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Harbaugh, Baalke Praise 2013 Class

Posted Apr 27, 2013

The San Francisco 49ers picked 11 rookies in the 2013 NFL Draft.


Trent Baalke didn’t have any noticeable abrasions on his face and he wasn’t sweating profusely. The San Francisco 49ers general manager, however, felt the toll of the 2013 NFL Draft on the inside.

“It was a heavyweight fight there,” said Baalke as he stepped up to the podium following three days that saw the 49ers pick up 11 players.

The 49ers made seven selections on day three of the draft and did not make a single trade after making a combined four different trades on the first two days of the draft.

The phones inside the 49ers draft room weren’t ringing on Saturday like they were on Friday, but San Francisco's general manager found the players to add depth on the roster and address needs heading into the 2013 season.

“You’re always trying to create competition,” Baalke said. “You’re always trying to get the best players regardless of position.”

Baalke thought the 49ers would make 10-12 picks in this year’s draft, San Francisco ended up with 11 selections.

Jim Harbaugh was upbeat when talking about the 2013 draft haul: Eric Reid, Tank Carradine, Vance McDonald, Corey Lemonier, Quinton Patton, Marcus Lattimore, Quinton Dial, Nick Moody, B.J. Daniels, Carter Bykowski and Marcus Cooper.

“I feel good about it,” the 49ers coach said. “You’re trying to assemble the best football team you can possibly assemble.”

“When you get this entire rookie class together, you get all those guys… it’s going to be an impressive group,” Harbaugh also said.

Day three of the draft began with the No. 128 overall pick in the fourth round. The 49ers chose Patton, a Louisiana Tech senior, who posted a single-game, 21-catch performance against Texas A&M last season.

It turned out to be perfect timing.

Baalke attended that game and discovered the 6-foot, 202-pound receiver to be an impressive prospect. Patton’s reputation was further cemented with a standout week at the 2013 Senior Bowl.

“That always helps in the evaluation,” Baalke said of the receiver who caught 24 touchdown passes in two seasons for the Bulldogs.

The 49ers selected Lattimore three picks later in the fourth round. Both Baalke and Harbaugh raved about the player’s character and on-field ability. Though the South Carolina running back has to recover from a second major knee injury suffered on Oct. 27 of the 2012 season, the 49ers feel comfortable with the quality prospect they picked up with the No. 131 overall selection, the first of the team’s three compensatory selections.

“We love him,” Baalke said of Lattimore, a standout running back with 38 career rushing touchdowns in 29 contests. “He’s one heck of a football player.”

Harbaugh said there was no timetable to rush Lattimore back into action this season. San Francisco will let the process work itself out and leave the running back’s recovery in the hands of the medical and strength staffs.

“I’m not Dr. Harbaugh,” the 49ers coach said when asked about Lattimore’s potential to play in 2013. “I would not count on him to be in early. We’re going to slow things down for him.”

San Francisco used its fifth- and sixth-round selections on Dial and Moody, two prospects with opportunities to find roles on defense and special teams, respectively.

Dial, a 6-foot-5, 318-pound defensive end out of Alabama, will compete as an interior lineman on the 49ers defensive front.

Moody, a 6-foot-1, 226-pound linebacker, is considered by San Francisco’s scouting staff to be one of the best special teams players in this year’s draft.

“We have high expectations for him to do that,” Harbaugh said of the Florida State prospect.

In regards to Daniels, a USF quarterback, the 49ers coach envisions a wide-ranging role for the 6-foot, 217-pound play-maker, who picked up impressive road wins over Notre Dame and Florida State.

At first, Daniels will learn the quarterback position to get a better grasp of Greg Roman’s offensive attack. Soon after, Daniels will have the opportunity to compete at other positions. Harbaugh named running back, wide receiver, plus punt and kick returner as options.

In regards to Daniels, a USF quarterback, the 49ers coach envisions a wide-ranging role for the 6-foot, 217-pound play-maker, who picked up impressive road wins over Notre Dame and Florida.

At first, Daniels will learn the quarterback position to get a better grasp of Greg Roman’s offensive attack. Soon after, Daniels will have the opportunity to compete at other positions. Harbaugh named running back, wide receiver, plus punt and kick returner as options.

“We’re fishing out of a good pool there,” Harbaugh said of Daniels, the team’s first of three seven-round selections and a player who could enjoy a “Swiss-Army Knife” role with the 49ers.

The other seventh-round selections, Byknowski and Cooper, figure to add depth in an already competitive locker room.

Bykowski, a 6-foot-6, 306-pound tackle out of Iowa State, was praised for his physical play.

“Toughness,” Baalke said when asked about the top characteristics of the Cyclone tackle. “The grit, the intelligence, the work ethic.”

Cooper, San Francisco’s final pick of the night at No. 252 overall, stood out for his physical ability, too.

“Tall corner that runs well,” Baalke said of the 6-foot-2, 190-pound cornerback. “A guy who has the traits you’re looking for.”

Across the board, all 11 picks had intangibles and attributes the 49ers were looking for from its 2013 draft class.

Because of the quality of the class, Baalke felt good about the three-day draft battle he endured.

Asked if he won the fight, the 49ers general manager paused and said, “Feel good, but you never know.”