A need for Rasheed

Rasheed Marshall, the second of the 49ers' two fifth-round draft picks, talks about making the position switch from quarterback to receiver in the NFL and discusses other possible ways the Niners might put his unique skills to use.

Q: What's your reaction to being drafted by the Niners?

Marshall: It's a great time to be a 49er right now. It's a great opportunity.

Q: Why is that?

Marshall: I know San Francisco is a team that is on the up rise, coming up. There are some young players and I think I can help out and I'm anxious to do it.

Q: When did you know you would have to change positions to play at the NFL level?

Marshall: Right after the season I started to get thoughts in my mind that it would probably be best for me to try wide receiver. Once I started thinking that, my invite came in from the combine and it was for wide receiver so everything pretty much came out the way I thought it would. I went to combine and worked out with the wide receivers and did everything I had to do there.

Q: So the decision to switch positions was essentially made for you by someone else?

Marshall: Yes, pretty much that's how it was. For some strange reason, I had a feeling that was the way it was going to pan out. I was prepared for it. I started running routes and participated in the Gridiron Classic All-Star game in Orlando and got a few series in at wide receiver there. I also played wide receiver in high school a little bit so I have a little background experience at the wide receiver position.

Q: Have you followed the careers of people such as Hines Ward and Antwaan Randal El who have made the position change?

Marshall: Definitely. I've followed those guys' careers. I'm a Pittsburgh guy. I'm friends with those guys so they kind of guided me along, gave me good advice and gave me good confidence that I needed to make the switch.

Q: Do you know Kevan Barlow?

Marshall: Yes, I played against Kevan in high school. He was a senior my sophomore year so I've played against Kevan before.

Q: Did you follow guys like Matt Jones (21st overall pick from Arkansas) who made the switch?

Marshall: We are similar in our own respective ways. He's a much bigger guy than me. He's a tall guy, he's fast and he can do a lot of different things. I think I'm sort of similar in a way; we're both athletic. But I'm smaller and I think I'm a lot quicker than he is and the lateral movement that I have is a lot different than him.

Q: Have people said "Slash" when talking about you?

Marshall: Yeah, it's come up a few times. A few teams I talked to said they didn't want to leave the quarterback situation out of the picture. That's always a good thing because I've been playing quarterback my whole life. I'm just glad to get the opportunity to try to come into this league and prove myself and I'm going to make the most of it.

Q: What are your thoughts on being a return man?

Marshall: I have some kick-returner experience. I was at prep school at Valley Forge (PA) Military Academy and handled kickoffs there. A few punts in high school but I wasn't the full-time punt returner but I still have a little experience with returning punts, too.

Q: So you'd be open to returning?

Marshall: Definitely, anything to try and help the team out and better my chances of making the team.

Q: Do you know Julian Peterson?

Marshall: Yeah, I know of him, I've never met him. He's also a Valley Forge guy. There's always a special bond between Valley Forge players and even guys who didn't play sports there at the school, there's a special bond. You go through some things that a lot of people don't go through.

Q: What kinds of things?

Marshall: You wake up every day at 5:45 in the morning, march around, you wear uniforms, you shine shoes, march in parades, it's a lot of things that people outside of Valley Forge don't understand about the school. It's definitely an experience going to that school. It's almost like a fraternity.

Q: What would you think about the 49ers finding ways to get you on the field for some snaps in the backfield?

Marshall: That's great, sounds good. Like I said, I've been a quarterback all of my life and being able to take advantage of God-given ability and the skills that I have, I think that's a great opportunity for myself. If you look at it, Pittsburgh did a lot of things like that with Kordell Stewart. Coach (Mike) Mularkey had both of those guys, Kordell Stewart and Antwaan Randel El, and he incorporated them a lot in the offense with a lot of trick plays. It's going to be a good opportunity for myself.


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