They came, they saw, they drafted.
The 2014 NFL Draft is now in the books. The four-round fun-fest known as day three saw the San Francisco 49ers add several quality prospects to a Super Bowl-contending roster.
Here are five takeaways from the team’s third day of activity.
1. New WR to Visit on Sunday
In an appearance on ESPN, Jim Harbaugh said Stevie Johnson will visit with San Francisco’s coaching staff on Sunday. The receiver acquired by the 49ers in a trade with the Buffalo Bills on Friday is expected to officially report to take his physical. Pending any hiccups, Johnson will officially become a member of the 49ers. The timing of the day is unique as Johnson’s mother passed away unexpectedly last December. The veteran receiver, who uses the phrase “Hi Mom” as his Twitter surname, played in a game days after his tragic loss. Harbaugh sounded optimistic about Johnson’s future with his hometown team and told ESPN that he’s looking forward to meeting with Johnson, who was born in San Francisco and played football at Chabot Junior College. “This has a chance to be something special,” the coach said.
2. CB Value Shopping
San Francisco used three day-three selections to add depth at the cornerback position. The 49ers added North Carolina State Dontae Johnson in the fourth round and FAU’s Keith Reaser and SMU’s Kenneth Acker in the fifth and sixth rounds, respectively. General manager Trent Baalke commented on Friday night that this year’s cornerback class wasn’t as strong as it has been in years past. However, Baalke wasn’t against drafting cornerbacks if they were the best players on the draft board. Johnson is an especially intriguing prospect. The double-major at NC State declined a scholarship opportunity to play for Harbaugh at Stanford. Eric Reid, San Francisco’s Pro Bowl safety, also spurned Harbaugh as a high school recruit.
3. Linebacker Co-signage
How’s this for a recommendation? South Florida defensive end Aaron Lynch, San Francisco’s fifth-round draft pick (150th overall selection), played in college for Harbaugh’s best friend Willie Taggart. According to reports, served as each other’s best man. Lynch, a former Notre Dame player who transferred to USF, visited the 49ers to talk about joining the team before the draft. In turn, Harbaugh spoke with Taggart about Lynch on and off the field. It appears Taggart, a blue-collar-shirt-wearing coach, made a strong recommendation.
4. Ellington Continues Trend
With the selection of South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington, San Francisco has drafted at least one receiver every year since 2003. The 49ers picked up the Gamecocks wideout to add depth at receiver and in the return game. Ellington spoke with San Francisco at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he didn’t have much interaction after that. The 49ers, however, opened up the third day with Ellington as the 106th overall selection. He’ll now join a deep wide receiver group. “They’re going to help me get better,” Ellington said. “I know those guys can play, and I’m just going to learn from them.”
5. Seventh-round Action
San Francisco wrapped up the draft with Boston College defensive lineman Kaleb Ramsey at pick No. 243 and Oklahoma fullback Trey Millard at pick No. 245. Ramsey posted an impressive 36 reps of the 225-pound bench press at the combine. Ramsey also had six years of college elgibility due to injuries. In 2010, he sacked 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the Fight Hunger Bowl. Millard becomes the third 49ers draft pick of '14 that comes to the team with a torn ACL. Besides the lead-blocking Sooner, San Francisco drafted Clemson offensive lineman Brandon Thomas at the end of the third round and FAU cornerback Keith Reaser in the fifth round. The 49ers used a similar red-shirt approach in 2013 with the selections of Marcus Lattimore and Tank Carradine. Both players did not see the field in their rookie seasons, but both well-known college prospects are part of the team's current offseason program. The Millard selection came four picks before the historic moment of the St. Louis Rams selecting Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, the first openly gay draft prospect. The 49ers will face Sam twice a year in divisional play.