Though he plastered his shoulder pads into opponents in the Big 10 at Wisconsin, John Torchio still grew up an hour north of the San Francisco 49ers in Lafayette, California.
Now, the Badgers safety confirmed to Rohan Chakravarthi of 49ers Webzone on Thursday, March 23 that he’s in talks with the 49ers and may be in attendance when the franchise holds their local Pro Day for aspiring prospects.
Torchio Improved Toward the End at Madison
Though not considered a household name for this year’s safety class in the NFL Draft, the 6-foot-1, 208-pounder showed a knack for improving his numbers during his time at Madison, Wisconsin.
In his junior season of 2021, Torchio played in 11 games and collected 35 tackles, 23 solo stops, snatched three tackles for a loss and picked off three passes. Then the following season, he elevated his total tackles to 55, busted out 31 solo tackles, matched his TFL total with three but went on to swoop up a career-best five interceptions. He also got into the school record books in the first home game of the 2022 season:
He also added another pick six against pro quarterback prospect Aidan O’Connell and Purdue:
Torchio is described as a physical safety by NFL Draft Buzz, who wrote: “He’s physical at the line of scrimmage, showing unexpected power in his hands.” As for his ball skills, Torchio is strong at flying to the ball but also taking the right angles to the pigskin. But his best traits are as a hitter — which could appeal to one past hard-hitting safety now in the 49ers front office in general manager John Lynch.
Torchio recently completed his Pro Day in front of NFL teams at Madison. He tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he would be willing to accept a job as an undrafted free agent if needed.
‘Active, Athletic Lineman’ Also Met With 49ers: Report
Meanwhile, the 49ers had a formal meeting during the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine with Utah offensive guard Braeden Daniels, the Utes standout confirmed to Justin Melo of The Draft Network on Friday, March 24.
The 6-foot-4, 294-pounder recently impressed NFL reps in Indianapolis with his speed, as he was timed at 4.99 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He also delivered a 1.71 10-yard split in Indy. Draft expert for nfl.com Lance Zierlein wrote how Daniels is an “Active, athletic offensive lineman offering room for development at guard or tackle. Daniels is an impactful down blocker with the quickness to handle zone-blocking duties.”
The last four words of Zierlein’s first evaluation sentence for Daniels has to speak to the 49ers, as they’ve become known to hit defenses with zone looks under Kyle Shanahan. What can also appeal to the 49ers and other teams? Daniels has played guard and in 2022, left tackle — offering the positional versatility NFL teams have coveted when searching for offensive linemen.
And that included taking on speed rushers, like what Florida brought in the Utes’ season opener down in Gainesville.
As a run blocker, Daniels is strong at reaching the second level of the defense and springing his backs loose by sealing off the edge, a must for blindside tackles:
He told Melo: “I feel like the transition went pretty smoothly all things considered. I pride myself on how I performed at left tackle in 2022. I can play on the left and right at both sides of the ball, at both guard and tackle. I’ve embraced my versatility.”