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Iupati tells PFW he's 'thrilled' to be a 49er

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By Eric Edholm

Although the cell-phone reception was a little dicey and Mike Iupati had a nice-sounding celebration going on behind him, he took a few minutes to chat with me this evening.

When the 49ers scooped up Iupati with the 17th pick, I thought back to the Senior Bowl, where I saw Mike Singletary camped out in front of the OL drills one day. He appeared to take serious interest in the Idaho guard, watching him even move between drills.

I asked Iupati if he was nervous wondering where he'd end up given that he was sliding a tad.

“No, because I knew I was going between eight to 27," he told PFW. "I was nervous, but I knew it was going to happen eventually. And it did.”

Eight was the Raiders, and Iupati said he heard the chatter that we all did: that Oakland really liked him. He also knew there was no way he'd get past the Cowboys at 27, seeing as how they were drooling when Iupati weighed in at the Senior Bowl, showing off his chiseled physique.

Iupati said he's not sure of his new team's plans for him but guessed he'd end up inside.

“No, not yet, because they took Anthony Davis," he said, "so I think they might put me at guard.”

It makes sense. He can be the left guard, and with Davis at right tackle, the 49ers can get back to power football and improve the talent up front.

In the end, though, Iupati went to a place tyhat makes sense, right in the middle of where he expected. The Steelers, picking one slot later, reportedly were crushed he was gone after thinking they might get him. Iupati thinks it all worked out for the best in the end, fairly close to Idaho, on the West Coast near where he was raised, and only a, oh, 19-hour flight back to American Samoa, where he's from originally.

Iupati talked to a "bunch" of coaches who passed the phone around when they called him to let him know he was their pick, but he thought back to Singletary, who spent time talking to Iupati before the draft.

"I thought they might like me,” he said.

I think he's right.

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