SANTA CLARA -- Hours before the NFL draft, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh showed interest in Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence.

"Help me out, tell me about Demarcus Lawrence? I want to get something out of this call," Harbaugh said near the end of Thursday's phone interview with ESPN Boise 730-AM.

Finding pass-rushing help through the draft is perhaps an increased priority as a result of Aldon Smith's off-field issues and potential discipline.

"He's an outside linebacker, somebody that can really rush the passer," Harbaugh said of Lawrence. "They like him there. We met him here. We had him in for a visit. He's a real, real likeable young man. Nothing but positive things coming out of there about him."

However, Lawrence comes with a red flag: he was suspended three times (one game apiece) for violating team rules, including the Las Vegas Bowl in 2012.

Lawrence (6-foot-3, 251 pounds) led the Mountain West Conference with 10½ sacks and 20½ tackles for loss last season, along with three forced fumbles. He had 9½ sacks as a sophomore after transferring from Butler Community College (El Dorado, Kansas).

"It would be a blessing at the end of the day. I know my family would be happy," Lawrence told the Idaho Press-Tribune about being a first-round pick. "But I'm just ready to work because what good does being a first round pick do if you don't go in and produce?"

Harbaugh also was asked about the 49ers' rivalry with the Seattle Seahawks.

"It's a great football team in Seattle, one we're going to have to contend with for a long time. It makes us a better team," Harbaugh said. "You use the word hatred. I don't use that word. It's great competition."

"... I'd say the same about the Arizona cardinals and St. Louis Rams. Our division is extremely good and getting better every year. Are they public enemy 1, 2, 3? I'd say yes. But it also makes our team better."