49ers grab Rumph in Round 1

There was no hesitation by the 49ers in the first round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. In a no-brainer, slam-dunk selection, San Francisco was on the clock less than five minutes before the Niners made Miami cornerback Mike Rumph the No. 27 overall pick in the draft.</P>

"As you notice, we made the selection faster than anybody in the first round," Niners general manager Terry Donahue said. "We didn't mess around."

Rumph is one of the primary players the Niners had targeted all along for their top pick. He fills the team's most pressing need entering the draft – a cornerback to strengthen San Francisco's nickel and dime coverage packages – and he possibly could challenge incumbent Jason Webster for the starting job at right cornerback.

Rumph (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) gives the 49ers a physical dimension not possessed by Webster and starting left cornerback Ahmed Plummer, a first-round pick in 2000 who developed into a Pro Bowl alternate and one of the NFL's top young cornerbacks last season. Rumph developed a reputation at Miami as an intimidating figure who excels in bump-and-run coverage.

"We think it was real important to get a player like Mike Rumph because he was so physical," 49ers general manager Terry Donahue said. "He's different than most of our corners. He's a big, long corner who can press and our coaches know exactly how they want to use him in our defensive scheme. We were very excited when we had an opportunity to get him."

While helping lead Miami to the national championship last season, Rumph did not allow a reception in seven games and opposing receivers finished the season with only five catches against him. He was the third player selected in the first round from Miami's secondary, and the experience of playing in that kind of college program with that kind of talent around him should help Rumph's transition to the high expectations he'll face with the 49ers.

"I don't think the NFL is too big for him," Niners secondary coach Brett Maxie said. "He's played in front of 70,000 fans, he's won a national championship and he's been successful. He knows how to work and he's very disciplined because he's been in that type of football environment where those types of things are important."


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