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Meet the Rookies: 2013 Edition

Posted Apr 29, 2013

Meet San Francisco's 2013 draft class.

The 49ers searched across the nation for talented football players and in doing so, drafted 11 quality prospects to San Francisco’s impressive roster.

The 2013 NFL Draft saw the 49ers continue a successful draft track record under general manager Trent Baalke. Not only did the 49ers move up to grab highly-ranked prospects, they also wisely moved back at times to pick up an addition third-round pick for the 2014.

The full grade of this year’s incoming rookie class won’t be known for 2-3 years. But the group does standout for its promise. The 11 players all competed their way to San Francisco and will soon get their first taste of NFL football at the team’s three-day rookie minicamp which gets underway on May 10.

With 11 players from 11 walks of life, each player has a unique journey to their professional club. We tracked some of the most intriguing moments form their careers and useful informational in our annual “Meet the Rookies” post.

Round 1, Pick No. 18 – Eric Reid, FS, LSU @E_Reid1

Reid’s career at LSU was impressive to say the least. He began seeing significant action as a freshman and even can recall tackling former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. Reid did it all by himself in his first significant action with the Tigers.

The 6-foot-1, 213-pound safety, earned a full-time starting role as a sophomore and was a key contributor for one of the nation’s stingiest defenses. Reid appeared in 39 games (29) starts. He totaled 199 tackles and six interceptions. The 49ers raved about Reid’s play-making ability and toughness after they traded up 13 spots in the first-round to select the LSU safety. San Francisco also favored his intelligent play.

The Geismar, La., native was twice named to the SEC’s All-Academic Honor Roll and graduated Dutchtown High School with a 4.7 grade point average. Academics and football were important to Reid, who can now focus on his first professional job with the 49ers.

Round 2, Pick No. 40 –Tank Carradine, DT, Florida State

Carradine, the first of two FSU prospects drafted by the 49ers, displayed a knack for wrapping himself around opposing quarterbacks. Carradine recorded 16.5 sacks in 25 games for the Seminoles, all while transforming himself from a junior college transfer to a highly coveted NFL prospect.

The slithering pass-rush ability Carradine ability starts to make sense when you consider his passion for snakes. The Florida State defensive lineman had two pythons in college, including an 8-footer.

Carradine comes to the 49ers still looking to rehab from a late-season ACL injury. He feels like he has a lot to prove to NFL teams.  At 6-foot-4, 276 pounds, San Francisco feels like Carradine can grow into an even bigger “Tank.” 

Judging by his comments last season, Carradine is looking to make a lasting impression on the game of football. “I play every play like it’s my last,” he told Seminoles.com. “I don’t want any regrets.”

Round 2, Pick No. 55 – Vance McDonald, TE, Rice @VMcDonald88

Greg Roman raved about his new tight end’s versatility. Perhaps the 49ers offensive coordinator will be even more impressed by his second-round pick when he learns of McDonald’s passions for hunting, fishing and playing the piano.

The first-team All-Conference-USA selection at tight proved himself to be a versatile threat at Rice. McDonald lined up all over the field, even at wide receiver, and sometimes carried the football. McDonald finished his career ranking high in many of Rice’s receiving categories. He ranked sixth all-time in receptions (199), seventh in receiving yards (1,504) and tied for fifth in career touchdown receptions (15).

Rice was the only school that recruited McDonald, but it didn’t matter to him. The versatile athlete who posted 31 bench reps at the combine, most by any tight end this year, enjoyed every minute of his time for the Owls.

Round 3, Pick No. 88 – Corey Lemonier, LB, Auburn @CoreyL55

Lemonier made the difficult decision to leave school early. He called it a “man’s decision.” The 6-foot-3, 255-pound pass-rusher considered his options and felt like it was time to leave Auburn for professional football. In the nation’s toughest conference, Lemonier recorded 17 sacks in 39 games. He also earned first- and second-team All-SEC recognition as a sophomore and junior, respectively.

Lemonier’s strength, quickness and all-around ability caught the eye of San Francisco’s personnel staff. The 49ers met with the Auburn defensive end at the combine and attended his March 5 pro day. However, the 49ers didn’t let on to their true interest to the disruptive defender. In San Francisco, Lemonier will line up at outside linebacker in the team’s 3-4 defensive scheme and will compete for pass-rushing opportunities with the 49ers.

Former 49ers linebacker and Auburn alum Takeo Spikes, shared his thoughts on Lemonier joining the 49ers via his Twitter account. “Great pick to a great system,” Spikes wrote over the weekend. Lemonier won’t soon forget his college experience; support from former Tigers makes it that way.

Round 4, Pick No. 128 – Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech@4_Turnt_Up

What better way to begin a career with the 49ers than to get a social media shoutout from the greatest receiver in team history. That’s what happened for Patton over the weekend. Jerry Rice reached out to the Louisiana Tech product with a welcoming message: “Congrats on joining the Niners,” wrote the Hall of Fame receiver.

Patton has a long way to go to match Rice’s legendary career, but both can take pride in being 49ers draft picks from lesser-known schools in the south. Patton, a junior college transfer, enjoyed a stellar career at Louisiana Tech.

Patton’s 1,392 yards in 2012 ranked fourth all-time in single-season yardage. Plus, Patton’s 13 touchdown receptions is tied for second all time in a single season. He also earned the respect of his competition, including positive remarks from Mississippi State cornerback Jonathan Banks, a second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“I feel like (Quinton Patton) from Louisiana Tech is the best receiver I've played against since I've been here. I've gone against some good ones in the SEC, too, but he's probably the most complete."

Round 4, Pick No. 131 – Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina@MarcusLattimore

Lattimore’s story was one of the most compelling of any 2013 draft pick. When the 49ers took the South Carolina running back with the first of three compensatory selections, the social media word began buzzing. “Lattimore” trended in San Francisco immediately. Why? It was because the 49ers grabbed South Carolina’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (38) and total touchdowns (41).

The 49ers made an investment for the future with the Lattimore selection. After the pick, the South Carolina running back shared his excitement with ESPN, ““What a great feeling that was,” the 6-foot, 232-pound running back said. “It was a great moment.”

It was a touching moment for a running back who has dealt with two severe injuries during his time dominating the SEC.  The 49ers will look to keep Lattimore on a slow track back to the field. His return to the field is not immediately known. The fourth-round pick will be under the careful eye of the team’s medical and strength staff.

Round 5, Pick No. 157 – Quinton Dial, DT, Alabama @BigQD90

Dial comes to the 49ers as a two-time BCS national champion. He rotated in with one of the nation’s top defensive line units and for his efforts, he was drafted in the fifth-round by one of the NFL’s top defenses. The 49ers see a lot of potential in the 6-foot-6, 304-pound defensive lineman.

Dial won the Tide’s Commitment to Academic Excellence award and excelled on the field with 45 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles-for-loss as a senior.

Round 6, Pick No. 180 – Nick Moody, LB, Alabama @MoodyTMB54

Following a change from safety to linebacker in the spring of 2012, Moody continued to display his all-out relentless play. Position aside, the Florida State linebacker was selected by the 49ers for his impressive performances on special teams. Shortly after being San Francisco’s sixth-round selection, the FSU linebacker shared his excitement on social media: “Couldn't have went into a better situation. Happy to be part of the 49ers.”

The 6-foot-2, 237-pound linebacker received FSU’s Don Powell Award for being the unsung hero on defense. Moody, the eighth of 11 Seminole prospects to be drafted in 2013, was also a co-recipient of the Defensive Warrior award given by the strength and conditioning staff at the school’s annual football banquet.

Round 7, Pick No. 237 – B.J. Daniels, QB, South Florida 

Bruce Edward, a.k.a. B.J, enters the NFL with a lot of potential. It’s not just at quarterback, but the former USF product could find a role at many positions on the 49ers offense.

Jim Harbaugh has big ideas for the 6-foot, 217-pound quarterback who led the Bulls to several impressive wins in college, including road wins over Notre Dame, Florida State and Syracuse.

Daniels will compete at quarterback and then potentially move to running back and wide receiver. Harbaugh wants to find his best position and will give him the opportunity for USF’s all-time rushing touchdown leader (25) to showcase his talents for the 49ers coaches.  

Round 7, Pick No. 246 – Carter Bykowski, T, Iowa State @bykow71

The 49ers added another tough-minded player to its offensive line with the second of three, seventh-round selections. Like Pro Bowl tackle Joe Staley, Bykowski comes to San Francisco with tight experience.

The former Cyclone prospect began his career at tight end before bulking up to a 6-foot-6, 306-pound tackle. Bykowski’s “grit” was commended by general manager Trent Baalke following his day-three selection.

The Iowa State product shared his excitement on Saturday with a gracious tweet: “Excited to be a part of #NinersNation !! Very excited to get out there! Extremely thankful.”

Round 7, Pick No. 252 overall – Marcus Cooper, CB, Rutgers

The 49ers used their final compensatory pick on Cooper, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound cornerback. Cooper had a promising career at receiver in high school, but switched over to defense at the recommendation of former head coach Greg Schiano, who is now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Cooper rotated in as a starter for the Scarlet Knights during his final year on campus, but really jumped on to the scouting radar with a big-time pro day. Cooper ran a 4.43, 40-yard dash and posted a 39-inch vertical jump in front of 15 teams.