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April 30, 2013
Arms race: 49ers draft picks have something in common


You can't tell the true measure of a man until you put a tape measure to his arm.

This appears to be the 49ers' draft motto. For the second time in three years, Jim Harbaugh spoke at length about, well, length when discussing individual members of his 11-man draft class. Two years ago, you'll recall, both Harbaugh and Trent Baalke were positively giddy about Aldon Smith's wingspan.

Smith's arms measure 35 3/8 inches from shoulder to the end of his middle finger, giving him one of the longest reaches of any player, including offensive tackles, in the 2011 draft. It's the reason I wanted to call him, "The Condor," (which somehow hasn't really caught on. Yet.)

None of the 49ers' draft picks have overtaken Smith in terms of lever length. But as you see, many of them - indeed, most of them - stand out in this category. Even quarterback B.J. Daniels measures up at 32 inches, which is pretty long for someone who stands 5-11.


S Eric Reid - 33 5/8 inches
DL Tank Carradine - 34 ¾
TE Vance McDonald - 34 ½
OLB Corey Lemonier - 34 ½
Quinton Patton - 31 3/8
Marcus Lattimore - 32 ½
Quinton Dial - 34 ½
Nick Moody - 31 5/8
B.J. Daniels - 32
Carter Bykowski - 33 ¾
Marcus Cooper - 32 ¾
Lawrence Okoye - 34 ½
Luke Marquardt - 34 1/2

For a lineman like Carradine, long arms are essential for keeping offensive lineman from getting their hands on his body and for knocking away blocker's arms. For someone like Reid, they help in attacking a ball in the air and getting a ball carrier on the ground. And for Lemonier, they increase his surface area when he drops into coverage, making the zone he patrols that much bigger.

I'm not exactly sure why the 49ers didn't take tight end Zach Ertz at no. 34 or wait to take safety Jonathan Cyprien at no. 31. But it's worth noting that Ertz's arms measured 31 ¾ inches, which is short for a 6-6 tight end. Cyprien's, meanwhile, meanwhile, also were 31 ¾ inches. Why didn't the 49ers draft Arizona quarterback Matt Scott? His arms are 29 7/8 inches.

If two players are similar, go with the one with longer levers.

Want to talk more about men's arms? I'll be hosting a chat at 11 a.m. today. You can congratulate me on landing my draft crush and ask *any question you want. Log onto www.sacbee.com/live.

* If you ask any will-X-be-converted-to-safety question, so help me ...

-- 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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