SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS York is impressed by Stanford's Kwame Harris
Owner John York said the big offensive lineman has intelligence and is special.
By TOM WILLIAMS
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
Nothing pleases San Francisco 49ers owner John York more than meeting intelligent, talented football players.
York said offensive lineman Kwame Harris, whom the Niners drafted with their first-round pick Saturday, fills the bill.
"Harris is an exceptionally intelligent young man from Stanford," said York Monday in a telephone interview from the team's headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif. "You can tell when you meet him that he has real heart. He said on the spot he will start [for us this fall], so you know he's coming in here to play."
Although Stanford is about 15 miles north of Santa Clara, Harris was in Delaware with his family when his name was called Saturday afternoon. He flew to California Saturday night to meet with team executives and coaches.
"We have players from the Ivy League and Notre Dame and others from Stanford," York said. "There are a number of bright, intellectual players on this team. But Kwame struck me as someone special when I met him."
Niners coach Dennis Erickson is happier with Harris' size.
"Kwame Harris is a big athlete who can play right tackle, left tackle and left guard. He's 6-foot-7, 310 pounds and an outstanding athlete," Erickson said. "He's very bright obviously. We all know that from where he went to school.
"We feel very fortunate, because we didn't think he'd be there when we picked."
Although Harris played on the right side at Stanford, Erickson sees him moving left.
"Finding guys that can play left tackle that are that big and that athletic are so hard to find, maybe the hardest position to find," Erickson said. "So when he was still sitting there, it was exciting."
Got defensive linemen
York is pleased the 49ers found defensive linemen in the second and third rounds to replace the departed Chike Okeafor and Dana Stubblefield.
"Andrew Williams is huge and should be very effective on the end," York said of the third-round pick form Miami. "[Penn State's] Anthony Adams is aggressive and will fill in the middle at tackle for us.
"All three will make an impact," York said.
The highlight of Sunday's four offensive selections was Notre Dame wide receiver Arnaz Battle, who was selected in the sixth round.
"We liked Arnaz as high as the fourth round, but we didn't feel the need to reach that far," York said. "[Wide receiver] Brandon Lloyd from Illinois [the fourth-round selection] should be able to help us right away."
In the seventh round, the Niners took Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey, who had led the Hurricanes to two BCS title games.
York said that as the team's final pick approached, the brain trust's eyes were focused on a guard, a punter and Dorsey.
"The guard was taken several picks before our turn, so that helped simplify the decision," said York, calling the selection a rare one that was liked by the assistant coaches and general manager Terry Donahue.
"Everybody liked it so a gamble like that is less risky when everyone is on the same page," York said. "Everyone here thinks Ken Dorsey is a winner.
"It reminds me of how Joe Montana was thought to be a winner, but supposedly didn't have the arm strength to play in the NFL. We know better now," said York of the 49ers' Hall of Fame quarterback.
York said the one need that the team did not fill was in the secondary.
"We were not lucky enough to have defensive backs fall to us," he said.