Coffee to 49ers in third round (No. 74)

The 49ers just made their pick in the third round, selecting RB Glen Coffee (Alabama) to act as a complement to Frank Gore.

Coffee (6-0, 209) is a big back who has the frame to put on some weight. He’s an inside-the-tackles runner.


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We just spoke to Coffee on a conference call. He said he spoke to GM Scot McCloughan at the combine but he had no idea the 49ers were interested in him.


Coffee said he is excited about becoming a teammate of Frank Gore, whose style he admires. Coffee describes himself as a pounder – a player who would rather “run over you” than try to run away from defenders. “I’m passionate and I love contact,” he said.


The 49ers had said they wanted to get a back to complement Gore who has a different style. I’m not sure Coffee is that kind of guy, but he does appear to be better-suited as a short-yardage back. He said he has the frame to put on another 8 to 10 pounds. He expects to play in the 220 range.


Coffee said he believes playing for Nick Saban at Alabama will help him in his transition to the NFL. “He’s the best coach to play under,” Coffee said. “I feel prepared very well for the NFL.”


He played three years at Alabama, and was granted a medical hardship because of a right knee injury. In 2008, Coffee started all 14 games, rushed for 1,383 yards (5.9-yard average) with 10 touchdowns. He caught 16 passes for 118 yards and a TD.


He grew up in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and the furthest West he’s ever been is St. Louis, he said.


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I’ll be the first to write it: If this guy becomes the featured back, the 49ers’ offense will turn into “Ground Coffee.”


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Now a word about the 49ers’ draft board . . . in previous conversations I’ve had with 49ers GM Scot McCloughan, he has told me the 49ers have one draft board. It is arranged vertically by position and horizontally by rounds. There is enough space on the board to create some wiggle room, as the team considers its options, as far as comparing players at different positions.


The 49ers assign five different grades for the first round, two grades for the second round and one grade for Rounds 3 through 7. So what I believe that means is that with five picks until their spot at No. 43, the 49ers had three players who fit onto their board as players worth selections in the top half of the second round. If the Panthers had not stepped forward with a trade offer, the 49ers would have selected a player ahead of where they had him slotted.


The reason the 49ers’ board was decimated at that point is because this draft is considered so weak. For instance, the 49ers had just 18 players rated as first-round values. There are probably more players who fit into the third-seven slots.


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In case you haven’t heard the news, the 49ers selected Michael Crabtree yesterday with the No. 10 overall pick. Click here to relive the moment, as the 49ers found someone who appreciates fashion to wear their new/old uniforms.


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