SANTA CLARA — Tank Carradine repeatedly made one thing clear: his right knee has made a remarkable recovery from November reconstructive surgery and he expects no long-term problems that could derail his NFL career.
The San Francisco 49ers selected the defensive end from Florida State with the 40th pick in the second round of the NFL draft Friday, and are expected to use him initially as an outside linebacker in their 3-4 defense.
“My knee feels great. There's nothing wrong with my knee,” Carradine said on a conference call. “There's no long-term things that I think will go wrong with my knee, because I'm healthy.”
The 49ers are counting on him emerging as a consistent contributor in short order. A talented pass-rusher from both sides of the line, Carradine could eventually shift to defensive end down the road if Justin Smith leaves the franchise — and he is heading into the final year of his contract.
San Francisco quickly filled another big need Friday night, trading up to select Rice tight end Vance McDonald with the 55th selection. The NFC champions acquired the pick from the Green Bay Packers, giving up the 61st choice in the second round and a sixth-round pick at No. 173. San Francisco later pulled off another swap with the Packers to move up five spots and choose Auburn defensive end Corey Lemonier at 88th.
The 49ers lost tight end Delanie Walker, Vernon Davis' backup, to the Titans last month in free agency. McDonald was surprised to be chosen by the 49ers.
“I kind of just had the feeling it was going to be someone coming out of left field and grabbing me up, and that's pretty much what happened here,” he said.
Now, McDonald must prepare for quarterback Colin Kaepernick's zippy passes, or “fireballs” as he called them.
“It's awesome to know I'll be a part of it,” he said of the offense.
The agile Carradine, known for his quick-burst ability off the line, played right defensive end in college.