Byham Pitt's First Player Drafted This Year

With the selection of Nate Byham in the sixth round during the NFL Draft Saturday, the San Francisco 49ers made a statement that they are going to passionately run the football this season.

Regarded among the top blockers at his position, former Pittsburgh tight end Nate Byham gets a chance to be reunited with former Panthers' middle linebacker Scott McKillop (a fourth-round pick last year) and several other former Pitt players.

"I feel like I'm an old-school tight end,'' Byham said. "My strengths are blocking and doing whatever I can on the field to help my team, (so) I think I'll fit in really well in San Francisco. (Coach) Mike Singletary is a blue-collar guy, and that fits my stile of play perfectly.''

Byham watched the draft with family and friends at his girlfriend's house and anticipated that nearly every name that was called would be his as the third day rolled on Saturday. Byham was the first Pitt player taken this year. Dorin Dickerson was selected in the seventh round by the Houston Texans.

"It was a real exciting few hours and after my name was called, I was on the phone constantly with friends, family and teammates all congratulating me and wishing me well,'' Byham said. "I was real surprised that Dorin didn't go earlier in the draft. I was on the phone all day with Dorin and after I was picked I (told) him to keep his head up and hang in there because I knew he'd be going somewhere.''

While Byham's receiving numbers weren't as impressive as some believed they should have been, he developed into a devastating blocker at 6-foot-4 and nearly 270 pounds. He also has good hands and made several big catches during his career.

"Playing at Pitt under Dave Wannstedt really helped me prepare to play at the next level due to the pro style that they run and the way they prepare and play the game,'' Byham said.

Byham will get to be tutored by veteran Vernon Davis, a fourth-year pro from Maryland, with the 49ers.

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