The 49ers’ third-round Saturday was similar to the one they had two years ago. They ended it by taking Ray McDonald, the Florida defensive tackle, with the 97th pick.
Many teams had McDonald as one of their top-rated linemen, but were scared away because of medical concerns. McDonald, who stands 6-3 and weighs 285 pounds, has had problems with both of his knees and twice has had surgery on his left anterior cruciate ligament.
Of course, a lot of teams were scared away from Frank Gore in 2005 for the same reason and it turns out his knees have held up pretty well. The 49ers had McDonald in town a few weeks ago in part to examine those knees. They still have concerns – more than they had with Gore – but coach Mike Nolan said he felt better knowing that McDonald was still very effective last year for the national champion Gators.
He said McDonald had the rare combination of quickness and power to play either of the defensive end positions in the 3-4 scheme and at the very least ought to provide good depth in the upcoming season. McDonald said he was used to a "two-gap" scheme and didn’t mind doing the dirty work required of a 3-4 defensive end.
"That’s me. That’s me all day," he said. "I don’t mind doing that."
If McDonald can overcome his injuries the way Gore has, it seems like an impressive 49ers draft indeed. The one black mark appeared to be the loss of their 2008 draft pick. But they got a first rounder back when they traded their second-round pick to the Indianapolis Colts.
As of now, the 49ers have six picks Sunday, but it could drop to five if the Seahawks accept the trade terms for receiver Darrell Jackson. Seattle’s best receiver last season passed a physical in Santa Clara Saturday and he and his wife were spending the night in the Bay Area. The 49ers have offered one of their four fourth-round picks for Jackson.
"He was real excited to be here and it seemed like he had plans to be here," said Nolan who met briefly with Jackson Saturday. Nolan characterized the 49ers’ chances at landing Jackson as "50-50."
Will they get him? Tune in tomorrow to find out …
I'll be blogging again after every pick -- and after any trades, so check back often.
-- Matt Barrows.