Source: 49ers privately workout Peterson

The San Francisco 49ers are taking a long look at Louisiana State cornerback Patrick Peterson as a potential first-round pick in Thursday’s NFL draft.

A source told on Saturday that the 49ers, who are selecting seventh overall, conducted a private workout with Peterson, who is considered the draft’s best defensive back. Peterson also visited the 49ers earlier this week.

While the 49ers are expected to address the quarterback position possibly early in this draft or in free agency, they could use an upgrade at cornerback.

Aging veteran Nate Clements, who turns 32 in December, is carrying $16.25 million in base salaries over the next two seasons.

It’s not out of the question Peterson is selected by the Carolina Panthers, who own the first selection overall. Cornerback Richard Marshall, who started 32 games the past two seasons, is unsigned for 2011.

Other potential landing spots for the defensive back include cornerback-needy teams such as the Denver Broncos (No. 2 overall), Cincinnati Bengals (No. 4), Arizona Cardinals (No. 5 overall) and Cleveland Browns (No. 6 overall).

Peterson had pre-draft visits with several teams, including the Buffalo Bills, Bengals, Broncos, Browns, Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys and Tennessee Titans.

During the workout, which took place in Florida, the 49ers had Florida Atlantic quarterback Jeff Van Camp, and his former teammate, wide receiver Lester Jean, working against the athletic Peterson.

Jean (6-feet-3, 215 pounds) led FAU in receiving last season with 66 receptions.

Van Camp, who is projected by personnel sources as a late-round draft pick, could be the third FAU player selected in the NFL draft in the past two years.

Quarterback Rusty Smith was selected in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Tennessee Titans.

Rob Housler (6-5, 248), according to NFL Films’ Greg Cosell, might be the most athletic tight end available in this year’s draft.

Housler described his attributes during the Combine:

“A well-balanced tight end. Not just a guy who can catch the ball and get open, but a guy who can block from the line, a guy who can ask what you want, it doesn’t matter what it is. Spread out, be tight.”