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News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

March 24, 2012
49ers to host highly regarded Virginia Tech running back

One of the draft-eligible players dropping by 49ers headquarters in the next few weeks will be Virginia Tech's David Wilson, who is one of three running backs vying to be the second runner - after Alabama's Trent Richardson - taken in the draft. Wilson will visit on April 11 and 12, according to a league source.

Teams are allowed to host 30 players before the draft, and the 49ers also will hold a local pro day that will feature players from Cal, Stanford, San Jose State and any other player who grew up in the Bay Area. Which is to say, they will have taken a close look at hundreds of players by the time the first round begins April 26.

Still, running back promises to be a focus during the three-day draft. The 49ers sent director of player personnel Tom Gamble to recent pro days at Oregon and Washington presumably to look at running backs LaMichael James and Chris Polk respectively.

In terms of balance, speed and athleticism, Wilson is one of the most talented players in the draft, and in my humble opinion, the second-best running back. He ran for 1,709 yards (5.9-yard average) for the Hokies last year and scored nine touchdowns. However, he tends to dance at the line of scrimmage - something that running backs coach Tom Rathman doesn't tolerate - and there's a question about whether he's an every-down runner or a change-of-pace back. If I had to guess, I'd say the 49ers like Boise State's Doug Martin better.

The second running back taken in the draft also could be Miami's Lamar Miller (1,272 yards, 5.6-yard average, 9 TDs) or Martin (1,299, 4.9, 16), both of whom are every-down runners. So is Polk, who ran for 1,488 yards, a 5.1-yard average and 12 touchdowns last year for the Huskies. Before you ask, the 49ers undoubtedly have met or will meet with Martin and Miller at some point.

The 49ers also attended the Virginia Tech pro day earlier this month. In addition to Wilson, the school has a couple of wide receivers, Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale, who will be available in the later rounds.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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