Niners take Slowey in sixth round

There really wasn't much suspense for former North Medford football standout Jason Slowey as the final rounds of the NFL draft unfolded Saturday.

Although he mostly kept the information to himself, the offensive lineman from Western Oregon University fully expected to be selected by the San Francisco 49ers with their second pick in the sixth round, No. 199 overall.

And that's exactly what happened.

Before the draft, the Niners told Slowey's agent, Joe Linta, of their plans. The 2007 North Medford graduate texted Linta Saturday morning to see if anything had changed, and it hadn't.

Linta represents about 30 NFL players, said Slowey, including Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

"It's a good day," Slowey said about 11/2 hours after being picked and after having talked with San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh and two offensive line coaches. "It worked out. That's where I thought I'd go all along. My agent told me San Francisco likes me a lot."

The 49ers captured the NFC West last season with a 13-3 record and got within one game of the Super Bowl, losing to the eventual champion New York Giants, 20-17, in the conference title game.

The 6-foot-21/2, 303-pound Slowey played left tackle during his career at WOU but will be converted to center in the pros. The 49ers are seeking a backup to starter Jonathan Goodwin.

Slowey's selection adds depth to an offensive line that prides itself on power running and zone blocking. In addition to backing up Goodwin, he could be tried at guard. The 49ers lost guard Adam Snyder to Arizona in free agency.

Slowey made a pre-draft visit to San Francisco and was thoroughly checked over by team doctors, in part to make sure a shoulder injury he suffered during his junior season was fully healed.

It was all systems go.

Slowey hadn't intended to watch much of the draft on TV, but that's what his family and friends wanted, so he did. No one was disappointed when his name was called.

"I feel good about it," said Slowey. "People always say they don't really care where they get drafted, but that's the place I wanted to go the whole time. Everything I saw during my visit I liked. The coaches were awesome and the people who worked at the facility were awesome."

The blue-collar nature of the program fits him perfectly, he added.

He's also comfortable with the staff because the coaches understand he's switching positions and has technique work to go through.

"This whole thing will be kind of a developmental process for me," said Slowey.

The 49ers called him just before it was their turn to pick. Harbaugh congratulated him, told him to celebrate Saturday, then go to work on Sunday.

"I'm kind of glad that was the message," said Slowey. "That's what I was going to do, anyway."

Slowey didn't plan a wild celebration. First, he wanted to squeeze in a nap. Then he was headed to Monmouth to take part in a Western Oregon football fundraising auction. provided analysis from Bucky Brooks for each player drafted.

Slowey, he wrote, "is a mauler/brawler with toughness. He will battle for time as a center for the 49ers."

The 49ers' other selections on the final day, which included Rounds 4 through 7, were guard Joe Looney of Wake Forest, linebacker Darius Fleming of Notre Dame, free safety Trent Robinson of Michigan State and defensive end Cam Johnson of Virginia.

San Francisco general manager Trent Baalke told The Associated Press he was pleased with the depth the team added and was hopeful it found a gem or two in the late rounds.

"It's all about value," Baalke said. "We feel good about that depth. It's about drafting players at the right value, and also making sure that they have a legitimate chance to make this football team."

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email

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