In a seven-round draft, what is a team to do with 15 draft picks? For starters, trading the 199th pick in the draft for a dominating possession receiver offers an elite option for a second year quarterback. Fortunately for the 49ers, Jim Harbaugh’s family connection landed the deal, the real expense, WR Anquan Boldin’s $6 million salary that the 49ers will gladly pay.
Still, 14 draft picks, what to do with them? 49er management deemed Colt McCoy worthy of a 5th round pick, additionally swapping 7th round picks with the Browns in the trade. The former Texas star will bring healthy competition for 2010 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award winner Scott Tolzien. The 49ers used a 7th round pick to add B.J. Daniels into the quarterback mix, more written about Daniels in the pick-by-pick analysis below.
The San Francisco 49ers entered the 2013 NFL Draft with 13 picks, wound up drafting eleven players, and acquiring a pick in the third round of the 2014 draft from the Tennessee Titans. Each player in the following pick by pick analysis includes any trades related to the pick.
Round 1, 18th overall: Eric Reid, S LSU (6-1, 213)
By trading the 31st and 74th overall picks in the draft with the Dallas Cowboys, the 49ers moved up thirteen spots to select LSU standout Eric Reid. Back when Harbaugh coached Stanford, he aggressively recruited Reid, only to watch him choose LSU. This time around Reid has no choice, but will likely be chosen over Craig Dahl as Donte Whitner’s backup. The 49ers expect Reid to transition smoothly from one of the NCAA’s most dominating defenses to one of the NFL’s most dominant.
Round 2, 40th overall: Tank Carradine, DT Florida State (6-4, 273)
Trading their 34th pick with the Tennessee Titans, the 49ers moved six spots back to the 40th pick in the draft, and acquired the 216th pick as well as a third round pick for next year. Carradine is coming off surgery to repair his ACL, which lowered his draft stock. He can play both right and left end as well as ROLB or LOLB for pass rushing purposes. Tank will have to recover fully from his knee injury, and could be Justin Smith’s eventual replacement, as Smith only has one year remaining on his contract.
Round 2, 55th overall: Vance McDonald, TE Rice (6-4, 267)
By trading the team’s 61st and 173rd picks in the draft with the Green Bay Packers to move up six spots, the 49ers addressed the loss of Delanie Walker to the Tennessee Titans in free agency. McDonald will compete with Garrett Celek and former Cal tight end Cameron Morrah for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart behind starter Vernon Davis.
At Rice, McDonald often played as a slot receiver, developing his receiving game more than his blocking. However with long arms and 31 reps in the combine, he appears to have the natural foundation to make an extremely effective blocking tight end for the 49ers running game. In an interview with the NFL network, Coach Harbaugh said he will put McDonald in the number 89 jersey because of the similarities he sees between the rookie and Mike Ditka.
Round 3, 88th overall: Corey Lemonier, OLB Auburn (6-3, 255)
In another trade with the Green Bay Packers, the 49ers moved up five spots, trading their 93rd pick and the 216th pick they received in their trade with the Titans to land Tank Carradine. Lemonier, the first Auburn football player selected in this year’s draft, will compete for a spot in the depth chart behind Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks (who wears 55, Lemonier’s college number). Lemonier is a quick pass rusher with a knack for knocking the ball loose.
Round 4, 128th overall: Quinton Patton, WR Louisiana Tech (6-0, 204)
My friend and 49er enthusiast Phil Levy was so excited about the pick I decided to use his input:
Patton is a first team All-Conference and second team All-American wide out who helped lead his Louisiana Tech Bulldogs to their first WAC conference title (2011) since 2001. In his 2012 season, Patton had a coming out party leading his team to a 9-3 record posting 104 catches for 1,392 yards and 13 touchdowns. This is one of the many steals the 49ers had in this 2013 draft, considering Patton was posted as a top 7 wide receiver on many teams’ boards in pre-draft rankings according to CBSSports.com. Patton had a quality showing at his combine with a 4.53 40-yard dash, 33 inch vertical, and setting the record for the 20-yard shuffle for his 2013 wide receiver class with 4.01 seconds. Patton is a great pickup, adding depth to the receiver position, therefore he gives the position more depth. With Michael Crabtree and Anquan Bouldin holding the torch at the receiver position, Patton will be fighting for the slot receiver spot along with Kyle Williams and Mario Manningham.
Pro Player Comparison: Reggie Wayne
Fun Fact: Patton also received all-conference merit for his punting skills (39.8 yards per attempt)
Round 4, 131st overall: Marcus Lattimore, RB South Carolina (5-11, 221)
The 49ers could eventually claim the “steal of the draft” with Lattimore, who’s knee issues may prevent him from ever producing on the NFL level. The 49ers used a fourth-round pick on one of last year’s original Heisman candidates, who is likely the most talented back in the draft. Lattimore will start the year on injury reserve, and Harbaugh will keep him off the field until he his 100% ready to go (he acknowledged Lattimore could be out all season recovering). The 49ers are one of the teams with the capacity to house Lattimore with Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James all hungry for carries.
Round 5, 157th overall: Quinton Dial, DT Alabama (6-5, 318)
In this draft the 49ers invested a good deal in defensive depth. Dial, coming out of Alabama’s reputable defense, can perform in any of the three-man line positions of the 3-4 defenses. At Alabama he rotated through the line, generally as a nose tackle, and will likely hold that roll with the 49ers’ defense.
San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio reflected on the 49ers defensive picks and said this about Dial, “I think he’s got some pass rush ability that’s been untapped up to this point. Right now, he’s a good run defender, big strong guy, country-strong type of guy and we’ll see how he develops.”
Niners fans hope Dial can find the pass rush ability Fangio talks about.
Round 6, 180th overall: Nick Moody, LB Florida State (6-1, 236)
The 49ers will ask Nick Moody to replace Larry Grant on special teams, and study Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman on the defensive side of the ball. Moody will join the team with the familiar face of Carradine; the two helped Florida State lead the nation in yards allowed per play.
I expect Moody to earn a spot on the team as he’s demonstrated the work ethic the 49ers look for; he received the Don Powell Award for the unsung hero on defense, and was the co-recipient of the defensive warrior award given by the strength and conditioning staff of Florida State.
Round 7, 237th overall: B.J. Daniels, QB South Florida (5-11, 217)
The 49ers draft Daniels to join Colt McCoy and Scott Tolzien in competition for the backup spot behind Kaepernick. Daniels can play running back and wide receiver proficiently on top of being quarterback, his versatility could lead to seeing him in trick plays, and his speed will be useful in preparing the defense against the likes of Russell Wilson and RG3. With the team’s success coaching the quarterback in the Harbaugh era, Daniels might solidify himself at the backup position after a year of working with the team.
Round 7, 246th overall: Carter Bykowski, OT Iowa State (6-7, 306)
Seventh round picks are always a reach, but Carter Bykowski might fit beautifully in some offensive packages revealed last year. When the 49ers use their extra O-Linemen packages, often the linemen will line up as eligible receivers. Usually they run the ball out of this package, and in the case of passing the ball Kaepernick rarely gives to the eligible lineman. Bykowski was a converted tight end and has the quickness to be an edge blocker in this scheme.
Round 7, 252nd overall: Marcus Cooper, CB Rutgers (6-2, 192)
The 49ers made a necessary investment at CB. Marcus Cooper was a fantastic choice in the 7th round, just watch his video. He ran a 4.45 40 yard dash, and managed 20 reps of the 225 lb. bench press. He’s a great height for a CB at 6’2”. With the physical gifts to be a stud at cornerback and has the coaching to take him the rest of the way. Picks in the 7th round should be a reach for talent, and the 49ers already found the physical gifts they need in this pick, they just need to teach him the system.
Extra: Undrafted: Lawrence Okole, DE England (6’6”, 304)
This British Olympian ran the 40-yard dash at an amazing 4.78 for his size, vertical jump of 35 inches, 10’5 broad jump. The 21 year old can learn the position, he deferred acceptance to the Oxford School of Law until 2017, and is willing to learn. “I’m not going to put any limits on myslef,” Okoye said. The British champion will seek a roster spot on the 9ers over the summer, providing yet another option on the defensive line.
Depending on Lattimore’s health when he plays in the NFL, I give the 49ers either an A or a B+. Regardless of the RB’s outcome, the 49ers got one of the best safeties, tight ends and wide receviers of the draft. Quinton Pattion coming in the 4th round adds a talented option for Kaepernick. The team added extensively to the defense, and may have found a backup OT in Bykowski. After the quality picks the 49ers made in the last few drafts I have high expectations out of the 2013 class. Eric Reid should immediately make an impact on the defense, and shoulders the most pressure out of any player drafted by the 49ers. An accurate assessment of this years draft should be made midway through the 2015 season, until then I trust in 49er scouting staff’s record of quality selections.