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Report: 49ers to host ex-Eagles defensive back Jaylen Watkins

Philadelphia Eagles' Jaylen Watkins (26) pulls in an interception against Miami Dolphins' DeVante Parker (11) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Eagles' Jaylen Watkins (26) pulls in an interception against Miami Dolphins' DeVante Parker (11) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, in Philadelphia.

The 49ers still are looking for depth in their defensive backfield and will host Eagles free agent Jaylen Watkins on Wednesday, the NFL Network reported.

Watkins, 25, has lined up at free safety, outside cornerback and the nickel cornerback spot in four seasons in Philadelphia, though he has only five starts in that span.

The 49ers likely are eying Watkins for his versatility, his prowess on special teams and his ability at nickel cornerback. The team likes its top player there, K'Waun Williams, but the depth behind him is thin. At 5-11, 194 pounds, Watkins is slightly smaller and shorter-armed than their prototypical outside cornerback.

Veteran Richard Sherman and second-year player Ahkello Witherspoon are expected to man the outside this season. Sherman, however, currently is recovering from two Achilles procedures and won't be available until training camp.

That means Witherspoon and a group of young cornerbacks, including Greg Mabin, Channing Stribling and Trovon Reed, likely will get plenty of work in the May and June practice sessions.

Watkins was a restricted free agent heading into the new league year, but the Eagles did not tender him, which allowed him to reach the open market. He is the half-brother of Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

The 49ers still have $45 million in salary cap space, among the top 10 in the NFL, and that money is being saved to re-sign their own players. San Francisco 49ers insider Matt Barrows tells you who the top 3 candidates are for re-signing.

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