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Monday, April 7, 2014
Brandon Thomas fits 49ers’ draft mold

By Bill Williamson

In our weekend mailbag, we looked at whether the San Francisco 49ers could continue their trend of drafting injured players in an attempt to stash value for the future.

It appears there is another interesting candidate available. ESPN insider Adam Caplan reported Monday that Clemson guard Brandon Thomas tore his ACL last week. He is one of the highest rated guards in the draft. Caplan noted that Thomas shined during the Senior Bowl week and ESPN’s Louis Riddick tweeted that Thomas was one of the few players last season to do well against South Carolina star Jadeveon Clowney. Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. said Monday the group had a late-second round grade on Thomas before his injury.

It should also be noted that 49ers general manager Trent Baalke attended Clemson’s pro day. The 49ers could use some young interior lineman. Guard Mike Iupati is entering the final year of his contract and there is some belief, because of several other looming contracts, the 49ers may have a difficult time keeping Iupati.

Thomas, who will likely not be avalable for the 2014 season, will very likely fall in the draft. The 49ers have 11 picks and not a lot of immediate needs. They have to be considered a candidate to take a falling star like Thomas.

They showed they are not afraid to make such a move. The 49ers took defensive lineman Tank Carradine in the second round and running back Marcus Lattimore in the fourth round last year. Both players missed the 2013 season because of torn ACLs.

They both would have been taken much higher if they were healthy. Both players are expected to make contributions this season. So, it only makes sense the 49ers could consider doing the same with Thomas.