The best-case scenario for Marcus Lattimore, the former South Carolina running back who has first-round talent but is coming off a devastating knee injury, was that he’d be drafted by a deep, talented team that would have the patience to let him recover properly before putting him back on the field.
And that’s exactly what happened.
The 49ers drafted Lattimore with the 131st pick in the fourth round, putting him on a team where there will be no pressure for him to play at all as a rookie. Lattimore may spend the entire 2013 season on injured reserve, watching and learning from 49ers running backs Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James, and then be ready to go in 2014.
If Lattimore ever gets all the way back to full speed, he’ll be a great pickup for the 49ers. He’s a strong, fast and tough runner who has been productive at the highest levels of college football. He just needs to get healthy.