Draft Day One- 04/22/2001
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The 49ers had a very exciting and promising initial day of the draft. Entering the draft on Saturday the 49ers held nine picks after a trade with Green Bay on late Friday night. The 49ers and Bill Walsh hadn't had enough fun wheeling and dealing yet. The 49ers and rest of the league caught wind of the Bears eagerness to draft Andre Carter, Carter was, as Walsh put it, the 49ers "man all along" the problem was that the Bears were set to draft one spot ahead of the 49ers.

Bill Walsh thinking fast, called up his former partner in crime, Mike Holmgren in Seattle, who held the pick one ahead of the Bears. The 49ers got their man in Andre Carter by swapping firsts, surrendering a third and seventh and picking up a sixth. The move shows just how much the team wanted Carter.

Carter will be an instantaneous upgrade to the 49ers defense, and defensive line. He will provide a strong rush from the outside, something the team has missed since Chris Doleman and Roy Barker left town. Carter is explosive, a hard worker, and a gifted athlete. He is smart and elevates the play of those around him. Carter was my own personal choice the whole way through, and I'm thrilled to see him in a 49ers uniform. "We like to think of Andre Carter as another Bryant Young," Mariucci stated. "He's got the same kind of character, the same work ethic and an intensity about the game of football."

With only three linebackers on the squad not participating in NFL Europe, it was quite apparent that the team would use a second round pick to draft a linebacker who could really help the team, vie for a starting spot in competition with last season's draftee Jeff Ulbrich or at the very least be a regular contributor. In Jamie Wilborn the 49ers got their man. The 5-11, 230-pounder roams the field with tenacity. He plays sideline to sideline and has good speed and football instincts. He is an extremely intelligent player that the 49ers have very high hopes for. "Oh man, we really like this kid," said the 49ers head coach. "He's fast, he hits hard, he makes plays -- we're excited about his future."

The other main need the 49ers had was at running back. The third round was a logical place for the team to attack this need. Kevan Barlow from the University of Pittsburgh was their man. Barlow is a hard hitting back that finishes every run moving forward. He has played in the West Coast Offense in college, and has shown good hands. He will compete with Garrison Hearst, Paul Smith and Jonas Lewis for the starting position at tailback, but will definitely contribute as the 49ers may use a committee in the backfield this season. "He was 226 pounds when we worked him out, said Mariucci, "and he has some speed to him. We like the way he breaks tackles and finishes his runs."

All in all, the 49ers had a very successful first day of the draft. The team filled all of it's primary needs and got the player they really wanted. Day two should be just as exciting.

Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum

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