Running back Marcus Lattimore impressed NFL scouts during South Carolina's pro day on March 27.(Photo Jeff Blake USA TODAY Sports)
Former South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore has vowed that his two surgically repaired knees will be ready by opening day.
I feel like personally I need three more months before I put some pads on Lattimore told USA TODAY Sports on a trip to New York during draft week.
I know my body. I know when I'll be ready to play. It takes time I know but at the beginning of the season I feel like I should be ready to go.
But here's the thing Because Lattimore was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round Sunday he won't have to be ready.
The Niners have a solid running game with Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter so Lattimore taken with the 131st pick of the draft can take his time. He could start the season on the physically unable to perform list and eventually land on injured reserve all while learning from the guys in front of him. There's no rush to play.
The NFC champion Niners with a glut of draft picks and the talent to get back to the Super Bowl could afford to take a flier on the South Carolina running back who had his anterior cruciate lateral collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments fixed by surgeon James Andrews on Nov. 2.
It was Lattimore's second serious knee injury in two years.
The Niners appear to be stocking up on recuperating talent also drafting former Florida State defensive end/outside linebacker Tank Carradine who is recovering from a torn ACL. Like Lattimore Carradine taken in the second round could start the season inactive too. But with one of the NFL's best defenses what's the hurry
In the meantime Lattimore can dream of one day running behind one of the league's premier offensive lines not that anyone is doubting he could actually be ready by opening week.
When Lattimore demonstrated his knees at South Carolina's pro day on March 27 he ran several drills in the school's weight room and training area and when he was finished received an ovation from NFL scouts in attendance.
Lattimore had an inkling the Niners would take him. He said the St. Louis Rams New England Patriots Philadelphia Eagles and 49ers had shown the most interest in him during the predraft process.
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