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49ers Select LB Darius Fleming

Posted Apr 28, 2012



With the No. 165 overall pick in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers have selected Notre Dame linebacker Darius Fleming.

At 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, Fleming registered 9.5 sacks over the past two seasons for the Fighting Irish.

CEO Jed York, a Golden Domer himself, celebrated the pick on Twitter.

“Good to add more pass rush and (special) teams help,” York wrote. “Being a Domer is just a bonus. Welcome to the team #DariusFleming.”

Stay tuned for more insight on the latest 49ers draft pick.

Moments after being selected, Fleming conducted a conference call with the Bay Area media.

Did you get a chance to meet with the 49ers before the draft?
“I had a little meeting with one of the scouts before the Combine, but never anything big.”

Where do you think you project at the next level to the 49ers, pass rush specialist or are you an every down guy?
“I think right now coming in as a rookie would definitely be a pass rush specialist. As I continue to get stronger and more comfortable with the game, I think I could definitely be an every down guy but my most important role right now is going to be on special teams, and that’s a role I’m willing to have. I think I can contribute the most at that position right now.”

Is that what they talked to you about specifically, is special teams? At least initially?
“Yes, I’ve talked to them a little bit about my role and I think my role right now, like I said, on special teams and working my way up to get in on third down situations.”

How much have you had a chance to watch guys like Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman on that linebacker group?
“I think that’s going to benefit me a lot because those are really good players and they’re going to be great mentors for me. I’m going to learn a lot from those players.”

Who from the 49ers called you?
“Coach Harbaugh called me.”

Did he give you any indication of what your role might be?
“He just said to come in right away and as a rookie, like I said, my special teams play is going to move me up a lot, and then they’ll work me out at outside linebacker. Those two things will be what I’ll focus on right now.”

You mentioned getting stronger. Is there a particular size you want to be at? I know that you’ve had some issues with your shoulder in the past, how are things with that?
“I’m doing good. I’m 100 percent right now. What I meant by that is just the linebackers that the 49ers have right now are pretty big and strong, so I just have to kind of bulk up a little bit. I’m 247, 248 right now so I fit in fine, but I just want to get to more physically in shape and compare more to those guys.”

Did you get to know [NT] Ian Williams much when you were at Notre Dame?
“Yes, that was my roommate my last year. He was up here a couple weeks ago for the spring game. I’m sure he’s just as excited as I am for this opportunity. Honestly, that’ll probably be my roommate. I’m just excited about everything and being a 49er now especially because one of my guys is up there.”

Did you talk to him during the season when the 49ers were in the playoffs and whatnot?
“Yes, I talked to him a little. I didn’t want to bother him too much because it’s a lot of stress on you going through those situations. I was actually one of the guys that kept in touch with him and stayed close with him throughout that process.”

When you were watching the 49ers defense, when you see them in games, do you put yourself in the role at linebacker and see how you would fit in their scheme?
“Definitely. You do that all the time being a senior in college trying to get to this next level. I think you do that when you watch anybody. I watched those guys and they have a great core group of guys. It’s exciting to be a part of that now.”

You obviously played against Stanford in college. Did Harbaugh, when he spoke to you, mention playing against Notre Dame at all?
“Yes, sir. He asked me if I knew who he was and I said I thought we had encountered each other a couple of times. Coach Harbaugh is a great guy and an awesome coach. I love his coaching style. I think that’s what I’m most excited about because I know the type of coach he is and the way he treats his players and the way he enjoys the game. That’s exciting about him.”

Where are you right now?
“I’m actually stuck in Chicago’s traffic at the moment.”

Were you in traffic when you got the call?
“I wasn’t. I was actually rolling pretty well and then once I got the call traffic hit. I’m fine with being stuck in traffic now that I’m a 49er.”

Did you pull over to the side of the road or do you have a hands-free device?
“Hands-free device.”

Welcome to California.
“Thank you.”