Successful Draft 'Another Good Day' for 49ers

Harbaugh had glowing remarks for each of the 49ers' seven draft picks.

By Nate Stuhlbarg
|  Saturday, Apr 28, 2012  |  Updated 11:10 PM PDT
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Harbaugh and Baalke showed in their first year as a draft team that they are proficient evaluators of NFL talent.

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From inside their war room at 49ers headquarter in Santa Clara, GM Trent Baalke and head coach Jim Harbaugh endured 14 hours and five minutes of the 77th annual NFL Draft -- their second NFL Draft -- and declared themselves winners at its conclusion.

"Another good day," Harbaugh said.

Now they turn to finalizing their list of undrafted players to pursue.

"We're close to filling up all 90 roster spots," Harbaugh said. "And I think people will be excited about the names people see when they read about our free agents."

Harbaugh and Baalke showed in their first year as a draft team that they are proficient evaluators of NFL talent. Aldon Smith and Chris Culliver were considered reaches in the first and third rounds, respectively, but each payed immediate dividends, helping to make the 49ers one of the top defensive teams in the league.

Harbaugh had glowing remarks for each of the 49ers' seven draft picks.

"Guilty as charged for fueling the hype," Harbaugh said. "Well deserved."

A.J. Jenkins -- The 49ers needed to address the receiver position this offseason, and address it they did. In addition to Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, they drafted Illinois' far-and-away top target A.J. Jenkins with the 30th overall pick. His blazing speed and huge hands will help him put pressure on Randy Moss and Kyle Williams, whose roster spots are most in jeopardy among the wideouts. Jim Harbaugh said the team could easily carry six receivers into the season.

"I defy anyone," Harbaugh said, "to find something he doesn't do well."

LaMichael James -- Harbaugh admitted James was his nemesis in his Pac-10 days, and he's borderline thrilled to have him on his side of the field. The knock on James is his size, but Harbaugh prefers to look at James' body of work, citing his heavy work load and durability at Oregon as evidence he would be able to handle being an every down back. Harbaugh won't limit how James is used, and cited his "unstoppable nature at the goal line" and "how fast he can go 60 yards" as two traits that really stood out to him. With Frank Gore, Brandon Jacobs, Kendall Hunter and Anthony Dixon, it'll be a crowded backfield. But Harbaugh said Friday he could see situations in which the team carries six backs. Rock Cartwright will be one of them, though he will primarily play special teams. Bruce Miller will be another as a fullback. The writing could be on the wall for Dixon.

"I love his speed," Harbaugh said, "but I love his toughness first and foremost." Harbaugh even dropped his patented "loves it, loves it" line when referring to James' affinity for the game of football.

Read more at CSN Bay Area.

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