NFL Team Report - San Francisco 49ers - INSIDE SLANT
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, self-admittedly, has a new
The honor belongs to fourth-round pick Quinton Patton, a receiver from
Louisiana Tech, and the rationale has nothing to do with football.
Patton was so excited to begin his NFL career that after being drafted by the 49ers, he bought his own plane ticket and flew from Nashville to San Francisco to get to work.
Except there was one problem: rookies aren't allowed to be at their team facility until rookie minicamps officially begin. If they do show, they won't be able to participate in those minicamps.
"He calls us (Monday), and he said he's here," Harbaugh said in an interview on KNBR 680. "He's on his way, just landed at the airport, he's in his rental car, he's coming over to the facility and he can't wait to get started. Which we had to go, 'You're where? What airport did you fly into? You're in a rental car driving here?'
"Yeah, coach," Patton said. "I'm 20 minutes away."
In somewhat of a panic, Harbaugh had to tell him to flip a U-turn and head back to the airport.
"The amazing story is we had to (tell him) on the phone, 'Stop, Quinton. You've got to go back to the airport and fly back to Nashville,'" Harbaugh said. "You can't come here until the rookie minicamp."
The team informed the league of the mixup and also got in touch with his agent, who said, "You know, Quinton said he was so excited to get started he was just going to get a plane ticket and fly himself out there. But I thought he was just kidding."
The gung-ho attitude made an impression on Harbaugh, who likened it to something he would have done.
"He's already my favorite guy," Harbaugh said.
When the idea that cutting him would now be more difficult if it came to that, Harbaugh dismissed that as a possibility.
"That's not going to happen," he said.
NFL Team Report - San Francisco 49ers - NOTES, QUOTES
--Joel Patten has been promoted to director of player personnel, replacing Tom Gamble, who left to join the Philadelphia Eagles in February. Patten has been the team's director of college scouting the last three seasons and also worked with general manager Trent Baalke with the Washington Redskins.
--The 49ers promoted Justin Chabot to national scout, Josh Williams to pro personnel scout and Steve Rubio to regional scout.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I love it. I can't wait. It's probably the best money he's ever spent, even though he had to just fly out here and fly back home. It's the best money, because if he plays for 10 or 15 years in this League, every time somebody talks about Quinton Patton they're going to recall the story." -- Jim Harbaugh on Quinton Patton buying his own plane ticket from Nashville to San Francisco.
NFL Team Report - San Francisco 49ers - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
A closer look at the 49ers' picks:
Round 1/18 -- Eric Reid, S, 6-1, 213, LSU
It was no surprise when the 49ers went safety to open their draft. With Dashon Goldson departed, it was the only open starting position left on the team. Reid was the team's top-rated safety and he should step in and make an impact from Day 1.
Round 2/40 -- Cornellius (Tank) Carradine, DL, 6-4, 276, Florida State
In drafting Tank Carradine, general manager Trent Baalke set the tone for the rest of the draft. The team needed to address its pass rush and due to its abundance of picks and few gaps, they were willing to draft players with injury problems. Carradine should be able to work into sub packages in his rookie year.
Round 2/55 -- Vance McDonald, TE, 6-4, 267, Rice
Many had Zach Ertz pegged to the 49ers, but McDonald has a lot of similar traits. He's able to play in the slot and the converted wide receiver is a matchup nightmare for both corners and linebackers.
Round 3/88 -- Corey Lemonier, DE, 6-3, 255, Auburn
Lemonier will compete with the likes of Cam Johnson for a role as a rotational pass rusher. Played defensive end at Auburn, but fits better as an outside linebacker in the 49ers' 3-4 defense.
Round 4/128 -- Quinton Patton, WR, 6-0, 204, Louisiana Tech
Given a second-round grade by some talent evaluators, Patton was the key cog in the nation's highest scoring offense. He caught 104 passes for 1,392 yards and 13 touchdowns and could push A.J. Jenkins for playing time.
Round 4/131 -- Marcus Lattimore, CB, 5-11, 221, South Carolina
Steal of the draft? If Lattimore was completely healthy, he would have been the draft's top running back. With Frank Gore, LaMichael James, Kendall Hunter making up an impressive backfield, the 49ers have the luxury of bring Lattimore back slowly.
Round 5/157 -- Quinton Dial, DL, 6-5, 318, Alabama
A former junior college player, Dial has potential to add depth, but he lacks the elite athleticism to factor into the rotation right away.
Round 6/180 -- Nick Moody, OLB, 6-1, 236, Florida State
The safety convert is expected to contribute on special teams. Played in tandem with second-round pick Tank Carradine in college.
Round 7/237 -- B.J. Daniels, QB, 5-11, 216, South Florida
Athletic quarterback has a chance to become a viable option running the spread-option plays the 49ers use with Colin Kaepernick. Will have a tough time beating out Colt McCoy and Scott Tolzien for the final quarterback spot.
Round 7/246 -- Carter Bykowski, CB, 6-7, 303, Iowa State
Has the ideal frame to play outside, but with the 49ers' depth, Bykowski is a longshot to make the roster. Should be considered a practice-squad candidate.
Round 7/252 -- Marcus Cooper, CB, 6-2, 192, Rutgers
Adds to the competition at corner, but with the signing of Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency and the return of every starter, Cooper, too, should be considered a practice-squad option.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (5)
--G Leonard Davis is destined for a role similar to the one he held this season. It'll be tough for him to find a starting role at 34 years old after not seeing regular playing time the last two seasons.
--LB Tavares Gooden was solid in his limited role as a special teams fixture.
--LB Larry Grant has been solid when given the opportunities to play on defense, but behind NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis, Grant's future on defense is elsewhere. He has been suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season.
--LB Clark Haggans wasn't used on special teams and rarely appeared on defense. It'd be a surprise if he returns.
--WR Randy Moss was a decoy and mentor, for the most part. Moss did what the team brought him in to do. Without Kyle Williams and Mario Manningham, his lack of production became more glaring than it would have without their injuries. He will not be re-signed.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENT: None.
--CB Tramaine Brock: RFA tendered at $1.323M with no compensation); 1 yr, terms unknown.
--S Darcel McBath: Not tendered as RFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--CB Nnamdi Asomugha: FA Eagles; $1.35M/1 yr.
--WR Anquan Boldin (trade).
--S Craig Dahl: UFA Rams; $5.25M/3 yrs, $700,000 SB.
--K Phil Dawson: UFA Browns; $2.25M/1 yr, $1M SB.
--DE Glenn Dorsey: UFA Chiefs; $6M/2 yrs, $2.285M SB.
--QB Colt McCoy (trade Browns).
--WR Marlon Moore: Not tendered as RFA by Dolphins; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--LB Dan Skuta: UFA Bengals; $3M/2 yrs, $300,000 SB.
--K David Akers (released/failed physical).
--WR/KR Ted Ginn: UFA Panthers; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--S Dashon Goldson: UFA Buccaneers; $41.25M/5 yrs, $22M guaranteed.
--DT Ricky Jean Francois: UFA Colts; $22M/4 yrs, $8.5M guaranteed/$6.5M fully guaranteed.
--QB Alex Smith (traded).
--NT Isaac Sopoaga: UFA Eagles; $11M/3 yrs.
--TE Delanie Walker: UFA Titans; $17.5M/4 yrs.