Demarcus Dobbs was one of the 49ers’ feel-good stories of this past training camp.
Now, with the NFL season opener just days away, the Niners hope Dobbs can be a multi-dimensional contributor on a team trying to live up to its billing as an NFC favorite in 2012.
Dobbs, already a two-way player – a defensive end who’s now earned a job as a backup tight end – might also be used as an outside linebacker this season.
The 49ers came out of their final training camp cuts with just three outside linebackers on their roster, making them very thin at that position. San Francisco then signed 12-year veteran outside linebacker Clark Haggans, 35, Sunday after he passed a physical. Haggans, cut by the Cardinals, will provide some depth and experience behind Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks and Parys Haralson.
Now the 49ers says they will turn to Dobbs as well for extra depth.
In exhibition games this summer, Dobbs played some third downs as an outside linebacker to provide an extra pass rusher, so the position isn’t completely unfamiliar to him.
Dobbs says the coaching staff has been talking with him about playing the position for quite a while, and he says he’s 100 percent for it.
“I tell them I’m a mutt,” Dobbs told the Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows. “I play all types of things. I’m all types of breeds.”
Right now, Dobbs is still not completely fit because of a leg injury. This past weekend he practiced with a black jersey on, meaning he wasn’t allowed contact.
But, with the opener Sunday against the Packers in Green Bay, Dobbs says he’s “very confident” he’ll be ready to go for the opener.
“Not a doubt,” he told Barrows.
If he’s good to go, Dobbs could be a busy man – at defensive end, tight end, outside linebacker and special teams.
The 49ers have faith that he can be a factor all over the field.
When head coach Jim Harbaugh was asked last week – before the final roster cuts were made – if he’d be comfortable using Dobbs as an extra outside linebacker, he wasn’t hesitant at all.
“Heck yeah,” he told the Bee. “He’s coming along real nice. I’d anticipate using him in the regular season in that regard.”