The team's owner is expecially excited about the adademic skills of two selections.
By TOM WILLIAMS
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Of all the moves the 49ers made during the draft, none pleased owner Dr. John York more than landing two players with tremendous academic skills.
"You have to be intelligent to play this game," York said Sunday following the draft. "You have to be a football player first, but if you are intelligent, I think it goes a long way in trying to learn the schemes.
"That gives a player the ability to be used more quickly and in more situations early on," York said. "Not only is Saleem [Rasheed] an academic All-American, but Mike [Rumph] is going to graduate in May."
Rumph, a cornerback, was taken in the first round while Rasheed, a linebacker, went in the third.
"You hear about schools that don't graduate many players; well, we've got a kid from Miami who's graduating in four years and another from Alabama who's graduating in 31/2 years," York said. "So my hat is off to both of those schools."
York expressed satisfaction with his staff's efforts once the two-day selection marathon ended.
"We feel pretty good because we didn't have a lot of high draft choices," York said. "Our biggest concern was to get a tall corner who could play [Rumph].
"Second was to see if we could come out of this with a good kicker. I think we did that [Florida's Fred Chandler in the fourth round]."
"I think we did everything we wanted to do trying to fill in with backups," York said. "The only place we didn't strengthen our team was at wide receiver.
It's not because they didn't try.
"At least three times, we had players we were going to pick that were either taken by the team ahead of us or two teams ahead. Two of those were wide receivers," York said.
York is especially pleased with getting Rasheed.
"The rest of the time was spent seeing if we could fill in so our backups could be pushed, and I think we did that particularly with our second pick, Saleem Rasheed.
"With [backup linebacker] Terry Killens gone, we had to find someone who could play linebacker and special teams. Saleem will not only do that for us, he will improve that position."
Rasheed was honored as the Alabama business school's Student Athlete of the year.
"It stems from childhood," said Rasheed, who has a 3.48 grade-point average and needs 14 hours to graduate. "Growing up, my mother always told me that without academics, there is no football.
"So I always took my academics seriously because I loved football so much.
"After a while, I realized how important it was to have something like academics to fall back on," Rasheed said. "It's good when you can get rewards on and off the football field."
Among Sunday's selections, York was most pleased getting Texas Tech safety Kevin Curtis late in the fourth round and Brigham Young quarterback Brandon Doman in the fifth.
"Doman is a very mobile quarterback who can read multiple receivers and can get to the fourth and fifth receiver, which is not typical of a college quarterback," York said. "He's a winner -- he played 15 games and won 14 of them. He fits our idea of a 49ers' quarterback."