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Vance McDonald, Quinton Patton to Expand Roles

Posted Feb 20, 2014

The 49ers coaching staff predicts vast improvements for tight end Vance McDonald and wide receiver Quinton Patton in their second seasons.

INDIANAPOLIS - Jim Harbaugh frequently notes the improvements players can make between their first and second seasons in the NFL.

For tight end Vance McDonald and wide receiver Quinton Patton, Harbaugh said he believes their roles will expand during their sophomore campaigns.

"Those are truly two guys who will be doing everything again for the second time," Harbaugh told 49ers.com. "The most gains that you can make in any one year in your professional career is when you go from year one to year two because you're doing everything for the second time. I think you'll see great strides from them because both of them really want to be good and they enjoy the process of training - the weights, the running, the practices, the meeting time, the film time, competing in practice, competing in games."

Patton was plagued by a fractured foot as a rookie, limiting his ability to get comfortable in the 49ers scheme. The former Louisiana Tech standout made several key plays during the 49ers playoff push, leaving the coaching staff eager for what's to come.

"Quinton Patton is a guy we are all excited about," offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "From day one, he belonged here. I think he's got (great) competitiveness and strength. He showed the kind of improvement we look for in a year one player."

VIEW: How Patton, McDonald Fared at '11 Combine

While not standing out statistically, McDonald also impressed coaches with his ability as a blocker.

"I basically explained to him how this season was going to be an amazing opportunity to develop because he was going to have a ton on his plate," Roman said about his initial conversations with the second-round pick after the draft. "We shoveled it all on him. He battled his was through it, did a great job and helped us win a lot of games this year. He really contributed to the success we had running the football."

Patton and McDonald combined for just 11 receptions and 153 yards during the 2013 season, but San Francisco's coaching staff remains excited for what's to come.

"I think you'll see (improvement) to two already good players," Harbaugh said, "two players who have already shown that they belong in the National Football League."


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