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Saturday, April 27, 2013
Marcus Lattimore's addition follows pattern

By Mike Sando

The San Francisco 49ers reached the Super Bowl last season without requiring much from their 2012 draft class.

They remain in position to bring along prospects slowly and that is reflected in two draft selections through four rounds in 2013. Second-round choice Tank Carradine and especially fourth-round choice Marcus Lattimore are coming off injuries that could benefit from additional rehabilitation time. Both players would have been drafted earlier if they were healthier.

So, if all goes well for the 49ers, Carradine and Lattimore will return high value to the team down the line, if not right away. Carradine, a potentially important addition to the defensive front seven, has said his knee is healthy and he'll be ready to contribute this season. Lattimore suffered a more serious knee injury and, while ahead of schedule in his recovery, might not factor in 2013.

The 49ers do not have immediate needs at running back. Frank Gore remains productive. Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James appear to be quality players. Both could handle increased roles if Gore declined this season.

Lattimore's addition puts the team in better position to move on from Gore after the upcoming season, should that move make sense for the 49ers. Gore turns 30 next month.