And then there's Tank.
The 49ers 2nd round pick in the 2013 NFL draft was considered a great pick when his name was called. Despite his knee injury sidelining him for the 2013 season, many praised Trent Baalke for the selection, calling Tank Carradine a high 1st rounder when healthy.
And then he didn't really do much.
It's not for lack of trying, things just never seemed to pan out for Tank like the 49ers wanted them to. Between making him gain weight to play inside and then making him shed the extra pounds to go back onto defensive end, it's not exactly clear what the coaching staff intends with Carradine long-term. In fact, after telling him to gain weight, it was Carradine who asked if he could go back to his normal weight and position. The promising thing is, the kid is getting snaps, whether inside or out.
Losing weight or gaining weight, especially in the magnitudes Tank was asked to go in can sometimes be difficult. Especially when you're used to certain weight for so many years. When you've put on the extra muscle it requires a bit of getting used to to figure out your top speeds, mobility etc. It's rather impressive Tank could pack on, and then lose the weight like he did.
Jim Tomsula had plenty to say on the matter of working Tank into the game:
"You will continue to see Tank have more opportunities. But, I'm excited about the way Tank has gone about this. I'm excited about the way he's working at it and just his attitude and approach to it. Since the day I sat down and had the meeting with him to talk about it, to his openness to it and to the way he's attacked it"
Here is the transcript from Tank Carradine's chat with the media later that day:
"Well I probably go in between 265, between 260 and 265, that's the weight that I'm comfortable at. Starting off, I thought you needed to be 270 and I could be 270, but no more than 270. That's where my body, between 265 and 270, my body is comfortable.My body naturally, my weight naturally, I'll want to be at [between 265 and 270]."
That's sort of what Aaron Lynch is and what Ahmad [Brooks] is and so, are you hoping you'll get some time at that spot, that specific spot next year? To see what you can do at that stand up outside linebacker?
"Yes, that's what I'm hoping. I don't know what next year will be happening, but that's what I'm hoping. I'll be in my last year of my contract so hopefully I'll be able to play outside and have some success helping the team win and things like that. I really don't know what's going to happen after the season, because of how the season went so I'd like to get down on my weight, get comfortable and get back to doing something I love to do, playing sprint on the outside."
Do you wish you've been doing this when you first entered the NFL?
Do you wish you've been, at this rate, been playing this position when you first entered the NFL?
"Yeah, I wish that. That's something I'm comfortable with. I knew that if I started with that, it would have been more better for me more successful, more back and helping the team win. But there's still a process for it."
Was it tricky also because you were coming off your ACL?
"Yeah, I was coming off my ACL. When I tore my ACL I dropped my weight to 251, then I went to the combine I was at 276, then I got here and I was about 300 pounds. And then my body wasn't, I didn't move the same, coming off a knee surgery, that's a 30-40 pound difference. And I just didn't feel like myself, my body didn't feel comfortable being at that weight and being that heavy."
Before that injury were you in at 265-270?
"Yes, 265-270. Starting off, I was like 273, 74, during training camp you always lose a couple of pounds. I was between 265-270, no more than 270."
I think you said, in the run-up to the draft most teams were looking at you as an outside linebacker. Do you remember what the ratio was? How many teams saw you as an outside linebacker and how many teams saw you as more a defensive lineman?
"I have no idea. I met with a couple of 4-3 teams at the combine, some new 3-4. It was kinda like 50/50. I kind of thought i'd be playing defensive end and come to find out then. Which is fine, I can play 3-technique defensive end, I'm just more comfortable playing outside. Smaller, OLB, outside the end, that's what my body, after they told me to lose weight get down, I was like "I just lost weight." My body naturally loses--"
It didn't take long?
"It didn't take long to lose weight because my body wanted to drop the weight, no problem. "
How did you gain all that weight? Was it a struggle, like eat after meals?
"No because the eating from college to NFL is different. Here, it's good nutrition food with the lift and such. I was just eating better. More healthy and better. And then I also had a knee surgery as well, so I wasn't doing as much running when I came here. And I just gained weight. Weight just came on and next thing you know, I'm 305-300."
How did this position come about? Did you go and say "What do you think about me doing this?" or did they come to you and say, "Hey we're going to switch things around. "
"I went to them and told them, I just wanted to do something I know I'd be comfortable doing; losing weight, getting down playing on the outside, setting edge, rushing the passer. I feel more comfortable playing on the outside instead of the inside. Because I know i could still do it on the inside but I felt like I've had more success doing it on the outside and being down on my weight. With the weight thing, that was something real big, I felt like I didn't move the same, I just wasn't comfortable being that heavy. So I asked about getting down on my weight. "
Did you go to Tomsula?
"Yeah, I went to Tomsula."
Was it during the season?
"Yeah it was during the season, just told him that's where I'm comfortable at; being lighter. Being 265, 270, that's me. I've done it all in college, that's where I'm comfortable."