Friday, April 27, 2012
Ducks' James joins crowded 49ers backfield
By Mike Sando
A run on offensive linemen in the second round made running back a better value choice for the San Francisco 49ers on Friday.
That's one way to read the team's decision to use the 60th overall choice for LaMichael James, the dynamic 5-foot-8 running back from Oregon.
The 49ers now have a crowded and diverse backfield. Frank Gore remains the back with the ability to do everything. Brandon Jacobs, signed in free agency, provides another look at 260 pounds. James weighs 194 pounds and has run 40 yards in less than 4.4 seconds.
Coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman should have fun coming up with new personnel groupings to showcase these backs' varied skills. The staff will know exactly how to utilize James after coaching against him in the Pacific-12 Conference previously.
James comes with baggage, including a guilty plea for harassment after authorities initially charged him with more ominous sounding crimes, including strangulation, for his role in a domestic dispute with a girlfriend. Alleged NCAA violations at Oregon also overshadowed his college career for a time.
The 49ers will prefer to focus on the vision of James hiding behind the 49ers' massive offensive line, then breaking into the clear against defenders lacking sufficient quickness to contain him.
San Francisco could still use help at guard, arguably.
Also: The St. Louis Rams just drafted Trumaine Johnson, cornerback from Montana. Back with more on him in a bit.