This past week the San Francisco 49ers have locked both of their second round draft picks into contracts.
Former Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine signed a four year deal with the team and could be seeing some significant playing time as soon as this season. Carradine appears to be mostly recovered from a torn ACL that ended his final college season and is expected to be ready for the opening of training camp.
Carradine is viewed as a player who can make an immediate impact on the 49ers defensive line and eventually could take over for veteran defensive end Justin Smith. If Carradine can play effectively, this would also boost the support for incumbent 49ers sack leader Aldon Smith, whose play suffered tremendously when Smith found himself sidelined for two games last year with a triceps injury.
On the offensive side of the ball, the 49ers have also signed their other second round draft pick, tight end Vance McDonald.
McDonald figures to have two factors in his favor for seeing a good amount of playing time as a rookie. The departure of Delanie Walker in free agency creates a void in the 49ers’ blocking and receiving corp that McDonald could readily fill with a strong training camp and preseason. Additionally, the need to increase receiving depth in the absence of wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who may miss the 2013 season with a torn Achilles tendon, could give primary tight end Vernon Davis, known for his pass-catching ability, a larger role in the passing game, possibly putting the 49ers in a position to use more 2 tight end sets and giving McDonald a larger role both as a blocker and a potential target for quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The 49ers have now signed seven of their 13 draft picks. Notable unsigned draftees include first round pick Eric Reid and 4th round pick Marcus Lattimore. Lattimore is not expected to play during the 2013 season as he recovers from an ACL injury.