Position: Wide receiver
College: Michigan State
Height: 6 foot
Weight: 206 pounds
Selection: Sixth round, No. 213 overall
SANTA CLARA – Wide receiver Aaron Burbridge put up the kind of credentials at Michigan State that would seem to warrant being selected on the first or second day of the NFL draft.
Instead, the 49ers secured Burbridge with a sixth-round pick on Saturday afternoon.
“Being the competitor I am, of course, I wanted to go earlier than what I did,” Burbridge said on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “But it’s a true blessing to even be in the draft, so I’m just happy to be a 49er right now.”
Burbridge was the 2015 Big Ten Receiver of the Year after catching a career-high 85 passes for 1,258 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior. While Burbridge ran a 4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the combine, he and Sterling Shepard of Oklahoma led all receivers with 20 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press.
“I bring heart,” Burbridge said. “A lot of people feel that I’m not athletic or I’m not big enough. But I love this game and I play with heart. I make plays. I’m not as big as most receivers, but I play big. I can make plays and I can be very productive.”
Burbridge said he has a willingness to do the dirty work, including blocking in the run game.
“Playing at Michigan State, we take pride in blocking,” he said. “If you don’t block at Michigan State, you’re not going to play. That’s just second nature to me. I block and I do everything. I’m a versatile receiver, so I can do everything they ask me to do.”
Veteran Anquan Boldin, the 49ers’ leading receiver each of the past three seasons, remains unsigned. Burbridge, who said he models his game after Steve Smith, could see some action in the slot after playing almost exclusively on the outside during college.
Burbridge joins a 49ers group of wide receivers that includes Torrey Smith, Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington, Jerome Simpson, DeAndrew White, DeAndre Smelter, DiAndre Campbell, Dres Anderson and Eric Rogers.
Burbridge met with the 49ers during the combine, but he said he did not have a visit or a personal workout with the 49ers leading up to the draft.