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49ers Add Depth on Day 2

Posted Apr 26, 2013

The 49ers added depth at key positions with three trades on day two of the NFL Draft.

The four phones in the 49ers draft room were seemingly ringing off the hook on day two of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Actually, Trent Baalke estimated at most, two phones were being used at the same time. But with 13 picks entering the draft, San Francisco’s phone lines were in constant demand throughout rounds 2-3 of the draft.

In total, the team made three trades on Friday, once to move back and twice to move up. With the moves, the 49ers selected Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine (No. 40 overall), Rice tight end Vance McDonald (No. 55 overall) and Auburn linebacker Corey Lemonier (No. 88 overall).

“The phone has been very active this year, probably more than the past,” the 49ers general manager said at the conclusion of day two.

San Francisco entered the day with the second pick of the second round (No. 34 overall) and took the risk of moving back six slots to draft the Florida State defensive end who is four months removed from an ACL injury. In addition to pick No. 40, the 49ers acquired the No. 216 overall pick (seventh-round) and a third-round pick in the 2014 draft from the Tennessee Titans.

Baalke said the 49ers had plenty of options for the 40th overall selection, but when it came down to pick, the team was pleased to see the Florida State standout available at that slot.

“A lot of position versatility with him,” Baalke said of Carradine, a one-year starter, who totaled 11 sacks and 80 tackles last season for the Seminoles.

Baalke envisioned Carradine as a defensive tackle in San Francisco’s 3-4 defensive alignment, but also said that the 24-year-old could line up all over the defense’s sub pass-rushing packages. Carradine's first focus with the 49ers is to get healthy.

"The No. 1 thing with Tank is getting him healthy, getting him ready to play, " Baalke said.

If healthy, Carradine will compete to rotate with Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks in Vic Fangio’s nickel and dime pass-rushing schemes. Carradine could also line up on the inside as down lineman or outside as pass-rushing end in those personnel packages.

At 6-foot-4, 276 pounds, Carradine is not done growing in the eyes of the 49ers personnel staff. Baalke believes Carradine has the frame to get up to 290 pounds like starting defensive tackle Ray McDonald.

San Francisco’s next pick, Vance McDonald, also comes to the 49ers with great size for his position.
The 6-foot-4, 262-pound tight end figures to compete for Delanie Walker’s versatile, H-Back role on the 49ers offense.

Baalke raved about McDonald’s position versatility and cited how the Rice product lined up all over the field on his way to earning All-Conference USA honors in 2012.

“He’s a smart,” Baalke said. “He’s tough and he’s a good fit in our system.”

To acquire McDonald, the 49ers moved up to No. 55 in the second round and traded picks No. 61 and 173 to the Green Bay Packers to pick up the tight end.

In addition to Carradine and McDonald, the 49ers found another “fit” with Lemonier, a defensive end at Auburn who will line up as an outside linebacker for the 49ers.

The 6-foot-3, 255-pound junior totaled 9.5 sacks as a sophomore and 6.5 this past season. Like Carradine, Lemonier comes to the 49ers as another pass-rushing option.

“We feel he can fit in the sub package group,” Baalke said of the Auburn product.

Once again, the 49ers did business with the Packers to find another target on San Francisco’s draft board.

Green Bay acquired the No. 93 and No. 216 picks from San Francisco. In return, the 49ers added a talented linebacker in Lemonier, who was caught off-guard by the 49ers interest. San Francisco didn't meet with Lemonier at the combine or in pre-draft visits. Baalke said the intent was to conceal their interest in the former All-SEC first-team performer.

“Our scouting staff is outstanding,” Baalke went on to say. “We have a lot of faith in the information they bring back.”

The 49ers allow coaches, coordinators and scouts to watch game film separately before they meet together and discuss potential picks leading up to the draft.

This time around, the 49ers found players that fit needs on offense and defense, but didn’t do it at the expense of value on the draft board.

“You fill needs if the value is right,” Baalke said. “We stick with the best player available format, but when the value of a player is similar, you’re going with need.”

The 49ers felt like they needed more depth in pass-rushing situations and a versatile tight end to run Greg Roman’s complex offense.

With three key trades on Friday, San Francisco’s general manager accomplished that.

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