49ers cap busy Day 2 of draft with five trades
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Trent Baalke found that coveted, experienced wide receiver for San Francisco in the first of five trades he pulled off during a whirlwind Day 2 of the NFL draft, acquiring Stevie Johnson from Buffalo.
“I’m exhausted,” the general manager said.
Try keeping up with the maddening crush of 49ers moves from outside the draft room.
Determined to stick with — and, ultimately, surpass — the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks in the talented NFC West, San Francisco addressed key positions on offense for the near future and the long haul.
That included adding second-round running back Carlos Hyde and a pair of offensive linemen in the third round.
The day started with adding Johnson after the Bills reached out Thursday with some possibilities.
San Francisco gave up an undisclosed 2015 draft pick. Johnson is expected to fill a key spot as San Francisco’s likely No. 3 receiver behind Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin.
“Three of the last four years he’s been a 1,000-yard receiver in the National Football League, which isn’t easy to do,” Baalke said.
While Boldin received a new $12 million, two-year deal in March, Crabtree is entering the final season of his contract and San Francisco lost Mario Manningham in free agency.
Johnson spent the past four seasons as a starter in Buffalo. He became the Bills’ first player to break 1,000 yards receiving in consecutive seasons in 2010-11, and extended the streak in 2012.
“It’s good,” Crabtree offered with a thumbs up and smile as he departed the facility Friday night, referring to Johnson’s addition.
Hyde has long admired Frank Gore, and now he wants to compete against the veteran running back for San Francisco’s starting job.
The 49ers selected Hyde with 57th overall pick. They acquired Miami’s choice that came via San Diego after sending the 56th pick to Denver only minutes earlier. San Francisco added a potent runner to complement Gore and join Thursday’s first-round pick, Jimmie Ward.
“I’m going to definitely get in there and compete to get that starting job and keep that running game alive that Frank Gore brought to the Niners,” said Hyde, who ran for 1,521 yards for the Buckeyes in 2013. “They felt like my skill set can really help them out, what I do, what I bring to the game, I think personally they feel that can really help them get to that next level, get that trophy.”
The 30-year-old Gore is entering the final year of his contract. He is coming off his seventh 1,000-yard season and third straight in his nine-year career.
“I think you can look at it that way in some respects, but the bottom line is, and I’ve said it, it was the best player available,” Baalke said.
In 20 career starts for Ohio State and 41 games that also included playing fullback, Hyde generated 3,516 all-purpose yards, rushing for 3,198 yards on 523 carries.
San Francisco selected USC center Marcus Martin at No. 70 and Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland at 77th. Martin was the final player in the green room at draft headquarters in New York.
“It was nerve-wracking,” said Martin, who will compete for the starting center job. “I’m coming in with a chip on my shoulder.”
Ward, selected 30th overall Thursday night, arrived at team headquarters and made the rounds. He met some players, including quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“He said, ‘Good luck, man, enjoy the weather,’” Ward said.
Coach Jim Harbaugh has praised the tackling ability of Ward, who said he learned from his father and regularly hit two older brothers.
“I was just taught to not be that guy that missed a tackle and slapped his hands, hit the ground,” Ward said. “That’s the sign of a loser, so I don’t like that.”
He flew in from Alabama ready to get to work, with only one bag that included the suit he wore for his introductory press conference and other appearances. Ward posed with his new No. 25 jersey — departed cornerback Tarell Brown’s old number — with Levi’s Stadium in the background.
“I’m going to be wearing San Francisco sweats everywhere and take pride in it. Red’s my favorite color,” Ward said.
Adding depth at linebacker gives the 49ers some reinforcements given All-Pro NaVorro Bowman is recovering from a serious left knee injury sustained during the NFC championship game loss at Seattle. In addition, Aldon Smith could face an NFL suspension for his legal trouble over the past eight months.
Clemson offensive lineman Brandon Thomas was taken at No. 100, and is recovering from ACL surgery on his right knee. He got injured in an April workout.
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