49ers take RB Hyde with 2nd-round pick
AP Sports Writer
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Carlos Hyde has long admired Frank Gore, and now he wants to compete against the veteran running back for San Francisco’s starting job.
The 49ers boosted their running game depth by selecting the Ohio State star with the 57th pick of the NFL draft in the second round after trading down.
The Niners acquired Miami’s choice that came via San Diego after sending the 56th pick to Denver only minutes earlier. San Francisco added a potent runner to complement Frank Gore and Co. on Day 2 of the draft Friday to join Thursday’s first-round pick Jimmie Ward.
“I’m going to definitely get in there and compete to get that starting job and keep that running game alive that Frank Gore brought to the Niners,” said Hyde, who ran for 1,521 yards for the Buckeyes in 2013. “That’s a guy I watch in the NFL that plays really well. …They felt like my skill set can really help them out, what I do, what I bring to the game, I think personally they feel that can really help them get to that next level, get that trophy.”
The 30-year-old Gore is entering the final year of his contract. He is coming off his seventh 1,000-yard season and third straight in his nine-year career.
In 20 career starts for Ohio State and 41 games that also included playing fullback, Hyde generated 3,516 all-purpose yards, rushing for 3,198 yards on 523 carries.
San Francisco traded the 61st pick of the second round to Jacksonville, then selected USC center Marcus Martin at No. 70 and Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland at 77th. Martin was the final player in the green room at draft headquarters in New York.
“It makes you more hungry,” Martin said. “I’m coming in with a chip on my shoulder.”
Earlier Friday, the 49ers addressed a big need on the offensive side by acquiring wide receiver Stevie Johnson from the Buffalo Bills for an undisclosed 2015 draft pick. It was high priority for general manager Trent Baalke to find a reliable receiver.
Johnson is expected to fill a key spot as San Francisco’s likely No. 3 receiver behind Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin.
While Boldin received a new $12 million, two-year deal in March, Crabtree is entering the final season of his contract and San Francisco lost Mario Manningham in free agency.
Johnson spent the past four seasons as a starter in Buffalo. He became the Bills’ first player to break 1,000 yards receiving in consecutive seasons in 2010-11, and extended the streak in 2012.
Crabtree was happy to hear about the addition of another play maker to the receiving corps.
“It’s good,” Crabtree offered with a thumbs up and smile as he departed the facility Friday night.
Ward, selected 30th overall Thursday night, arrived at team headquarters and made the rounds. He met some players, including quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“He said, ‘Good luck, man, enjoy the weather,’” Ward said.
Coach Jim Harbaugh has praised the tackling ability of Ward, who said he learned from his father and regularly hit two older brothers.
“I was just taught to not be that guy that missed a tackle and slapped his hands, hit the ground,” Ward said. “That’s the sign of a loser, so I don’t like that.”
He flew in from Alabama ready to get to work, with only one bag that included the suit he wore for his introductory press conference and other appearances. Ward posed with his new No. 25 jersey — departed cornerback Tarell Brown’s old number — with Levi’s Stadium in the background.
“I didn’t even pack. That’s another crazy thing,” Ward said. “I packed a bag and a suit. I have T-shirts, sweats, hopefully Coach said everything I need is in here, so I’m going to be wearing San Francisco sweats everywhere and take pride in it. Red’s my favorite color. I’ve got my hat and I might not take it off for a good week. If you see me with this hat on next week, that just shows you how passionate I am for this program.”
Martin said he expects Daniel Kilgore to shift into the center role, but that remains to be seen.
Adding depth at linebacker gives the 49ers some reinforcements given All-Pro NaVorro Bowman is recovering from a serious left knee injury sustained during the NFC championship game loss at Seattle. In addition, Aldon Smith could face an NFL suspension for his legal trouble over the past eight months.