Baalke adds to pass rush, fills TE void on Day 2 of draft

Matt Maiocco recaps Day 2 of NFL draft for 49ers

Baalke adds to pass rush, fills TE void on Day 2 of draft
April 26, 2013, 8:30 pm
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The No. 1 thing with Tank is getting him healthy and getting him ready to play.
—Trent Baalke on Cornellius "Tank" Carradine's knee

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers' selection of Cornellius "Tank" Carradine brought back memories of when the 49ers chose defensive lineman Ray McDonald late in the third round of the 2007 draft.

[MAIOCCO: 49ers use No. 40 overall pick on Cornellius Carradine]

Except, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said, Carradine's knee is in better shape.

The 49ers expect Carradine, who underwent ACL surgery on his right knee in November, to have the versatility to play defensive end in their 3-4 defense, as well as any of the four pass-rush spots in their nickel package. On base downs, Carradine can play behind McDonald and Justin Smith. In nickel situations, Carradine has the ability to also take over for Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks as part of a rotation.

"He's going to play down," Baalke said Friday after the conclusion of Day 2 of the NFL draft. "He's not an outside linebacker. One of the things we liked was his versatility. He's a little bit bigger than Ray was when Ray came out."

 

Carradine (6 foot 4, 276 pounds) dropped to the No. 40 overall pick due to concerns over his surgically repaired knee. McDonald also had a knee injury that required additional surgery after he came to the 49ers. Baalke said Carradine's knee is "cleaner" than the condition McDonald had when the 49ers drafted him.

[RELATED: Carradine -- 'There's nothing wrong with my knee']

"We spent several hours yesterday reviewing his file and going through it with all the doctors up at Stanford. So we feel really good about it," Baalke said.

"The No. 1 thing with Tank is getting him healthy and getting him ready to play."

The 49ers added to their pass rush with a trade-up in the third round (No. 88 overall) to select Auburn outside linebacker Corey Lemonier. He will play behind Brooks and Aldon Smith, and he will also compete to get on the field as a pass-rusher at either defensive end spot in nickel packages, Baalke said.

Lemonier was an interesting selection because he never spoke to Baalke or anyone on the 49ers' coaching staff prior to the draft. Baalke said national scout Matt Malaspina and director of college scouting Joel Patten were in charge of the reports on Lemonier. In fact, Lemonier was so unfamiliar with the 49ers that he referred to his new coach as "John Harbaugh" when speaking with reporters.

When informed of his mistake, Lemonier responded, "Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry. I'm just really excited right now. I can't even think right now. I'm so sorry."

The 49ers filled a need on the offensive side of the ball in the second round with a potential replacement for tight end Delanie Walker, who signed this offseason with the Tennessee Titans. The 49ers traded up to select Vance McDonald of Rice with the No. 55 overall pick.

Earlier, the 49ers traded back from No. 34 overall, picking up a 2014 third-round pick from the Tennessee Titans in the process, to select Carradine. The 49ers passed on Stanford tight end Zach Ertz, but filled a need with the addition of McDonald with a trade-up 21 picks later.

Baalke touted McDonald's "versatility, huge wingspan and big hands." McDonald liked up in the slot, the wing, in the backfield and at tight end during his time at Rice.


The 49ers have a scheduled seven picks remaining in Rounds 4-7 on the final day of the draft on Saturday.

CSNBayArea.com reported Friday that linebacker Patrick Willis agreed to a restructure of his contract to clear more than $1.2 million in salary-cap. When asked if the 49ers will need to clear more cap room to sign their draft class, Baalke answered, "I don't believe so. I think that's all we needed to do."

49ERS 2013 DRAFT PICKS

1. First round (No. 18 overall): Safety Eric Reid, LSU
2. Second round (No. 40 overall): Defensive end Cornellius "Tank" Carradine, Florida State
3. Second round (No. 55 overall): Tight end Vance McDonald, Rice
4. Third round (No. 88 overall): Defensive end/outside linebacker Corey Lemonier, Auburn
5. Fourth round (No. 128 overall): Own pick
6. Fourth round (No. 131 overall): Compensatory
7. Fifth round (No. 157 overall): From Indianapolis
8. Sixth round (No. 180 overall): From Miami
9. Seventh round (No. 237 overall): Own pick
10. Seventh round (No. 246 overall): Compensatory
11. Seventh round (No. 252 overall):
Compensatory

NOTE: Compensatory picks cannot be traded.