Second-round pick Tank Carradine has been on the 49ers’ 53-man roster for two games. The defensive lineman has been inactive for both games.
Carradine is one year removed from the knee injury that ended his final season at Florida State. While working to get himself ready to play physically, Carradine is also continuing to transition to a different role on the 49ers’ defense.
General manager Trent Baalke recently talked about the challenges that Carradine faces.
“He missed a lot of football, and for a rookie that complicates things a little bit because he doesn’t have all the techniques,” Baalke said. “If you remember the system he played at Florida State, hand in the dirt, outside edges, playing fast up-field, it’s a different style than we play. So there is going to be a learning curve for Tank.”
Carradine sustained a torn ACL in his right knee on Nov. 23, 2012. He was well enough to run a reported 4.75 to 4.85 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his pro day in April. But, according to sources, there was a belief among NFL teams that there were corners cut in Carradine’s rehabilitation in an attempt to impress teams prior to the draft.
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When the 49ers selected Carradine with the No. 40 overall selection, the 49ers began his rehabilitation program from the beginning.
Rookie defensive lineman Quinton Dial, a fifth-round draft pick, has seen action in two games after missing the first six weeks of the season due to offseason toe surgery. Dial’s injury was not as serious as Carradine’s, and Dial’s style of play at Alabama was more similar to his responsibilities within the 49ers’ scheme.
The 49ers believe Carradine will be able to make a contribution, if called up, this season. But when asked last week if Carradine is ready for NFL action, 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio answered, “I don’t know the answer to that.”
The 49ers selected Carradine (6 foot 4, 273 pounds) with the belief that he could eventually develop into a player in the Ray McDonald mold. Backups Tony Jerod-Eddie and Demarcus Dobbs split playing last week with McDonald out with a high-ankle sprain.