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What Did the 49ers Say as Combine Prospects?

Posted Feb 28, 2014

In looking back at the comments made by current members of the roster, it’s clear that many had a good grasp of what they were going to bring to their future employer.

Were members of the 49ers clairvoyant in their respective combine media sessions over the years? In some cases, yes, very much so.

In looking back at the comments made by current members of the roster, it’s clear that many had a good grasp of what they were going to bring to their future employer.

Let’s relive some of the most notable comments. (Note: Positions are listed to reflect the player’s collegiate role).

2005 NFL Scouting Combine

Auburn CB – Carlos Rogers – No. 9 overall draft pick

On stacking up against top cornerback prospects, Adam "Pac Man” Jones and Antrel Rolle:
“I think I have an advantage in height, weight, the physical, speed.  I have played all types of coverages, man, zone, a lot of coverages that guys in the league play right now. So I feel I match up very well."

On the strength of his game:
“My quickness. Being able to go out there on an island and lock a man down, come up on run support and special teams and things like that. I like to play on special teams. Any coverage that I play I have been pretty good at. I know it is going to be an adjustment, to the next level, but I am easy to coach so I can adjust to anything.”

Miami RB – Frank Gore – No. 65 overall (third round)

On what he can bring to a team:
“At the University of Miami, there's a lot of good backs there. I competed against Clinton Portis and Willis McGahee, and they're some of the top backs in the league. I was in front of McGahee before I injured my knees. So I feel I'm as good as any back in the draft.”

On the difficulty of recovering from two knee injuries:
“It was tough but I never came apart. I felt like if I came apart with my attitude, I would never come back to play the game.”

On where he wants to be drafted:
“I want to be the first back.”

On having a chip on his shoulder once getting into the league:
“I love that especially if I'm facing another back they took before me.”

Oregon G – Adam Snyder – No. 94 overall (third round)

On the qualities needed to be an effective lineman:
“I think you need to be a dominating run blocker, definitely, to play guard in the league. You need to be agile and athletic, and I think I possess some of those qualities.”

On how he would describe himself as a player:
“I think I'm a versatile offensive lineman. I played a lot of offensive tackle and a lot of offensive guard, and I've played on both sides of the ball, left side and right side. I think that's something that's a huge strength for me, being able to put both hands down on the line of scrimmage.”

2006 NFL Scouting Combine

Maryland TE – Vernon Davis – No. 6 overall

On his decision to leave school early:
“My decision to come out early was based on my grade, the one I got back from the NFL. My coaches and I talked about it, and they said if I got a first-round grade it would be best if I did come out. I sent my petition in and got the first-round grade.”

On being labeled as the new breed of tight end:
“I feel good about being labeled the new breed of tight end. That’s what it is, when you got a guy who can do more than catch the ball, get extra yardage after catching the ball and make guys miss, that pretty much speaks for itself.”

2007 NFL Scouting Combine

Mississippi ILB – Patrick Willis – No. 11 overall

On playing in a 3-4 defensive scheme in the NFL:
“All I would like to say is that I’m an all-around linebacker. I can play middle, I can play outside. Wherever they need me to play in a 3-4, I’m just ready to get started.”

On coming a long way in his football career:
“A lot of people didn’t give me a chance to ever get to a conference like the SEC or college football period. One of the things I’ve learned is the SEC’s one of the best conferences in college football. I’ve been playing against the best of the best. If I’m fortunate enough to make the NFL, I’m going to have to bring my A-game.”

On overcoming challenging obstacles in his personal life:
“All my life I’ve brought the attitude, to work and improve myself. So stepping up to this level, I’m going to have to do the same thing, regardless of what background I came from or what division I played at. Once you’re in the NFL, everybody’s got something to prove. It doesn’t matter where you come from, as long as you show up when it’s time.”

Central Michigan LT – Joe Staley – No. 28 overall

On the combine atmosphere:
“It’s exciting. I never really had this stuff at Central Michigan. I kind of wish we had this stuff at Central Michigan. I see everybody on ESPN. It’s exciting. I enjoy the moment and try to soak it in.”

On describing his style of play:
“I’m an athletic tackle; I get out in space well. Definitely a hard worker. I take pride in finishing my blocks. I’m real competitive.”

Florida DE – Ray McDonald – No. 97 overall (third round)

On Florida’s football schedule preparing him for the NFL:
“All of them are big games. When you go in the NFL, every game is big. When you're in the SEC, you prepare to play against great players. Playing against Ohio State really gave us a lot of experience because they are a great team. When you go to the NFL, that's all you play is great players.”

On the teams he met with at the combine:
“The 49ers, Jets and the Raiders.”

2008 NFL Scouting Combine

LSU DT – Glenn Dorsey – No. 5 overall

On nitpicking critiques about his game:
“There are a lot of great players out there. It is just an honor to be considered one of the top players out there. When you are one of the top players, a lot of people are looking for negatives. Even with saying I have injury problems, I played every game at LSU for four years. I don't have injury problems. Who doesn't get hurt during the year?”

On his preference of playing nose tackle:
“It doesn't matter to me. Whatever the team wants me to do, I'll do.”

On being capable of playing nose tackle at 297 pounds:
“I think I can. I'll just have to go into the system and if they need me to gain weight, I'll gain weight. If they need me to lose weight, I'll lose weight. That's just the way I'm approaching it. Anything the coach wants me to do, I'll do.”

2009 NFL Scouting Combine

Texas Tech WR – Michael Crabtree – No. 10 overall

On people questioning his speed:
“There's always going to be questions. I think I'll answer them all. So I'm looking forward to answering that question.”

On the adjustment from playing in the spread offense to an NFL offense:
“It's really not too hard. We did blocking. We did a lot of routes. That's probably an advantage over regular receivers, learning all those routes. The only thing I'll have to adjust to is probably blocking, which I've been working real hard on that since the end of last season. I had a good blocking season, so it shouldn't be a problem.”

On what he has to learn before making the step to the next level:
“I'm looking forward to gaining a lot of knowledge of the game, not just physical appearance. The knowledge is going to be a big key to the next level, and I'm looking to take on that challenge.”

On what he can offer to a team:
“There's a lot of things I can offer to a team. Quickness. Speed. Knowledge. On and off the field, just a great person.”

2010 NFL Scouting Combine

Rutgers LT – Anthony Davis – No. 11 overall

On his best attribute:
“My athleticism helps me get out of a lot of situations. If I step the wrong way, it helps me get back into position.”

On what he’ll bring to his future NFL team:
“You will see passion in my game every time I step on the field, and the willingness to get better and be the best at what I am doing.”

On what keeps him motivated:
“Knowing I’ve been blessed with a great opportunity and looking at it as a gift to be able to play something I love for a living. There (are) a lot of people who would give up a lot to be in my shoes and I just embrace that and don’t take it for granted.”

On the pride he takes from finishing blocks:
“I like to be dominant so I take a lot of pride in finishing my blocks.”

Idaho G – Mike Iupati – No. 17 overall

On any teams being concerned by his weight:
“No. I move very well at 330 pounds. So I think a lot of teams will keep me there (at 330 pounds).”

On his family moving to the United States when he was 14:
“My family decided they wanted us to have a good education. They sacrificed a lot of stuff to move from Samoa because we were very well off. Coming to the U.S. and realizing it's very difficult financially. We moved into my auntie's house and stayed there for a whole year. Then my parents both had jobs and were able to support us financially, so we moved to a small apartment in Anaheim and lived there paycheck to paycheck. It's been hard. That's why I always take advantage of every little opportunity I get, just try to seize the moment so I can have a better future for myself and my family.”

On how his laid-back demeanor changes when he gets on the field:
“It's very natural to me because I'm very competitive. That's my nature. When it comes to football, I like to destroy a lot of people. I just try to be competitive. As big as I am I do not want to get beat. I don't say much, but when I say stuff I don't usually yell. My friends listen very well.”

2011 NFL Scouting Combine

Missouri DE – Aldon Smith – No. 7 overall

On how he can distinguish himself from other pass rushers:
“Be myself. Just show my athleticism. Everybody's talented in different ways, and I think the thing that separates me is me being athletic.”

On his height potentially hindering his pass-rushing ability:
“It can be, but I think I've just learned to use my frame to my advantage.”

On what sets him apart as a pass rusher:
“My versatility. Being able to drop, being athletic. Something a lot of people don't know about me is that I can stop the run. I can help out in that area, too.”

Nevada QB – Colin Kaepernick – No. 36 overall (second round)

On what he can bring to the table in the NFL:
“I think I bring a lot of things. I bring leadership, confidence, intelligence as well as my physical abilities as my arm strength and mobility. I think there are a lot of things that I can do to help an NFL team out.”

On whether or not his running talent can translate in the pros:
“I don’t think I’ll run as much in the NFL as I did in college. Obviously there are great athletes in the NFL and all of them run 4.4s-4.5s (in the 40-yard dash). I think I am going to have the freedom to run, but at the same time my mobility will give the ability to extend plays and convert on some third downs.”

On whether or not he has to fight his running instincts:
“I don’t think I fight the instinct to run. I think because I have the ability I feel comfortable doing that sometimes. If I get through one-two-three in my progressions, a lot of quarterbacks will throw it away or check it down to something that might not be as good. For me, I have that mobility I may make something bigger happen then throwing the ball away.”

On whether or not he sees himself as a “project” quarterback:
“I don’t agree with that. I think the Senior Bowl week I showed how quickly I can pick up on an NFL offense, drop-back, read coverage. If it comes down to it and that is what a team drafts me for I’d be more than happy to do that for them.”

Oklahoma State RB – Kendall Hunter – No. 115 overall (fourth round)

On being amongst a deep group of smaller running back:
“It doesn’t matter what size you are. If you can play, you can play.”

On using his low center of gravity as an advantage:
“You can run under people, set up your blocks, because the linebackers really can’t see you all the time. You can just be patient and cut off the block.”

2012 NFL Scouting Combine

Oregon RB – LaMichael James – No. 61 overall (second round)

On his future role in the NFL:
“I feel like I can do anything. I’ll be an all-around back. You don’t have to take me out on third down. I can run the ball. I can probably throw the ball, too. All special teams, and if they ask me to kick the field goal I can probably do that.”

On if he’s surprised by a lack of media attention:
“That doesn’t matter to me. Hype doesn’t win football games. If it did, a lot of teams would win a lot of football games. A lot of players would be great players. I think you have to go out there and compete. I’m going to lead the team in effort. That’s what is important to me, not getting hyped up.”

2013 NFL Scouting Combine

Florida State DE – Tank Carradine – No. 40 overall (second round)

On the type of player his future NFL team will be getting:
“They’re going to get a great person, a guy that’s passionate about the game of football, a guy that’s a team player, cares about his team, loves to win, just a great guy overall. A guy that’s got a motor, a guy that is physical against the run, disruptive against the pass, and a guy that can shoot through gaps, and a guy that’s just all over the field, and a guy that you’ll want on your team that will come in and make impact plays on your defense.”

Rice TE – Vance McDonald – No. 55 overall (second round)

On if he considers himself as the best tight end in the draft:
“Absolutely. You have to approach it that way. The events all coming up, all the preparation it takes to get here, you certainly have to carry that confidence with you. You have to certainly always expect it.”

Auburn DE – Corey Lemonier – No. 88 overall (third round)

On being versatile pass rusher in the NFL:
“It’s huge, especially for me trying to learn the linebacker position. It’s something I need to learn and I’m pretty raw at that. I think that’s a good thing because I have no bad habits or techniques. I can grow.”

Louisiana Tech WR – Quinton Patton – No. 128 overall (fourth round)

On who is the best receiver in the draft:
“Quinton Patton.”

On his reasoning for selecting himself as top wideout:
“I will say that I catch everything my way. I will say that I’m the best blocker. But at the end of the day I just make plays. No matter what it is doing, I’m going to give 110 percent every down, every minute of the game.”

South Carolina RB – Marcus Lattimore – No. 131 overall (fourth round)

On his injury possibly being a silver lining, allowing him to slide to a better football team:
“No doubt. At this point, it really doesn't matter where I get drafted, because I'm going to go in there and work hard, I'm going to do what I do, I'm going to do what I've been doing my whole career, and that's just being myself. If I get a chance to play this year, I'm going to make the most out of it. And I feel like I will.”


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