Jim Harbuagh is a crazy man but he apparently knows what he’s doing. Continuing a trend from last season where the head coach drafted running back LaMichael James out of Oregon, the San Francisco 49ers selected South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore with the 131st overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Lattimore’s selection by the 49ers is both puzzling, yet makes complete sense at the same time. The story on Lattimore is that he could have been a first round draft pick had he knot torn his knee to shreds back in October of 2012. Since then it’s been a mystery as to whether or not he’d ever come close to being the same guy he once was with the Gamecocks.
But Lattimore showed impressive signs of recovery in the offseason and he fits into a system in San Francisco that will allow him to take a back seat, get completely healed and learn the ropes from Frank Gore. Lattimore isn’t going to start the season for the Niners, as no rookie usually does, but he’s welcomed there and there’s no pressure for immediate success meaning he can get completely healed so the 49ers can get the most out of him.
Speaking of Frank Gore, the Niners running back isn’t getting any younger and his career is in it’s twilight with San Francisco. Still, Gore is a powerful runner who has at least another year left in him and it will be a year spent teaching Lattimore how to take over for him when he’s gone.
The bottom line on Lattimore is that he’s a work in progress, but thanks to medical science and freaks like Adrian Peterson, a knee injury isn’t as career altering as it used to be. The fact that Lattimore has time to sit on the bench and both rest and learn from a Super Bowl contender means the 49ers are merely being blessed with more riches than they’ll ever need and they look like a team who will be goo for a long time to come.