Even when Jim Harbaugh was quarterbacking – not coaching quarterbacking – he sized up other players at his position.
“I always like to play catch; even as a quarterback myself when I was on the same team with a guy, you’re sizing up somebody else, you like to play catch with him and do different things throwing the ball,” the San Francisco 49ers coach and former NFL signal-caller told reporters at the owners’ meetings this week in Orlando. “Going to football camps throughout your life, high school and grade school, you’re always sizing somebody up. As a player. I kind of just use that in coaching as well, to evaluate guys, try to size them up. It’s the same way.”
And it works on pro days.
Harbaugh said he studied five or six quarterback prospects the year his current starter,
“The California quarterbacks, I want to see them,” he said, referencing Fresno State and San Jose State products specifically. “(Derek) Carr, (David) Fales.”
Harbaugh has already been seen at the pro days for Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas and Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo.
“Very good impressions. Quarterbacks are well coached and well experienced now in college, more so than ever,” he said. “Coming out ready for the pro game, ready to play NFL football.”
Would Harbaugh want to talk shop with Texas A&M product and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel? Even if he's expected to be picked in the first round of the May 8-10 draft, likely ahead of the aforementioned four?
“Oh, I’d welcome the challenges of taking Johnny Manziel," the 49ers coach said. "His skill-set – he sees the field like nobody I’ve ever seen see the field in college football. You’d love to work with that.”
And this would undoubtedly start with something like, “Wanna throw a little?” which Harbaugh reportedly asked Garoppolo earlier this month.
“I like to play catch with him. Like to see him throw,” Harbaugh said, speaking generally about quarterback prospects. “Go through their workout, see what kind of condition they’re in, and meet with him, talk to him, talk football with him, protections and… try to get a feel for how much they know football-wise. Basically just talking football. Things you can’t do from watching a tape from a pro day.”
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