Baalke: 'We try to find guys that are committed'
The 49ers had safety Eric Reid atop their draft board. He is expected to beat out free agent signing Craig Dahl. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers methodically checked off players from their list of needs during the three-day NFL draft.
The organization traded up Thursday to select LSU safety Eric Reid to fill their only hole in the starting lineup. And by the time general manager Trent Baalke selected a 6-foot-2 cornerback late Saturday, the 49ers hit on just about everything they were looking to add to their already-stacked roster.
"You're always trying to create competition, you're always trying to get the best players you can regardless of position," Baalke said. "So sometimes it works like we've talked about in the positions of need, sometimes it doesn't, but (I) certainly feel good about the group that we got."
On the eve of the free-agent signing period in March, the 49ers had 15 draft picks. They gave up sixth- and seventh-round picks in trades to acquire wide receiver Anquan Boldin and quarterback Colt McCoy. When the draft opened Thursday, the 49ers held 13 selections.
After four trades, the 49ers ended up with 11 drafted players and an additional third-round pick from the Tennessee Titans in the 2014 draft.
Here's a look at the players the 49ers added through the draft:
S Eric Reid, LSU (6-1, 213)
The 49ers traded up 13 spots to No. 18 overall to select the safety many considered the second-best in the class behind Kenny Vaccaro. The 49ers had Reid atop their draft board. He is expected to beat out Craig Dahl, who the 49ers signed after All-Pro safety Dashon Goldson left for Tampa Bay in free agency. Reid is being counted on to start alongside veteran Pro Bowl safety Donte Whitner.
DT Tank Carradine, Florida State (6-4, 273)
Carradine, a second-round pick who is coming off November surgery to repair a torn ACL, will be a rotation player on the 49ers' line. He can play anywhere but nose tackle. He figures as a backup to both Justin Smith and Ray McDonald in the 49ers' base defense. In the 49ers' nickel defense, he can rush the passer from any of the four defensive line spots. He can rotate onto the field in pass-rush situations to give breaks to Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith. Carradine is similar in size and health concerns to McDonald coming out of college. With 12-year veteran Justin Smith entering the final year of his contract, Carradine is projected to eventually take his spot.
TE Vance McDonald, Rice (6-4, 267)
McDonald, a second-round pick, joins Garrett Celek and veteran pickup Cameron Morrah as the only tight ends on the roster behind starter Vernon Davis. McDonald played slot receiver as a junior and split time at slot and tight end as a senior. He has a chance to take over as the No. 2 tight end as the 49ers move on without Delanie Walker, who signed with the Titans as a free agent. McDonald has excellent size, which should enable him to develop quickly as a blocker. He had the second-longest arms (34.38 inches) of any tight end at the NFL scouting combine.
OLB Corey Lemonier, Auburn (6-3, 255)
Lemonier, a third-round pick, will compete for a backup job behind Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks. He will be up against veteran Parys Haralson, who spent last season on injured reserve with a torn triceps. Lemonier's arrival could impact 2012 late-round draft picks Darius Fleming and Cam Johnson. Lemonier is good in coverage, and he can rush the passer in nickel situations from either side at defensive end.
WR Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech (6-0, 204)
Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin are set as the starters. After that, it's wide open. Mario Manningham is not expected to return from knee surgery until after the opening of training camp. Patton, a fourth-round selection, will also compete for playing time against A.J. Jenkins and Kyle Williams. Patton will also get a look in the return game, both on kickoffs and punts "He's just a good, solid, all-around receiver," Baalke said. "He runs well enough to get behind defenders. Is he a 4.2 guy? No, but he runs well enough to get vertical and he's a very good route runner."
RB Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina (5-11, 221)
Lattimore sustained a dislocated knee and three torn ligaments in a late-October game against Tennessee to place his football career in jeopardy. The 49ers invested a fourth-round pick in Lattimore. He has a chance to become the heir apparent to Frank Gore, who is under contract to the 49ers for two more seasons. Lattimore is likely to open training camp on the non-football injury list and could sit out the entire season. The 49ers want Lattimore healthy for the final three years of his rookie contract. The 49ers have no need for him this season with a roster that includes Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Anthony Dixon and Jewel Hampton.
DT Quinton Dial, Alabama (6-5, 318)
Dial, a fifth-round pick, has versatility to play anywhere on the 49ers' three-man line. But he is best-suited to play nose tackle in the 49ers' defense. Veteran Glenn Dorsey is the presumptive starter at nose tackle. The 49ers lost Isaac Sopoaga and top backup Ricky Jean Francois in free agency. Dial should step in and compete against Ian Williams, Will Tukuafu and Tony Jerod-Eddie for a backup role.
LB Nick Moody, Florida State (6-1, 236)
The 49ers tabbed Moody as one of the best special-teams players in the draft. The 49ers have shown no interest in re-signing veterans Larry Grant and Tavares Gooden, who played the same role of backup inside linebackers and core special-teams players. Moody, a sixth-round pick, will compete for a role behind Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman. He can earn a spot on the game day roster with his work on special teams. Dan Skuta and Michael Wilhoite also could fill that role.
QB B.J. Daniels, South Florida (5-11, 217)
The 49ers see an opportunity for the team's No. 3 quarterback to do a lot more than just play quarterback. Daniels, a seventh-round draft pick, will compete with McCoy and Scott Tolzien for a spot behind starter Colin Kaepernick. If Daniels is the No. 3 quarterback, he might be able to earn a role on game days because of his versatility. He could be a spare running back and wide receiver, as well as contribute on special teams.
OT Carter Bykowski, Iowa State (6-7, 306)
Bykowski, a seventh-round draft pick, has the athletic ability to play both sides of the line as the "swing tackle." The 49ers did not keep a third offensive tackle on their 53-man roster last season. Right guard Alex Boone served as the backup to left tackle Joe Staley and right tackle Anthony Davis. Bykowski will compete for a roster spot, along with Kenny Wiggins, who spent last season on the practice squad.
CB Marcus Cooper, Rutgers (6-2, 192)
The 49ers return their top five cornerbacks from last season. Plus, they added veteran Nnamdi Asomugha, who is no lock to win a roster spot. Cooper, a seventh-round pick, was a part-time starter in college, so he faces long odds to make the roster. But he enters a good situation with the 49ers with respected veterans Asomugha and Carlos Rogers on the team. If he shows enough potential, Cooper can stick on the practice squad to continue his development.