National championship game runner-up Texas Christian had one of the marquee Pro Days on Thursday, March 30 — one that attracted the San Francisco 49ers.
However, the 49ers managed to get front and center with a defender labeled the “Bryce Young of cornerbacks” by one NFL analyst — by being the ones conducting the defensive back drill.
Per Tony Pauline of the Pro Football Network, TCU standout Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson got put to work by 49ers representatives…solidifying that the Niners have interacted with the high-profile cornerback.
“Shrine Bowl participant Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson was sensational in position drills. The cornerback was fluid and smooth, displaying elite technique. He sat on his Combine marks, which included 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 39” in the vertical jump, and 11’ in the broad jump,” Pauline began.
While he added that Hodges-Tomlinson still faces a size dilemma by being a “tick” over 5-foot-7, he mentioned one league representative overlooked his size.
“One scout at the TCU Pro Day described it best, saying, ‘That little cornerback is a baller,'” Pauline said. “I’ve fondly referred to Hodges-Tomlinson as the Bryce Young of cornerbacks.”
While the Niners ran the DB drills, Pauline includes the Las Vegas Raiders and Arizona Cardinals met with Hodges-Tomlinson.
Nephew of Hall of Famer Generating Buzz at This Position
Hodges-Tomlinson already witnessed one family member taste immense NFL success: He’s the nephew of NFL Hall of Famer and TCU icon LaDanian Tomlinson.
Meanwhile, Hodges-Tomlinson made a name for himself on the other side of the football. He went on to emerge as one of the nation’s best at covering wide receivers and forcing incompletions. Despite his diminutive stature, there are draft experts like Lance Zierlein of nfl.com who believe Hodges-Tomlinson can thrive at this spot: Nickelback.
“Hodges-Tomlinson possesses the athletic profile and ball production to become a starting nickel back,” Zierlein first wrote in his evaluation. “He uses aggression and explosiveness to help overcome his size deficiency. He’s twitchy and sudden to press and hound receivers underneath.”
As quarterback tried to pick on him because of his size, Hodges-Tomlinson made them pay the price with the closing speed and exact explosiveness Zierlein described.
He also neutralized wide receivers while facing predominantly pass-heavy offenses in his career against the Big 12 competition. According to Pro Football Focus, Hodges-Tomlinson only allowed a completion percentage of 34.6. He’s also a swat machine — proven by the 18 passes he broke up in 2022 as the Horned Frogs made their surprise run at the national title.
Horned Frog Would be Gift Pick for the 49ers
For what it’s worth, Hodges-Tomlinson would be a potential game changer for the 49ers.
He has the above average skill set needed to man nickelback including taking on the slot wide receiver. He would most likely win over new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks as the new defensive leader’s area of expertise is defensive back.
But the burning question: Can Hodges-Tomlinson become available by at least No. 99 when the 49ers finally make their draft selection?
There are outlets like The Draft Network calling him a second rounder. NFL Draft Buzz, meanwhile, has him with a third round grade but placed him as the 78th best prospect.
With Isaiah Oliver now on board and Samuel Womack entering season two, the 49ers may be convinced to avoid taking a designated nickel DB early. However, a talent like Hodges-Tomlinson is hard to pass up for any team including the Niners if he’s available. The “Bryce Young of cornerbacks” proved he can thrive and cover against Power 5 competition…and got the 49ers to watch him work.