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Tank Carradine snatched up by 49ers at No. 40

Tank Carradine recently ran a 40 in the 4.7 range to show off the progress his injured knee has made. (Mark Goldman/Icon SMI)Tank Carradine recently ran a 40 in the 4.7 range to show off the progress his injured knee has made. (Mark Goldman/Icon SMI)

Follow every pick of the 2013 NFL draft

The ACL injury Tank Carradine suffered back in November clearly scared a host of teams away -- Carradine had 11.0 sacks in 11 games last season and, at 100 percent, might be the best pass rusher in this entire draft. But the San Francisco 49ers, with an already loaded roster and double-digit draft picks, had the perfect situation to take a shot here.

The 49ers nabbed Carradine with the No. 40 pick, a terrific risk/reward proposition at that point.

San Francisco has enough defensive talent it can afford to wait on Carradine's recovery, rather than trying to rush him back. The challenge awaiting the 49ers once he gets there will be in finding ways to use him -- San Francisco runs a base 3-4 defense, while Carradine played in a 4-3 in college and projected to be a DE in the latter setup.

However, the 49ers do use some 4-3 looks and they may be able to drop Carradine in as an outside linebacker in their 3-4. (He also could try to bulk up a bit and play some 3-4 DE.) Regardless of the strategy, the 49ers will love Carradine's ability to get into the backfield on passing downs.

Had Carradine not torn his ACL, he would have been a sure bet to be picked in Round 1. In fact, even now, one could make the argument Carradine is better suited for the jump to the NFL than his former teammate Bjoern Werner, who was selected Thursday night. Werner also landed with a team that runs the 3-4, coincidentally, in Indianapolis.

The Colts will ask Werner to provide an impact immediately. San Francisco can be more patient with Carradine, and the payoff should be worth it.

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