Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
49ers defensive end Tank Carradine will see his NFL debut in 2014.
Tank Carradine, Defensive End
2013 Games Played/Started: 0/0
Drafted: Drafted by the 49ers in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft.
Like running back Marcus Lattimore, the 49ers did not draft former-Florida State defensive end Cornellius "Tank" Carradine to have an immediate impact at the NFL level.
The 49ers could already rely on their incumbent ends, Justin Smith and Ray McDonald, to shoulder most of the defensive work along the front seven.
Also similar to Lattimore, Carradine's draft stock took a heavy hit when a knee injury thwarted his senior year at Florida State.
Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network gave high praise to Carradine before the 2013 draft, stating that he would not be surprised if Carradine was a first-round pick.
Meanwhile, Matthew Fairburn of SB Nation also commended Carradine's efforts by saying that Carradine could have been a top-five pick had it not been for his knee injury.
Fortunately enough, Carradine slipped to the 49ers with the 40th-overall pick.
He missed the entire 2013 season, eventually winding up on injured reserve.
While fans have not seen Carradine make an impact at the NFL level, there is no reason to assume he will not be a force to be reckoned with in 2014.
After spending his first NFL season recovering from his knee injury, Carradine will likely be the primary backup at defensive end next season—spelling both Smith and McDonald in various packages and formations.
With Smith's career all but locked up in San Francisco through 2016, and McDonald's contract expiring the same year, it is safe to assume that Carradine's starting prospects are at least over one year away.
Still, Carradine will likely be utilized in the role described herein—various packages that not only give opposing offenses different looks, but also provide the 49ers with an opportunity to rest their veteran starters.
If Carradine impresses, and most like Sports Illustrated's Don Banks think he will, Carradine could play an impactful role in 2014, justifying San Francisco's early pick and further adding muscle to an already stout defense.
As mentioned throughout this slideshow, the 49ers have acquired a significant amount of talent that they did not necessarily have to rush into the fold right away.
They are afforded the luxury of already having a top-tier franchise with younger, developing players having to work their way up the ranks on the team's depth chart.
In a way, this gives these players an opportunity, not only to prove themselves, but also to show that they are worthy of increased roles over coming years.
2014 will be no different.
As these players continue to develop and improve, San Francisco's future looks just as bright as ever. The 49ers know they have talent in the making.
Fans just cannot wait to see it firsthand.
All statistics, records and accolades courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com and Sports-Reference.com unless otherwise indicated. Contractual information courtesy of Spotrac.com.
Peter Panacy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report, covering the San Francisco 49ers. Follow him @PeterMcShots on Twitter.