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Five Takeaways from Day 2 of 2014 NFL Draft

Posted May 9, 2014

Trent Baalke discussed many of the storylines from a busy day two of the 2014 NFL Draft. Here's a summary of the key notes from the 49ers GM.

Trent Baalke discussed many of the storylines from a busy day two of the 2014 NFL Draft.

In fact, the San Francisco 49ers general manager kept football scribes guessing with a frenzied day of activity.

By day’s end, the 49ers made as many trades as draft picks on Friday.

Let’s take a look at five of the notable statements made by the 49ers GM.

1. "They had reached out to us yesterday when they had made the pick for Sammy."

The pending acquisition of veteran wide receiver Stevie Johnson all started with Buffalo’s first-round choice. The Bills began lining up trade partners on Thursday night as soon as they selected Sammy Watkins with the fourth pick in the draft. Johnson, who primarily lined up in the slot in Doug Marrone’s offensive attack, became available with Watkins joining Mike Williams in Buffalo’s receiving core. Baalke and the 49ers listened to trade scenarios being floated their way and eventually pounced on acquiring Johnson, a productive wideout and native of San Francisco. “You can never have enough good football players,” Baalke said of his new receiver who must pass a physical to join the 49ers. Johnson’s arrival also won’t change San Francisco’s draft plans. Baalke said the team will continue to draft the highest rated player on their board at the time of their selection.

2. "The depth at that position within the draft, in the early part of the draft, it wasn't where it's been in past year."

It’s been a tough go for this year’s cornerback class. For those clamoring for the 49ers to select a cornerback, Baalke stressed that run on cornerbacks ended early in this year’s draft. However, it doesn’t mean that the market for corners can’t heat up on Saturday. Only nine cornerbacks have been drafted so far, including two in the second and third rounds, respectively. Baalke said the 49ers would consider drafting a cornerback depending on how their draft board looks at the time of their selection.

3. "We don't feel an urgency to go out and replace LaMichael at all."

Punt-return ability isn’t a requisite for a day-three draft pick. Baalke spoke highly of third-year running back LaMichael James and his future as the team’s top return man on both punts and kick-offs. “LaMichael did an excellent job for us a year ago,” the GM said. “That’s his job.” James will compete in the team’s “crowded” backfield with second-round draft pick Carlos Hyde joining the group. Baalke said he’s “excited” for what James has brought to the return game in one year. “Competed at a blue level as a punt returner for us, and would expect him to only get better in his second year of doing it.” Baalke said the blue level is given to a player who ranked in the top 10 to 15 percent of the players at his position in the NFL.

4. "He's just a baller."

Leave it to Baalke, the long-armed-loving talent evaluator, to completely ignore measurements when it comes to a prospect from his own backyard. The GM raved about his third-round draft pick, Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland. “How can you not love him as a football player?” Borland’s accomplishments are significant. In fact, his media bio was six pages long compared to two-page information sheet for fellow third-round pick, USC center Marcus Martin. Baalke praised the Martin selection and the final pick of the day, redshirt-in-waiting guard/tackle Brandon Thomas of Clemson.

5. "The more darts you have, the more baloons you can pop."

Baalke has darts alright, seven to be exact. The GM’s draft-day trades earned San Francisco extra Saturday picks. Now the 49ers will have two picks in the fourth round, two picks in the fifth round, one pick in the sixth round and two picks in the seventh round. Assume Baalke will continue to take the best player available regardless of position when San Francisco is on the clock. With a talented roster comprising of veteran players, the 49ers are also in position to acquire more selections in 2015, so Baalke can continue his draft-day stranglehold of draft picks.

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