Head coach Jim Harbaugh addressed the media on Saturday shortly after the 49ers wrapped up the 2012 NFL Draft.
“Another good day. Really excited about this draft.”
Is this when you really kick into action now, when you’re having to call these undrafted guys and try to convince them to come to San Francisco?
“It’s gone extremely well. This process is fairly close to being finished, that part of it. Just want to compliment all of our scouts, all of our coaches, on the fabulous job. It’s really well organized upstairs, everybody targeted and talked to. We won’t release any names today, but you’ll see a near-full group by the time we get some FedEx envelopes back.”
Last year at this time, you were happy about everybody, but you talked a lot about
“Yeah, I’m happy about all of them, I really am. Starting with [WR] A.J. [Jenkins]. Just great tape, great young man. I defy anybody to look at that tape and tell me that there’s something wrong with it, that there’s something that he doesn’t do well. [RB] LaMichael [James], love his toughness, love his ability. Love him as a person. Can’t wait to see what he’s going to be like around this facility. I pretty much know him. He’s a very charismatic guy. Great guy to be around. [G]
In this offseason, you guys have added some speed dimension to your offense, both in the draft and in the free agency. Talk about how important that was to add that to give Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman something else to work with, more weapons to work with.
“Well, you want to be bigger, you want to be faster. You want to be stronger, tougher. You’re always looking for those talents. And we’re a big, strong football team right now. We don’t want to lose that. And we’re not going to lose that. And we’ve definitely added some speed, but those players, we didn’t just take guys who were just speed guys. Not just work out warrior-type guys, but football players. I love [RB]
You’ve got a guy from Oregon, Wake Forest, and Notre Dame who you saw when you were at Stanford. Does that factor into a bit of selections at all, the fact that you saw those guys on the field in college?
“No, it really didn’t. It didn’t factor in that much. With LaMichael that was maybe factored in more than the other guys. But what does always factor in the most is that tape. How they played and how they performed. How they produced on the football field. That’s the huge piece in the puzzle. Very small that I was a coach in college and coached against LaMichael James or [G] Joe [Looney], or [LB] Darius [Fleming].”
What made Looney’s interview at the Combine so impressive? Why did he jump out to you?
“Oomph, pizzazz. Really bright guy. Really smart, smart person. Not only book smart, but street smart, football smart. Everything matched up. Everything that you’d heard about Joe and all of our research that we did on Joe at the school. You cannot find a person on that campus who has anything less than glowing things to say about him. Professors, coaches, trainers, equipment managers, from faculty to football to everybody that comes in contact with him there literally not a negative word. And you see what he’s done, the pattern of success that he’s had in the classroom, on the field. And then to meet him and to see and know that it all matches up, that was glaring to me. That’s what made that interview stand out.”
You’re going to get a chance for rookie mini camp and the whole full offseason program. What are you looking forward to most about that since you didn’t have last year?
“All of it. Just every day having the players here. Everyday just being around them, this building. Having a buzz of activity going on. Knowing the tangible ways that you’re getting better. Seeing coaches work, seeing players work. Everybody seeing what each other’s doing. That’s been the best, that’s the thing that I look forward to the most. It got real - I don’t know what the word is - stale. It was here last year without the players in the building month after month after month. And there’s just a lot more juice around here.”
When you look at some of the tapes of Slowey at Western Oregon and he’s playing against Division II opponents, he is just manhandling them and punishing these guys real sort of nastiness to his game. Is that something when you’re looking at a Division II guy you want to see a guy beating his opponent, but almost more than beating his opponent, kind of like pushing him around like that? Was that something that caught your eye, was attractive to you guys?
“There’s been a lot of great Division II players that have come out of Division II, (Division) IAA, Division III, etcetera. I think one thing you do need to see is that they’re dominating their position. Whether that’s offensive line, defensive line, linebacker, quarterback, receiver, DB, you want to see that they’re dominating. He’s another tough, physical guy. Not so much when you meet him. There’s a little bit, there must be a switch that’s flipped when he goes on the field. Off the field, he’s a very nice young man.”
There was a report that you got Stanford WR Chris Owusu, can you talk about that?
“Yeah, I can’t confirm that. I don’t know, maybe this is back to my college days when you sign a guy and you can’t talk about him until signing day, until they actually signed the paper. Maybe just wait until everything’s signed. But once again, we’re nearly close to filling up all this, close to all the 90 roster spots. We really improved this year. I thought as an organization and a staff, scouts and coaches. [Director of Player Personnel] Tom Gamble was amazing, in regards to lining up all of our free agents, as were our coaches. There was a real organization and hum upstairs and we’re very close to being done. Feel like we cut some drag and got better in that regard. I think you’ll be excited about the names people see when they read about our free agents.”