A couple of Bay Area NFL hopefuls didn't have to look far for inspiration during their college careers.
Throughout their time at Stanford, defensive linemen Henry Anderson and David Parry studied Justin Smith's game on film and television whenever possible.
"I've had comparisons to him, so I would watch him all the time on TV to try to pick up little things here and there," Anderson said last week in Indianapolis at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine. "He's one of those guys who is just a gritty dude.
"He's always in there disrupting stuff, and it seems like he's always so stout. He never gets pushed around, and that's definitely something that I try to pick up on."
Anderson, a defensive end, tallied 8.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss last fall for the Cardinal. He's projected to be a fourth-round pick in the draft, and his versatility makes him a potential good fit for the 49ers 3-4 defense.
In college, Anderson moved all around the defensive line, something San Francisco does a lot of with its defensive front.
"I think the 3-4 scheme we ran is pretty similar to what the Niners run, so that translates well for me," Anderson said. "We have a lot of complex play calls and checks that we make on our defense, and I think that carries over well too. I've also played anywhere from head up on the center to outside on the tackle, so there's that versatility aspect that I think scouts recognize."
As for Parry, a defensive tackle, he called Smith "a beast" and "the best at everything he does."
Parry isn't projected to be taken until the latter rounds of the draft, but the former walk-on has the size (6-foot-1, 308 pounds) and strength (34 bench press reps at the combine, second most among defensive linemen) to be successful in the pros.
Anderson and Parry have already made their debuts at the 49ers new home, as Stanford defeated Maryland at Levi's® Stadium in the Foster Farms Bowl last December.
Meanwhile, the player both prospects look up to, Smith, is considering whether or not he wants to return for a 15th NFL season.
If the 49ers end up taking either of the Stanford products, they could find themselves learning from one of their role models or working to replace him.