INDIANAPOLIS – Trent Baalke had to make a very difficult decision this offseason, both personally and professionally.
After working with Director of Player Personnel Tom Gamble for his entire tenure with the 49ers, the San Francisco 49ers General Manager allowed Gamble to return to his Pennsylvania roots, joining the Philadelphia Eagles as the Vice President of Player Personnel.
"There's a lot that went into that decision," Baalke said. "Tom and I have been friends for a long time. We 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 character."
"You miss an awfully loyal, awfully qualified individual that helps you set your board, helps you through free agency and the like," Baalke said. "It's never one person. It's not me, it's not Tom."
Baalke and the entire scouting staff just finished 17 days of meetings prior to the combine. They used the time to set their draft board and plan evaluations.
In addition to the scouts, Baalke will also begin involving the coaches in the evaluation process.
"We're all in this thing together," Baalke said. "Coach Harbaugh, I got a lot of respect for his ability to evaluate talent just as I do with all our coaches. It's a team approach. The coaches aren't sitting in the draft meetings with us, but there is a stage when they are brought in to the process and that stage starts with the combine. We look forward to bouncing ideas off of one another, getting viewpoints."
The ultimate goal is to take the evaluations of the scouts and the coaches into consideration to ultimately draft the players who will succeed in the 49ers system.
"It's all about finding players that fit the system," Baalke said. "That's what we're looking for. There's a lot of good players. This draft is no different than other drafts. At the same time, you have to get players that fit the system."