5 Interesting Players Competing at NFL Veteran Combine

In this Friday edition of Niners Daily, we preview a new and intriguing event on the NFL's offseason calendar.

No, discussing the merits of a 9-point touchdown won't be the only thing taking place around the NFL Owners' Meetings in Phoenix this weekend.

On Sunday, the league will hold the inaugural Veteran Combine at the Arizona Cardinals training facility in nearby Tempe, Ariz.

The purpose of the event is to give unsigned, yet experienced players an opportunity to impress teams at one centralized location. Representatives from all 32 clubs are expected to attend. 

"Combines have long provided draft eligible players with the forum needed to showcase their skills to NFL teams," NFL director of football development Matt Birk said in a statement. "The NFL Veteran Combine will give veteran free agents a similar opportunity."

Of the more than 2,000 players who applied to participate in the event, only 100 were selected. 

You might recognize many of the names (you can find the full list here), but below are the five players that peaked our interest the most.

RB Jewel Hampton

One of two former 49ers competing, Hampton landed with San Francisco as an undrafted free agent in 2012 out of Southern Illinois.

In two seasons with the club, mostly on the practice squad, Hampton never appeared in a regular season game. 

In the 2013 preseason, however, Hampton led the 49ers in rushing with 113 yards and a touchdown on 37 carries. Last year, he carried the ball 16 times in the preseason for 40 yards but was released on Aug. 25.

C Sherman Carter

Like Hampton, Carter was signed by the 49ers as an undrafted free agent.

Coming out of Tennessee State in 2013, Carter spent training camp with the 49ers as depth behind then-starting center Jonathan Goodwin and backup Daniel Kilgore.

San Francisco released Carter shortly before the start of the preseason.

RB Felix Jones

A backfield mate of Darren McFadden at Arkansas, Jones was selected 22nd overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2008 draft.

He experienced plenty of success early on in his NFL career, averaging 5.9 yards per carry on 116 attempts for Dallas in 2009. The following year, Jones amassed a career-best 800 rushing yards while splitting carries with Marion Barber.

Although he last appeared in a game in 2013 for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jones is still only 27.

DE Michael Sam

The Missouri product and 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Sam became the NFL's first openly-gay player when the St. Louis Rams drafted him in the seventh round of the draft last year. 

Sam showed promise during the preseason, tallying 11 tackles and three sacks, but was among the team's final cuts.

Soon after, the Cowboys added Sam to their practice squad. He spent three months with the team before being cut on Oct. 21.

DE Jamaal Anderson

The eighth-overall pick in the 2007 draft, Anderson spent four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons but never reached his potential as a pass-rusher.

In parts of six NFL seasons, Anderson has recorded 132 tackles and 7.5 sacks. His most recent stint was with the Chicago Bears in 2013.

The highlight of Anderson's career came while playing for the Indianapolis Colts in 2011, when he recovered a Ben Roethlisberger fumble and returned it 47 yards for his first and only NFL touchdown.

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