2014 DRAFT GUIDE
49ers add depth to roster, next year's draft

By ANTONIO GONZALEZ - AP Sports Writer
    2012-04-28 20:32

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Trent Baalke never felt pressured to load up on rookies or sacrifice depth to make one, splashy pick.

With a talented roster expected to challenge for the Super Bowl, the San Francisco 49ers general manager instead built depth and created future flexibility on the final day of the NFL draft.

Baalke still hopes the 49ers also plugged a few holes - and maybe found a hidden gem - in Saturday's late rounds, selecting guard Joe Looney of Wake Forest, Notre Dame linebacker Darius Fleming, Michigan State free safety Trenton Robinson, offensive lineman Jason Slowey of Western Oregon and defensive end Cam Johnson of Virginia. San Francisco also netted three picks for the 2013 draft.

``It's all about value,'' Baalke said. ``We feel good about that depth. It's about drafting players at the right value, and also making sure that they have a legitimate chance to make this football team.''

Going to back to Friday's third round, it seemed San Francisco might never draft another player.

The 49ers traded back three straight times from the 92nd pick before moving up to land Looney in the fourth round and 117th overall. San Francisco sent its original fourth-round pick (125th) and a sixth-rounder (196th) to Detroit.

The 6-foot-3, 318-pound Looney started at left guard the last three seasons for the Demon Deacons and - unlike the team's other picks on the final day - could have an immediate chance to play. San Francisco lost right guard Adam Snyder to Arizona in free agency.

``As impressive an interview as we had at the combine,'' 49ers coach Jim Harbugh said of Looney, emphasizing the lineman's ``oomph'' and ``pizazz'' as reasons. ``We believe he will be a starter in this league for us.''

Looney has a head start.

He spent part of the offseason working out with former 49ers center Jeremy Newberry (1998-2006), who knows Looney's agent, Andy Ross. The practice should speed up Looney's learning curve in Harbaugh's complex version of the West Coast offense.

The pulling guard - a key position in San Francisco's zone-blocking scheme to attack linebackers - had a left ankle injury that kept him from working out at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis and Wake Forest's pro day. He said Dr. Bob Anderson - the same specialist to perform surgery on Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry's right ankle last year - in Charlotte cleared him for running and jumping activities two weeks ago.

``I love pulling around, coming up on linebackers,'' said Looney, who can also play center. ``I feel like that's an offensive lineman's time to shine.''

Looney's selection followed a series of trades by San Francisco to add future picks.

Baalke parlayed the original 92th overall pick in the third round into five picks in trades with Indianapolis, Miami and Carolina. In all, that included a pair of sixth-round selections Saturday - one of which was later sent to Detroit - plus a pick in the third, fifth and sixth round in 2013.

The 49ers lost to the eventual champion New York Giants in the NFC title game and figured it best not to overload with late picks who probably won't make a talented roster this fall anyway.

``We feel like we're ready to go,'' Baalke said, acknowledging the team will sign undrafted free agents in the coming days.

That will include at least a trio of former Stanford players - defensive end Matt Masifilo, wide receiver Chris Owusu and safety Michael Thomas - who Harbaugh recruited while the Cardinal's coach. Masifilo drove from the nearby campus and signed minutes after the draft ended.

``That's probably one race and the last race I'll ever win against Owusu,'' said Masifilo, confirming his teammates would soon join. ``Coach Harbaugh likes to cut drag. He said it's a competition to get down here as fast you can.''

Familiarity proved to be a common theme for Harbaugh's new group.

The 49ers drafted wide receiver A.J. Jenkins of Illinois in the first round Thursday before selecting Oregon running back LaMichael James on Friday. James, Looney and Fleming made it three straight players Harbaugh had faced while Stanford's coach.

Fleming had 55 tackles, 3 1/2 sacks, one interception and one forced fumble for the Fighting Irish last season. San Francisco has perhaps the NFL's best linebacker corps with All-Pros Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman and sensational rookie Aldon Smith, among others, but a shortage of outside linebackers. Still, it will be tough for Fleming to find playing time as a rookie beyond special teams.

Even though he will be half a continent away from his native Chicago, Fleming should feel right at home.

He was a college roommate of San Francisco's Ian Williams, and the two are close friends. Fleming, who wanted to avoid the agony of watching the draft, was stuck in Chicago traffic when Harbaugh called him to deliver the news.

``I was actually rolling pretty well and then once I got the call traffic hit,'' Fleming said. ``I'm fine with being stuck in traffic now that I'm a 49er.''

In the sixth round, San Francisco took Robinson 180th and Slowey 199th overall.

Robinson had 76 tackles last season and his nine career interceptions are tied for 12th in Michigan State history. Slowey played left tackle for most of his career at Western Oregon but is projected at center or guard in the NFL.

The 49ers took Johnson in the seventh round and 237th overall. The Virginia defensive end is expected to shift to a pass-rushing outside linebacker in Vic Fangio's 3-4 scheme in a transition similar to the one Aldon Smith made a year ago.

``It's a historic day for so many of these young men,'' an overenthusiastic Harbaugh said. ``But it's not the end. It's very much the beginning.''

---

Follow Antonio Gonzalez at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Lardarius WebbJul 29 10:45a

Baltimore Ravens CB Lardarius Webb (back) missed his third straight day of practice Monday, July 28, and will undergo further testing to determine the extent of the injury, according [ More ]

Jairus ByrdJul 29 10:43a

New Orleans Saints FS Jairus Byrd (back) was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Alfonso SmithJul 29 10:43a

The San Francisco 49ers signed free-agent RB Alfonso Smith (Cardinals) to an undisclosed deal and waived/injured OT Fou Fonoti (undisclosed).

Eric WinstonJul 29 10:43a

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent OT Eric Winston (Cardinals) to a one-year deal.

Kelvin BenjaminJul 29 10:40a

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee) doesn't have a timetable for his return after bruising his left knee, but he is expected to be back in days, not weeks. [ More ]

Josh ThomasJul 29 10:03a

Carolina Panthers CB Josh Thomas (undisclosed) was activated from the Non-Football Injury list and is practicing Tuesday, July 29.

Chris IvoryJul 29 09:53a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is likely to be the team's goal line back, according to running backs coach Anthony Lynn.

D'Aundre ReedJul 29 08:53a

The Miami Dolphins signed free-agent TE Brett Brackett (Cardinals), undrafted free-agent QB Seth Lobato (Northern Colorado) and DE D'Aundre Reed. QB Brock Jensen was waived and OG Davonte Wallace (undisclosed) was waived/injured.

Ricky SappJul 29 08:43a

The Houston Texans signed free-agent RB Tim Cornett (Cardinals) and OT Mike Farrell (Broncos) to undisclosed deals. LB Ricky Sapp was waived.

Alan BonnerJul 29 02:23a

Houston Texans WR Alan Bonner (foot) was placed on the Texans' Reserve/Injured list after clearing waivers Monday, July 28.

Brandon JenkinsJul 29 02:13a

OG James Dunbar (Bears), OT Anthony Dima (Texans), OT Jack Breckner (Colts) and LB Brandon Jenkins (Redskins) all cleared waivers Monday, July 28, and are free to sign with any team.

Menelik WatsonJul 29 01:43a

Oakland Raiders OT Menelik Watson is slated to start at right tackle. The coaching staff has confidence in his ability after what was largely viewed as a disappointing 2013 [ More ]

Jimmy ClausenJul 29 12:22a

Chicago Bears QB Jimmy Clausen was accurate with his throws during practice Monday, July 28, and he led a touchdown drive during a two-minute drill. Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com [ More ]

Jordan ZumwaltJul 28 11:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers LB Jordan Zumwalt (groin) left practice early Monday, July 28, and WR C.J. Goodwin (shoulder) was held out of drills during practice.

Rod StreaterJul 28 11:33p

Oakland Raiders WR Rod Streater (concussion) is dealing with a concussion, head coach Dennis Allen confirmed Monday, July 28.

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 28 11:33p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) is expected to be sidelined at least another week due to his hamstring injury. Beckham was originally [ More ]

Marcus LattimoreJul 28 11:33p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) has not been cleared to practice yet due to lingering concerns about his surgically repaired right knee. However, he appears close to joining his teammates.

Chris CantyJul 28 11:33p

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty (family issue) missed practice Monday, July 28. OG Will Rackley (head) and OT Parker Graham (groin) also missed practice.

Alfonso SmithJul 28 11:33p

The San Francisco 49ers are expected to announce the signing of free-agent RB Alfonso Smith (Cardinals) Tuesday, July 29. The team needs healthy reinforcements with RBs Kendall Hunter (knee) [ More ]

Juron CrinerJul 28 11:33p

Oakland Raiders WR Juron Criner (hamstring) has been sidelined from practice due to a hamstring injury, head coach Dennis Allen confirmed Monday, July 28.

Gavin EscobarJul 28 11:23p

Dallas Cowboys TE Gavin Escobar has often lined up out wide during training camp, and offensive play-caller Scott Linehan is experimenting with different ways to get him involved in the offense.

Roy MillerJul 28 10:52p

Jacksonville Jaguars DT Roy Miller (shoulder) returned to practice Monday, July 28, after being given the day off Sunday, July 27, to rest his shoulder that he had surgery on in the offseason.

Cyrus KouandjioJul 28 10:43p

Buffalo Bills OT Cyrus Kouandjio has struggled in training camp, and Joe Buscaglia of 550 Sports Radio believes that OT Erik Pears is now the frontrunner for the starting RT job.

Mario ManninghamJul 28 10:42p

New York Giants WR Mario Manningham (knee) said he is still not 100 percent confident in his surgically repaired knee. 'I'm working on it,' he said of overcoming that [ More ]

John AbrahamJul 28 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals DE John Abraham was detained, questioned and later charged with multiple counts, including DUI, on Sunday, June 29, according to arrest reports in DeKalb County. Abraham missed [ More ]

Anthony DixonJul 28 10:12p

Buffalo Bills RB Anthony Dixon was listed as the No. 3 back on the team's first official depth chart with RB Bryce Brown listed as the No. 4 back.

Scott ChandlerJul 28 10:12p

Buffalo Bills FS Kenny Ladler (hamstring), TE Scott Chandler (groin), TE Tony Moeaki (hamstring) and TE Chris Gragg (cramps) were held out of practice Monday, July 28.

Joe HawleyJul 28 10:02p

Atlanta Falcons C Joe Hawley and C Peter Konz have both been taking reps with the first-team this offseason.

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 28 09:53p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) had tests on his injured hamstring Monday, July 28, and the results were negative, according to two sources briefed on the injury.

Danny AmendolaJul 28 09:43p

New England Patriots WR Danny Amendola has spent the offseason working with trainer Alex Guerrero. Guerrero is also QB Tom Brady's trainer, and he helped WR Julian Edelman prior to last season.

Marlon MooreJul 28 08:42p

The Cleveland Browns signed WR Marlon Moore (Dolphins) Monday, July 28.

Clay HarborJul 28 08:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Clay Harbor (calf) will miss some time with a strained calf, according to John Oehser of Jaguars.com.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group