Excerpts Nolan's post-draft comments:
RE: Where do you see Balmer competing for a spot?
“He’s a very athletic big guy. He’ll compete at the nose as well as the end position. Since we only have three defensive line positions, he will compete at both. I would think more along the lines of the nose and the left end position where (Bryant Young) has left, but that’s also where Isaac Sopoaga, right now, is pegged to be the guy. So there will be some competition there. But, again, depth on the defensive line is something we really haven’t been able to address, other than adding Justin Smith this past free agency. I know Aubrayo (Franklin) came in last year, but he wasn’t necessarily that top guy we were looking at. Justin Smith was that guy, as Nate Clements was two years ago. Balmer, obviously, is a guy who was a high pick for us, and our picks – whether you go all the way back to Alex (Smith), to Vernon (Davis), to Manny (Lawson), to Joe Staley, Patrick Willis – all of those players have been impact players for our football team. We look for both of these players that we took, in particular Kentwan (Balmer), to do the same.”
RE: Does this cement your 3-4?
“No. As you know, it’s a versatile 3-4. All I can tell you is the language stays the same, the way we utilize it. But your objective is to get your best 11 on the field. Now what I think he’ll do, is he’ll make one of those defensive linemen either stay on the field or come off the field. He’s going to make somebody better. Whether he takes their job or he pushes them, but I’m looking for him to contribute. One of the things that was interesting and also encouraging was he’s a guy that plays almost every snap. Justin Smith, at Cincinnati, was one of those guys. It’s very difficult to have the stamina to play ever snap in a football game as a defensive lineman. For any of you that may have wrestled as a kid, or even wrestled in your own house with your brother or whatever, you know you get tired real fast. That’s what a defensive lineman does every snap. So a guy that can play and have the stamina is really big. He’s also athletic. He’s got great size. I’m excited about it. Like I said, he was the highest guy of the guys we talked about, but I was very excited he was there. Scot (McCloughan) and I both were a little bit caught by surprise. We had heard possibly, but at the same time, sometimes you look at it and go: ‘That’s a little bit of a dream. I don’t know if that’s going to happen.’ But he was there, and we feel good.”
RE: What did you see in Rachal?
“When it all started back in February, the first thing Scot (McCloughan) said to me before going to the combine was ‘I think this guy is like a poor man’s Larry Allen.’ Now whatever that means, take it for what it means. I kind of started to wonder what he was saying too. Does that mean he’s going to play 14 years? Or does that mean he’s going to be a big athletic mauler that’s going to the Hall of Fame? I didn’t know. He (Scot McCloughan) said that was the style of play he (Rachal) had. He’s a tough guy, he’s a big guy, and he’s a West Coast guy, which to some may not matter. In this game it really does. You want guys to want to be where they’re playing. If they’ve got family nearby, (if) family sees them, if they’re happy with where they are, all those kinds of things. So we’re excited about him. We didn’t do it because David Baas got nicked up. We knew going into the draft that was an area we wanted to add some depth. And we’re hopefully going to do it in the draft, and we were able to do it with one pick here. That wasn’t the deciding factor. It was just the best player we felt on the offensive line that was left. As you all saw, a lot of offensive linemen went after that second pick. All the tackles, I think there were seven maybe eight, we put Duane Brown in that tackle category. So that’s a lot of linemen to go.”
RE: In what way is Cody similar to Jeremy Newberry?
“His personality. Jeremy was tough, serious. What Jeremy did was important to him. He was a no nonsense guy when it came to football.”
RE: Does Cody play like Jeremy?
“We will wait and see. As Jeremy didn’t, Cody doesn’t back down. He’s not as big as Jeremy, but he has good size and isn’t small. He would be an average size center, but as we all know centers come in all sizes.”
RE: What is his weight at right now?
“He’s about 300 right now. Our guards are typically our big guys as is evidenced by the guys we have and the players we drafted yesterday.”
RE: Will Reggie be a part of the kick return game?
“If he can do it, yes. He has some, but not enough for us to have chosen him for that purpose. We do like anyone that had caught punts or kicks, but he’ll do the special teams because of his position, but as far as returning ability we will wait and see.”
RE: Is Larry (Grant) a Ted linebacker?
“By position, he can be either one, but that’s where he will be.”
RE: Will Larry be competing with three other guys?
“Two other guys. We are six deep inside at two positions, so three and three. He will be competing with all of them because they are all interchangeable. We’re just going to line him up left and right and just go with it.”
RE: Which side is Patrick Willis on?
“Patrick is the MiKE linebacker. The others are fighting for the other spots.”
RE: Who are the three Ted's that will be competing?
“The three Teds will be (Jeff) Ulbrich, (Larry) Grant, and Dontarrious Thomas. Not particularly in that order, but those three.”
RE: Will Brandon Moore be your Will linebacker?
“Brandon will be the MIKE. He can go inside, outside but he will be behind the MiKE backer.”
RE: Who will be competing for the nickel linebacker spot?
“Ulbrich backs him up. Outside of that, the guys that play the inside backer position, when we have what we call a big nickel, they will play that. You have Ulbrich behind Patrick right now in the sub category. Behind him, Grant and Thomas will compete for that. So we have four guys right now. When you go into training camp, that’s typically what you have.”
RE: Is it still possible to sign Takeo Spikes?
“It’s not out of the picture. Nothing will happen today, though.”
RE: Is Grant big enough to be a Ted?
“Sure, he’s big enough. He has a sturdy body. He’s not huge. He’s not as big as some Teds I would agree. Dontarrious probably looks more like it than anyone else, but again our key is to get the best football player on the field, so if he is one of the better linebackers, he can get that job. If we have to go 4-3 to cover him up because he isn’t big enough, we can do that. The issue with the 3-4 is that in a straight up 3-4, you need bigger inside backers because they have to pound with the guards all day long.”
RE: Can Grant still do the over under with the 3-4?
“That’s right. That’s the beauty of being in it. When you talk about overs and unders that’s immediately 4-3. You don’t have an over under 3-4 defense because once you go over and under, that creates the 4-3. So if somebody tells you they are a 3-4 under team, they are basically a 4-3.”
RE: Does Grant have skills in special teams?
“Yes, Al Everest was very excited. He was still selling him after we picked him.”
RE: What about Josh Morgan stands out to you?
“He’s a strong, productive guy that has good numbers as most guys do this time of year. He was at Virginia Tech, which is a very good program with a lot of good players. Several of his teammates were also chosen. He played at a high level in a very good conference. You want to get playmakers when you take them on the offensive side of the ball and he has been that. You like to have bigger, stronger, faster players not only because this is a big man’s game, but also for durability. He’s about a six foot half inch, 220 pound guy, so that’s a pretty good size.”
RE: Is he (Josh Morgan) a guy that you asked Mike Martz’s opinion about?
“Yes, I did, but earlier on. When we took him, it was clear cut we were going to take him.”
RE: On Morgan being a that’s a big physical guy like he's had in the past
“Before I got here, but since I’ve got here we’ve only drafted a couple of wide receivers. As a matter of fact, the one guy we did take was a guy that we had to let go every year. Brandon Williams – he’s a smaller guy. We do like the bigger guys. When you look at all positions, particularly linemen we have some bigger guys.”
RE: Is a bigger body receiver fine with Martz since his history has been
with smaller plaeyrs?
“At the same time now, there were smaller guys on the board we liked. We liked the guy (DeSean Jackson) across the way at Cal. We liked some different guys, but for one reason or another who ends up in a 49ers uniform has a lot to do not with what we think but with what others think of them because they may take them. There were also some guys who had return ability – some smaller receivers – that we were interested in, but it just didn’t fall that way.”
RE: How many undrafted guys do you expect to sign?
“We need to sign a few more offensive linemen, a couple more wide receivers – just to get our numbers right for our mini-camp. We will, more than likely, be under the 80 limit for the mini camp. And depending on what they do for the 80 or 86 limit in the end, I’m not sure exactly where that stands.”
RE: What is (that number refer to)?
“The limit of number of players you can have on your roster.”
RE: They might bump it up to 86?
“Rumor has it. But we’re not working off of that. Right now we’re working off the 80 number, and if that’s where it stays we’ll be okay. But I don’t know if we’ll get up to 80. I think we’re at 71 on our roster right now. We’ll probably, rough guestimate, sign about six guys. So obviously we’ll be under the 80. Right now we need a couple wide receivers, a couple offensive linemen. And then a guy here and there – one guy here, one guy there. If somebody very good wants to be a 49er, which does happen from time to time, and sees that he’s got an opportunity to make our squad, and we think he’s a pretty good player. He might not be a position of need, but if he wants to be here we’re going to try to sign him.”
RE: So, two wide receivers, two linemen?
“Yeah, that’s just kind of throwing it out there because I know that’s someplace we want to keep the depth. Wide receiver and DB’s run like hell all the time, so you need about three-deep, plus one or two. Offensive linemen and defensive linemen, you need three-deep typically because they’re hitting all the time. One guy misses a practice here and there. So the positions because of the physical expectations where you need a little bit more sometimes, and just to protect ourselves. But the most important thing is, the guys we’re signing as free agents, we’d like to think they have the chance to make us better.”
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