--Veteran linebacker Derek Smith's starting job appears to be in jeopardy after the club drafted Patrick Willis of Ole Miss with the No. 11 overall selection in the draft. Smith and Willis will compete in training camp for the staring job at the "mike" linebacker.
"He sounds like a good kid -- nice, respectful guy," Smith said. "I'm sure he's a great athlete as well and a great football player if they took him that high. That's the way the NFL works. I think he'll make our team better."
--Damane Duckett has spent three seasons in the NFL as a defensive lineman, but he willingly made the conversion this offseason to offensive tackle.
"The more you can do, the longer you stay in this league," Duckett said. "If I can play offensive line and play good, and if I can play defensive line and play good, that's good."
--New defensive line coach Jim Tomsula marvels at the commitment he has seen this offseason from veteran Bryant Young, who typically shows up at the team's practice facility at 6 a.m. to work out.
"If you didn't know better you'd think he was an undrafted free agent trying to do everything he could to win a spot on the team," Tomsula.
--Oscar Lofton, 69, announced his retirement after 15 years with the 49ers as a college area scout in the southeast and south-central regions.
"I've either played, coached or scouted most of my life and football has been great to me," said Lofton, who lives in Hammond, La. "I feel very fortunate to have been part of the 49ers. I'll mostly miss the camaraderie with the guys I've worked with and the guys out on the road. There are some bonds you make that last a lifetime."
Prior to joining the 49ers in 1992, Lofton spent six years as a scout for the National Football Scouting Combine (1986-92). He began his career in football as an end for the Boston Patriots in 1960.
Vice president of player personnel Scot McCloughan retained Lofton when he took over two years ago.
"He's a quality guy, highly respected on the road and I knew him well before I came here," McCloughan said. "He's a great person, a hard worker and as a longtime coach before he got into scouting. He really understands what the whole process is about."
QUOTE TO NOTE
"Everybody is young and eager, except for Bryant Young, and ready to take that next step. I think we're ready to compete for the division and make a playoff run." -- 49ers receiver Darrell Jackson, who was acquired in a draft-day trade with the Seahawks.
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