Lloyd could make WR corps complete

Brandon Lloyd's nickname is 'Six.' As in touchdowns. As in spreading the field and getting into the end zone. The 49ers can use a guy like that, and they just got him Sunday in the fourth round of the NFL draft. The Niners didn't expect to get a WR of such quality on the second day, but since Lloyd fell to them at the No. 124 pick, it changes their WR outlook positively and instantly improves the quality of their draft. "We're fortunate to get him at this pick," coach Dennis Erickson said.

That appears to be true. Lloyd, a fourth-year junior who was a star in the defensive-minded Big Ten the past two seasons, was rated as one of the top eight receivers this year in a deep draft at that position. He strung together near-indentical 65-catch, 1,000-yard seasons the past two years at Illinois.

After passing on a receiver on their first three selections, the Niners didn't expect Lloyd would still be around late in the fourth round. But there he was, after a dozen receivers already were taken before him. The 49ers pounced.

"Particularly in the situation in which we were in, where we needed (a receiver) and we weren't going to take one unless he could play," Erickson said. "We're excited about it. He was a good pick for us."

Lloyd, a college long jumper and hurdler who says he has been consistently timed in the "mid-4.4" range in the 40-yard dash, brings experience, productivity and outstanding hands to a team that is searching for a strong No. 3 complement to starters Terrell Owens and Tai Streets. The Niners expect more production out of their No. 3 receiver this year in Erickson's more dynamic passing offense.

"He's a very polished receiver," Erickson said. "He's got good quickness and size. Had he not been there, we probably would have went another direction with this pick. We were holding our breath as it came right down to it because obviously we needed one. He'll come in and help us right away."

Lloyd immediately becomes a top candidate for the prime playing time that figures to go to the team's third wideout this season. The Niners are focusing on that spot as an area in which the team definitely needs to get better to reach the next level in 2003.

"Whether it's Brandon or whether it's Cedrick (Wilson) or whether we look after June 1, that is still an option for us," Erickson said. "We probably aren't done. If there is something out there we feel that we can afford and that we really think could help us at the position, we're going to do it. It will be interesting to see where Brandon's at. We may see him at the mini-camp and really like what we see."

Lloyd is planning on it.

"I know I'm up there with the best receivers (coming out of college)," Lloyd said. "I expect to be the No. 3 here this year. It's going to take a lot of hard work. But I'm coming in willing to learn. I'm ready to come in and learn the ropes from T.O. and Tai - what it takes to be a great receiver in this league."

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