SANTA CLARA, Calif. —Marcus Lattimore won’t have to look far for inspiration to make it in the NFL after a devastating knee injury. He’ll find it standing next to him with the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers took a chance during Saturday’s NFL Draft by using a fourth-round selection on Lattimore, the South Carolina star who suffered a right knee injury last season just one year after tearing ligaments in his left knee.
San Francisco took a similar gamble several years ago when it spent a third-round selection on Frank Gore, who had suffered torn ligaments in each of his knees a year apart at Miami before declaring for the NFL Draft after his junior season.
“It’s still surreal to me,” Lattimore said after the 49ers made him the No. 131 overall pick. “This is a great opportunity with a great organization and I just can’t wait to get there.”
FALCONS: General manager Thomas Dimitroff had two major goals heading into the NFL Draft – get a starting cornerback and bolster his reserves on defense.
Trading up eight spots in the first round to select cornerback Desmond Trufant solved the Falcons’ biggest need, but Dimitroff used five of Atlanta’s next seven picks to give the defensive roster some depth.
“We feel like we accomplished a lot of our needs,” Dimitroff said.
After picking Trufant and cornerback Robert Alford in the first two rounds, Dimitroff kept his focus on defense Saturday, picking defensive end Malliciah Goodman of Clemson in the fourth round and Stansly Maponga, of Texas Christian, in the fifth.
In the seventh round, the Falcons selected safeties Kemal Ishmael, of Central Florida, and Zeke Motta, of Notre Dame.
Atlanta also helped its offense, taking Stanford tight end Levine Toilolo in the fourth round and Duke quarterback Sean Renfree in the seventh.
FREE AGENTS: Georgia Southern’s Darius Eubanks, who played at Thomson, signed a free agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings. He had 77 total tackles last season
Jakar Hamilton, who starred at Strom Thurmond, signed a free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys. Hamilton finished his college career at South Carolina State, making 40 total tackles as a senior.