defensive Line/Outside Linebacker, Stanford

Again, defensive line and edge-rushing depth is the case here. Stanford’s Kevin Anderson may not be the prolific pass-rusher as Jones — he had just 10.5 sacks over four years with the Cardinal — but Anderson will stay local and add another camp body to the Niners’ defensive front.

Jered Bell — Safety, Colorado

Maiocco provides you with what you need to know on Colorado safety Jered Bell:

"Bell agreed to terms with the 49ers, the Denver Post reported. He came back in 2015 after missing the 2014 season with a torn ACL. Bell finished his career with seven interceptions. He saw action last season in all 13 games with six starts at free safety. He recorded three interceptions and 43 tackles."

The 49ers already have amicable depth here with penciled-in starters Eric Reid and Antoine Bethea as well as package players such as Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt and L.J. McCray.

Bell could compete for special teams or the practice squad.

Bryce Treggs — Wide Receiver, Cal

At 5’11” and 190 pounds, Cal’s Bryce Treggs doesn’t exactly fit the big-bodied mold envisioned by head coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke. But the former target of former Bears quarterback Jared Goff does have a similar skill set to current 49ers wide receiver Bruce Ellington, which could be the reason San Francisco tabbed him — competition.

He also has experience in the return game, per Dane Brugler of CBS Sports.

More from Niner Noise

That’s where things stand now with the eight UDFA selections the 49ers have made shortly after the draft. It’s always possible the Niners release someone from their 90-man roster to free up an open spot for someone else on their radar.

And rosters can continuously shift between now and the start of training camp.

In the meantime, San Francisco has its 90 players ready to go for the start of the next phase on the offseason calendar.

Next: 49ers NFL Draft Picks, Grades & Analysis

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