Friday, August 5, 2022

49ers Work Out Veteran Journeymen & USFL Champion: Report

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The San Francisco 49ers invited three more players to their facility for a practice session on Thursday, August 4, but this time all on the offensive side of the football and in the same position.

The team signed defenders Tomasi Laulile and Akeem Spence earlier in the week after both completed their tryouts. But the trio, who practiced in front of the 49ers’ staff, represent all offensive tackles.

Here’s who coached for the 49ers via referral from the NFL.

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Benenoch, 27, is now seeking his eighth NFL stop.

The 6-foot-5, 305-pounder first came into the league from UCLA as the fifth all-rounder and 148th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He brought some versatility to the Bruins during his time at Westwood — according to UCLA’s soccer website, he started nine games as a tackle and four as a guard in his senior collegiate season in 2015. He ended his Bruins career from 35 consecutive games.

Benenoch eventually blocked for Paul Perkins, who became UCLA’s third-best rusher and the Pac-12 conference’s top rusher. One of his other teammates at UCLA? Josh Rosen, former backup quarterback for the 49ers.

He ended up slipping over to watch with the Bucs. In 2018, he started in all 16 games at Tampa Bay. But that was the only time he started every game. The Bucs would release him on September 10, 2019.

From there, Benenoch has stopped at the New England Patriots, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints. He also had a second stint with the Patriots in 2020. His last appearance on an active roster was on December 2, 2021 with the Saints.

Like Benenoch, Mills stands at a towering 6-foot-5 and came from the fifth round to the Chicago Bears in the NFL.

And like the former UCLA Bruin, Mills has had multiple NFL stops…eight in the NFL, to be exact.

The difference between the two is that Mills is a senior tackle at 31. He also came into the league as a non-Power 5 conference nominee from Louisiana Tech in the 2013 draft. He’s also one who has wavered between tackle and guard — two positions he played with the Bulldogs. He finished his CFB career as a first-team pick in the Western Athletic Conference.

Mills’ NFL stations were the Bears, Cowboys, Lions, Bills, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens and Saints. He was in New Orleans with Benenoch last season.

St. Louis completes the trio as the youngest member of the tryouts at age 25.

St. Louis also stood at 6-foot-5 and joined the league as an undrafted free agent picked up by the Patriots. However, St. Louis landed in two other places that same year: with the Indianapolis Colts in September 2019 and the LA Chargers in October. He was waived by the Chargers on August 30, 2021 when the team cut back to its 53-man roster.

St. Louis managed to continue his career in the returning USFL. And in his first season in the league’s return, he won the USFL title with the Birmingham Stallions after beating the Philadelphia Stars 33-30.

As noted by The Athletic’s David Lombardi, the tryouts came after Jordan Matthews suffered a cruciate ligament rupture on Wednesday, March 3.

St. Louis also stood at 6-foot-5 and joined the league as an undrafted free agent picked up by the Patriots. However, St. Louis landed in two other places that same year: with the Indianapolis Colts in September 2019 and the LA Chargers in October. He was waived by the Chargers on August 30, 2021 when the team cut back to its 53-man roster.

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