Niners acquire CB Middlebrooks from Denver for DE Engelberger
Friday, July 15, 2005
(07-15) 16:28 PDT Santa Clara, Calif. (AP) --
The San Francisco 49ers acquired cornerback Willie Middlebrooks from the Denver Broncos on Friday for defensive end John Engelberger.
The deal swaps two young defensive players who had fallen out of favor on their original teams.
Middlebrooks, the Broncos' first-round selection in 2001, was a disappointment in Denver, never earning a regular starting job in four seasons. He will join Ahmed Plummer and Shawntae Spencer in the 49ers' improved defensive secondary.
"It's my hope that he would at least be a third ... corner for us," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. "We're hoping he competes for the second, even the first spot. We haven't had a lot of durability at the position, as well as continuity."
Middlebrooks faces misdemeanor charges of third-degree assault and harassment in the Denver suburb of Aurora, stemming from an alleged fight with a female friend early on New Year's Day. A trial is scheduled for Oct. 11, but Nolan said the 49ers had no qualms about Middlebrooks' character.
"He certainly made a bad choice in the one incident, but he certainly had no (negative) record prior to that," Nolan said.
Engelberger, a second-round draft pick in 2000, led the 49ers with six sacks last season, but was thought to be too small to play defensive end in San Francisco's new 3-4 scheme. Free agent Marques Douglas was signed in April to take Engelberger's starting job, and Engelberger missed the 49ers' minicamps with a wrist injury.
"We're in need of some depth in the secondary, and we do have a couple of extras where Engelberger was playing," Nolan said.
Another mediocre CB added to the mix. I liked Engleberger, he was one of those high motor guys. Not the worst move in the world I guess.