The NFL scouting combine has officially begun and with that comes interviews. However, it is not the prospects who are cross-examined, but rather the General Managers. On the hot seat today was GM Trent Baalke, as he discussed the state of the 49ers franchise and the direction they are headed in. Here is the full transcript of Baalke’s interview.
Have you guys had any conversations with QB Alex Smith and his representation since the Super Bowl?
We have. In fact, I was out to dinner with wife Liz and Alex when we got back from the Super Bowl, had a great conversation, had a great dinner and just a chance to sit down with him and go through what our thoughts were and listen to what their thoughts were as a family and really get an understanding of what direction we wanted to go.
What are you looking for from WR A.J. Jenkins this offseason?
Production, like we do with all our players. We’ve always said, you go into the draft and you draft guys and you know what they’re strong suits are, you know what their weaknesses are, and then it’s up to them. And A.J.’s a young man that has worked awfully hard. He’s going to continue to work hard. I believe he’s either in Atlanta right now or on his way to Atlanta where our quarterback is and some of our other players, and they’re going to go at it this offseason. And, the biggest growth of players is always between year one and year two. We expect that that’s going to happen with A.J., just as we do with all our young players.
We’ve always maintained we want to keep as many of our core guys together as we can. So, it’s definitely a priority. Are we going to be able to do it? We don’t know that. We’re going to work awfully hard to make that happen.
Well, there’s a lot that went into that decision. Tom and I had been friends for a long time and have worked together for an awful long time. It was a chance for him to get home. It certainly is a difficult time to lose somebody, especially of Tom’s caliber. But, at the same time, sometimes in life, you’ve got to make those decisions and you’ve got to let people go home. It was something that him and I had talked about for over a year. It had come up again. So through those discussions we were able to allow that to happen. Tough timing, obviously, but I think both sides feel good that the decision was made.
I don’t know if we want to keep it a separation of church and state. We’re all in this thing together. And coach Harbaugh, I’ve got a lot of respect for his ability to evaluate talent just as I do with all of our coaches. So, it’s a team approach. Now, the coaches aren’t sitting in the draft meetings with us. But, at the same time there is a stage when they are brought into the process. And that stage starts with the combine. So, we look forward to bouncing ideas off of one another, getting viewpoints. Because it’s all about finding players that fit the system. That’s what we’re looking for. There are a lot of good players out there. This draft is no different than other drafts. But, at the same time we’ve got to get players that fit the system. There’s going to be good players that don’t fit us, whether it’s from a character standpoint, a skillset standpoint, there’s just going to be players that don’t fit us. So, we’re looking for the fit.
Well, Randy’s a pro. And I can’t say enough good things about Randy. And I think if you ask anyone within our organization they would say the same thing. One of the first guys to work every day. One of the last to leave. A guy that takes great care of his body. That is probably one of the smartest football players, if not the smartest football player I’ve been around. Grasped the offense very quickly and was a real leader in that group, in that room. So, we’re certainly happy that he was there. Is he going to return this year? I don’t know that yet.
Well, I don’t know that we need 14 rookies. We need good football players. And we’ve always maintained that we’re not afraid to move up, we’re not afraid to stand pat and pick where the selection is. And we’re certainly not afraid to move back. We’ve been successful doing all of the above. So, how we’re going to use them, that remains to be seen. But, certainly enjoy the fact that we’re in position to have 14.