The San Francisco 49ers are expected to have 13 picks in the 2014 NFL Draft. This comes a year after the team had 12 picks (before and after various trades) at their disposal. They used two of their picks to select defensive tackle Tank Carradine, and running back Marcus Lattimore.
From the get-go, it seemed pretty apparent the team was going to medically red-shirt Lattimore for the 2013 season. He was placed on the NFI list, which got him some late season practice time, but he never got on the field in game action. Coach Harbaugh has said he will be ready to go in time for OTAs.
Many of us figured Tank would be able to play at some point in the 2013 season, but he ended up on injured reserve. He started the season on the NFI list, before getting activated in late October. He was inactive through November, and then was moved to injured reserve in early December.
As the 49ers prepare to welcome these two players to the field (along with Quinton Dial and others) in 2014, it does have me thinking about 2014 NFL Draft strategy. The 49ers have 13 picks in this year's draft, and I think we can safely say they will be doing some wheeling and dealing. And yet, the roster remains deep enough that they could decide to grab some rehabbing players to stash for the season.
I'll be doing a rundown of what the roster currently looks like later today or tomorrow, but I wanted to write this particular piece now in light of Aaron Colvin's ACL injury. Colvin is a cornerback out of Oklahoma, and he suffered a torn ACL in Senior Bowl practice. There are varying opinions about where he might have been drafted, so his value varies by said opinions. Gil Brandt said Colvin had a chance to go in the second round before the injury, but others have considered him a little lower.
I'm not going to say Aaron Colvin is the guy the 49ers might red shirt, but are there players out there they could red-shirt? Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley is rehabbing an ACL rupture he suffered in September. North Carolina offensive tackle James Hurst fractured his fibula in the team's bowl game. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray tore his ACL in November.
I thought I'd open this discussion up to crowd-source other injured players of note. I don't think we necessarily have a Lattimore or Tank type of player this year, but there could be some intriguing later options. Any suggestions are welcome.