The 49ers drafted insurance for David Baas and Eric Heitmann today. The team selected 305-pound Daniel Kilgore from Appalachian State in the fifth round. Kilgore said he played both tackle and guard positions at Appalachian State but that the 49ers were looking at him to play center and perhaps guard. The 49ers were without a fifth-round pick today after making the Colin Kaepernick deal Friday. They sent the 174th (5th round) and 231st (7th) picks to the Packers to select Kilgore.
Baas played very well during his first full year at center in 2010. But he is an unrestricted free agent, who is sure to have suitors when free agency begins. Heitmann, meanwhile, is dealing with a neck injury that ended his 2010 season. Heitmann's future in the league is very much in doubt. Another center, Tony Wragge, also is a free agent.
Kilgore described himself as an athletic offensive lineman - he played all the major sports, including wrestling while growing up - who played center in high school. He also lined up at center during the Texas vs. The Nation all-star game earlier this year.
He said that the 49ers were one of the last teams to show interest in him, but that he hit it off with offensive line coach Mike Solari immediately. He said the two of them had a nearly 2 Â½-hour Skype interview last Monday. Kilgore is close to getting his degree and was in Boone, N.C. when Solari called. Solari, coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke all spoke on the phone with Kilgore after they selected him.
Solari, as you'll recall, was instrumental in drafting first-round picks Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati last year. The 49ers flew both players to Santa Clara to have them meet with Solari, who gave each his blessing.
Kilgore was the most elated selection we have spoken with thus far. "I'm on the top of the world right now," he said on a conference call. Kilgore presumably also would be insurance should starting left guard Chilo Rachal struggle with inconsistency again this season.
-- Matt Barrows