The 49ers rookie camp has officially begun on Monday with all draft picks. In total, the 49ers selected 12 players after initially entering the draft with 11 picks. He also traded a future pick away for WR Stevie Johnson.
Here is a biography with a quote on each player listed.
DB Jimmie Ward (First round)
Ward will be competing for immediate playing time as the team's nickel corner back, according to Jim Harbaugh. He initially played safety in college while at Northern Illinois, but was drafted as a defensive back.
Perrish Cox served as the team's nickel cornerback in the postseason while Chris Culliver had this role in 2012. With Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers leaving, the nickel position will be open as Cullliver could move up to the No. 2 CB.
"[He's] a playmaker [and] has an instinct for reacting to plays before anybody else sees them," Harbaugh said. "Just a step ahead of the rest of the defense. Covers a lot of ground. Covers up a lot of holes. I like his ball skills."
On the field, Ward has an average size of 5-11, 193 pounds, but can make up for it with his physical play in the secondary. His coverage skills are top notch and with him playing deep, he won't be covering a tall No.1 receiver anytime soon. In the future, he could develop into the 49ers strong safety when Antoine Bethea's time is up.
RB Carlos Hyde (Second round)
After a series of trades involving the second-round pick the 49ers acquired for Alex Smith, the team traded up and down and ended up with RB Carlos Hyde. The 49ers have now drafted at least one running back in the last six years.
At 6-0. 230 pounds, Hyde is a large RB who is good for downhill running as a power running back. He is a physical running back who can handle hits between the tackles. Hyde is also adequate in pass protection.
"He's more than just a power running back," General Manager Trent Baalke said. "You can see he's not a homerun hitter every time he touches the ball, but he's capable, just as Frank [Gore] has been capable over his career, to break some long runs. He runs our style of offense as well."
Gore, 31, is entering the final year of his contract and it will be his 10th season in the NFL this fall. Hyde can be useful for the short yardage situations in his rookie year while learning behind the veterans. He will join a mix of Kendall Hunter, Jewel Hampton, Marcus Lattimore and LaMichael James for playing time.
"I would describe my game as violent and what I bring is I play with a lot of passion," Hyde said. "[Players] see how hard I run the ball and how much determination I run with and I feel like guys can feed off that.”
C Marcus Martin (Third Round)
The 49ers traded out of the second round with their own pick and selected C Marcus Martin in the third round. Martin has great size for a center at 6-3, 320 pounds and also has the ability to play guard if needed.
With Jonathan Goodwin not returning to the 49ers, Martin will compete with long-time reserve Daniel Kilgore for playing time at the center position. Kilgore was extended through the 2017 season two months prior to the NFL Draft.
With Martin's versatility to play anywhere on the interior of the offensive line, he should help out on special teams at minimum if he loses the starting job to Kilgore. He has the athleticism to compete right away and he is only a 20-year old rookie.
"He’s got some real gifts, athletically, that you hope a center had," Harbaugh said. "To be able to torque the body and positions that they can get in athletically. He gets in some of those rare type of gifted, athletic positions that will be great to work with. So, he’s got a lot of tools to work with. [Offensive Line Coach] Mike Solari [will be] working with him [and there will be] a veteran O-Line group surrounding him, that’s going to be very beneficial to him."
Martin is coming off both a kneecap and ankle injury, but will be ready for OTAs and training camp.
LB Chris Borland (Third Round)
The 49ers acquired this third round pick at No.77 overall when trading down in the 2013 NFL Draft with the Carolina Panthers. Borland is a part of the return package for Alex Smith including Tank Carradine, Carlos Hyde, a draft pick to trade up for Corey Lemonier and a future fourth-round draft pick in 2015.
Borland is seen as an undersized linebacker who has short hands, but he was productive in college while at Wisconsin. He has a high football intelligence and the 49ers feel he can be useful as a rotational inside linebacker as well as on special teams.
"[Borland is] a very productive football player," Harbaugh said. "[We're] very, very excited about Chris. Some of the plays that he makes, the instincts that he has. The way he sees the game, the way he studies the game. You know he studies it because he’s already moving in directions that a person can only be moving that quickly because they had a tip, or they had a study, a film or something that the coaches had given them. And that really shows up in the tape. Fifteen forced fumbles, helmets knocked loose. He’s got a way. He’s got great hands. The way he tackles, 250 pounds. To me, my visual of it is like a bowling ball hitting pins. He’s got that kind of strike.”
Borland will compete with Michael Wilhoite for the fill-in inside linebacker role in absence of NaVorro Bowman, who suffered a torn ACL last January. While he doesn't have the greatest athleticism, he has the instincts to make plays where his production can be cited. He should also have a role on special teams for 2014.
OL Brandon Thomas (Third Round Compensatory)
The 49ers used their only compensatory draft pick on Brandon Thomas, who would have been a higher draft pick if he didn't tear his ACL earlier this year while working out for the New Orleans Saints.
Thomas is a versatile offensive lineman who primarily played tackle while in college. At 6-3, 317 pounds, he currently projects as an interior lineman at the NFL level. He is an athletic player who has a long wingspan and can play up to his level of competition.
He will sit out for the 2014 season similarly to how Marcus Lattimore did in 2013 as he recovers from a torn ACL. This will be a "redshirt" season for him.
"[The plan for Brandon Thomas is to] get him healthy," Baalke said. "It was an unfortunate thing. He is a great young man [who] just tore his ACL. He was the highest player on our board once again when we made our pick."
WR Bruce Ellington (Fourth Round)
The 49ers did not make any trades on day three of the 2014 NFL Draft and started the morning by taking WR Bruce Ellington in the fourth round. In Day 2, they traded out of the third round and went down 12 spots for this pick.
Ellington has the potential to be a deep threat with decent straight line speed. While he lacks height at 5-9 and is 197 pounds, he is a competitive athlete who also played point guard in basketball. The 49ers will have him compete for a kick and punt returning role with LaMichael James in training camp.
"He’s a skilled athlete and he’s a competitive athlete and those are good qualities to have," Baalke said. "He’s also a very smart, instinctive athlete. You put all that together you’ve got a pretty good package.”
Ellington's explosiveness should make him a weapon in the open field on offense. He can be utilized for screen passes and can burst past any defenders.
CB Dontae Johnson (Fourth round)
Johnson was selected at No. 129 overall in the fourth round by the 49ers in the 2014 NFL Draft. He can compete right away to be the team's No. 2 cornerback.
At 6-2, 200 pounds, Johnson fits the description of a large, physical CB where the NFL is beginning to value defensive backs who can handle the big WRs. He also has the versatility to play safety if needed.
"I have every confidence in my ability to come and play at the next level. And just my work ethic. I feel like my work ethic is one that wants to learn and get better. Whether it be at corner, nickel, safety, whatever position it is. I feel like if I have that mindset, I feel like I could succeed and it will work out for me at the next level."
The 49ers can plug him at any defensive back position, but Baalke stated that he will be a cornerback and the coaching staff will work from there. He will join a mix of Eric Wright, Perrish Cox, Chris Cook and Chris Culliver for the No. 2 CB role in training camp.
LB Aaron Lynch (Fifth round)
The 49ers took Aaron Lynch in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He was the only player the 49ers drafted who was brought in for a pre-draft visit.
Lynch was initially a Notre Dame DE who transferred to South Florida after having trouble off the field. He was under one of Harbaugh's Stanford assistants in Willie Taggart during his last year at the college level.
While he had previous issues off the field, Lynch has the potential to be a decent pass rusher as he would convert to OLB in a 3-4 defense. The 49ers coaching staff liked that he admitted his mistakes and how he wants to work past his former problems.
"What I liked most about him, and what gives you a chance, is honesty," Harbaugh said of Lynch. "Somebody tells you the truth. If you have that then you’ve got a great basis to work from, in my opinion. We’ve all made mistakes. That’s how we get smart, by learning from our mistakes. I believe he’s at the point where he truly has a desire to learn from prior mistakes, and he’s a very, very young man."
Lynch will be behind Dan Skuta and Corey Lemonier on the depth chart at OLB, but could compete right away as a pass rushing specialist. He should benefit from the coaching under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
CB Keith Reaser (Fifth round)
The 49ers took Keith Reaser at No. 170 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. Reaser will be sitting out in 2014 as he had his second surgery last February from a torn ACL injury.
Reaser is a strong CB who had a a decent combine despite being injured. He bench pressed 225 pounds for 22 reps. He is a decent press coverage cornerback who will need to refine his game at the NFL level.
"I think I’m a guy that can do it all," Reaser said. "I think I’m an all-around guy. I think I know the game well. I think I pick up on the defense. I think I’m an all-around corner.”
Reaser can also return kickoffs and punts where the 49ers can have him try out at those positions. His biggest strength on defense is keeping players in front of him and excelling at man coverage.
CB Kenneth Acker (Sixth Round)
After trading down on Day 2, the 49ers picked up a sixth-round draft pick (No. 180 overall) and used it to select CB Kenneth Acker.
Acker had a decent Pro Day where he had a 36-inch vertical jump and a 4.50 second 40-yard dash. He will be competing for a roster spot in the secondary and should also be a special teams player. Acker is capable of returning punts and kickoffs, where he said he practiced it in his last years at SMU.
"I feel like I just bring a lot of versatility to the team," Acker said. "I’m able to learn things really fast and feel like I’m a player that’s just out there and hungry at all times. I’m a real bad competitor. I love to win. I hate to lose. It really irks me so I’m just a guy that’s going to go out there and do it as best as I can. I like to put on a show for the fans and everything because I’m a fan of football and I like a good game."
Acker has adequate size for a CB at 6-0, 190 pounds.It will be an uphill battle, but his ceiling is being the No. 5 cornerback on the 49ers for 2014.
DE Kaleb Ramsey (Seventh Round)
The 49ers took Kaleb Ramsey at No. 243 overall in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Ramsey is an athletic defensive lineman who can play five, four and three-technique on the front four.
He was one of the strongest lineman where he bench pressed 225 pounds for 36 reps at the combine. The 49ers liked his ability to play multiple roles on the defensive line and they expect to figure out how to utilize him to his strengths.
"[Ramsey is] a very athletic big man and has played at a lot of different weights," Baalke said. "So, he’s a guy that has one of those body types that you can kind of massage to what you want him to be. A guy that could get down and play some stand up on his feet. He’s athletic enough to do that. Or a guy that you keep the weight on and you make him an end in a three-technique in your sub package stuff. So, just a lot of versatility.”
Ramsey will compete with Demarcus Dobbs and Tony Jerod-Eddie for rotation spot on the 49ers defensive line. He most likely will land a practice squad role in 2014.
FB Trey Millard (Seventh Round)
With their final draft pick, the 49ers selected FB Trey Millard at No. 245 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. Like Thomas and Reaser, Millard is also coming off a torn ACL and will start the season on the PUP.
The last 49ers draft pick brings solid blocking to the table and he is expected to be a fullback in their offensive scheme. He can project to be a great lead blocker as a reserve FB behind Bruce Miller.
"He’s a fullback in our system and that is a varied role if you look we play [FB] Bruce [Miller]," Baalke said. "He’s going to be a guy that’s going to be asked to block, a guy that’s going to be asked to get out into routes, block both run and pass game and also at times, although it be vary few, they get the football. So, he’s a well-rounded guy and has played a lot of ball at a high level."
Millard can play multiple roles as a tailback, fullback and even a slot receiver if needed where he fits a "Swiss Army Knife" type of player. He could also be a special teams contributor for kickoff and punt coverage units.
Jim Harbaugh hinted that he could see playing time late in the 2014 season as he had surgery on his torn ACL in November. The 49ers can slowly ease him into the offense when they feel he is ready, but is a project in the short term.