49ers tap Ellington in fourth round

The 49ers found a speedy, down-field threat early on in the fourth round Saturday, nabbing South Carolina receiver Bruce Ellington with the 106th-overall pick.

The San Francisco 49ers found their speed threat on the outside to combat the physical secondaries of the NFC West.

With their first pick in the fourth round, they took Bruce Ellington of South Carolina, a player many believed to be one of the best deep threats in the draft.

Ellington averaged 15 yards per reception during his three seasons with the Gamecocks. He also was the team's kickoff return specialist. Standing 5-9 and 197 pounds, he ran a 4.45 40 at the combine with a 39.5-inch vertical jump. But the consensus is he plays faster than his time indicates.

The two-sport star played point guard on the school's basketball team, averaging over 11 points and three assists a game.

It's a common theme among 49ers wideouts. Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Jon Baldwin and now Ellington all have extensive backgrounds on the hardwood.

"You want to be the best player on the court. You want to help lead. And just want to be a team player. Because as a point guard you want to lead everybody around you. I think that's going to help a lot when I get to the NFL," Ellington said.

Ellington only returned three punts in college, deferring that job to Ace Sanders during his career at South Carolina. But Ellington said he's up for the job.

"I'm going to be comfortable doing it. I'll be ready to come in and do whatever the coaches ask me to do - kick return, punt return, kickoff, punt whatever it is, I'll be ready to do," said Ellington.

The addition of Ellington might not bode well for the status of running back LaMichael James. The 49ers already added running back Carlos Hyde in the second round. And now that they've added a player with experience returning kicks, James' future with the team is murky.

Ellington worked out of the slot for the majority of his collegiate career, where the 49ers have a need inside of Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree. Ellington finished 13th in school history with 106 receptions and eighth with 16 touchdown catches.

Ellington joins a suddenly crowded group that added Stevie Johnson via trade Friday. The 49ers have Boldin, Crabtree, Quinton Patton, Kassim Osgood, Johnson, Brandon Lloyd, Ellington, Chuck Jacobs, David Reed, DeMarco Sampson and Devon Wylie.


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