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Brunner's Blog: Combine Wrap-Up

With the last position group, the defensive backs, working out on Tuesday, 49ers scout Todd Brunner recaps the last few days of the NFL Combine.

The defensive backs worked out today and we were lucky to get things wrapped up quickly. We were out of the stadium by 1:30 or 1:45. It was one of our earliest departure times ever. That's a great way to end things. Normally we have three groups on the last day – one linebacker group and two defensive backs groups. In the past, we would be there until after 4:30. This year everybody has enough time to make their flights and nobody had to leave the workouts early.

There were two groups of defensive backs with 30 players in each. In the first group of 30, 29 ran the 40-yard dash and 26 ran in the second group so it was good to get times on a lot of guys. It was a good showing.

Darius Butler, a cornerback from Connecticut, ran in the 4.4's. He ran well, had a good workout and moved around well in the drills. He looked as well as I though he would. He's a very good athlete. For me, that's the icing on the cake and it confirms everything I thought about the kid.

There are numerous drills that they put all the DB's through. They do a lot of backpedalling and they'll break at a 90-degree angle, sprint toward the sideline, then they look up and have to catch the football. They also do a lot of speed turns. They'll backpedal, the quarterback will lay up a ball and they'll have to go get it at its high point. There is a lot of moving around and you really get to see how good their flexibility is.

One, you want to see if they're fast and you see that in their 40 time. Second, you want to see that they're fluid with their hips in the position drills. They can't be stiff or tight when they make their breaks. Some of the guys are going to play safety and you don't want them to be stiff either. They need to turn and transition in order to make a play on the deep balls. If not, they'll get balls completed over their heads.

We met as a staff lest night before our interviews and we went over our schedule for all the pro days in March. We're planning on coming back to California on the Monday after Easter.

Before coming back, all the scouts will try to get to all the pro days for the big schools in their area. Those pro days have a large number of kids so you have to be there. Even if all the Penn State worked out at the Combine, I'm still going to go to Penn State. Even if all the Pittsburgh guys worked out here, I'm still going to go back to Pitt.

We also want to get to some of the smaller schools who may have players on our draft board who weren't at the Combine. We try to map out all our schedules so we're able to go to all the schools that we need to. We need to get times on those kids so we can talk about them in the draft room. Maybe they're not a high draft pick, but they could be a late-round pick or an undrafted free agent.

The Combine was good for us this year, but the one thing about the Combine was that it was brutally cold. For me, I'm happy because Pat White, the West Virginia quarterback from my area, had probably the best workout out of any of the quarterbacks. I'm a big Pat White fan so I'm glad to see how well he did.

We've talked about most of the players during our meetings at the team's facility, but the one position we didn't talk about yet was the quarterbacks. Now I'll be able to talk even higher about Pat White after his performance here. I think he can play quarterback. A lot of people talk about him playing receiver or running a wildcat offense, but I think he'll play quarterback.

The first week we're back at Santa Clara, we'll go over our draft board once again. We'll talk about guys who helped themselves at the Combine or at their pro days. If they didn't perform well, we'll watch some tape on them to make sure we have them in the right spot. The next meetings will not be as intense because our draft board is 85-percent complete. Now we just have to finalize it. Each of these steps is just a piece to the puzzle – the interviews, sitting down with their coach, the tape, Combine, pro day, the medical.

As Trent Baalke said yesterday, you want to make sure that the stars align. That means that you want to make sure that what he is on the field is what he is off the field. There's some more work we need to do on some of the guys, especially the juniors. You have to do some digging and maybe go to the school a day or two early to have lunch with the kid. At the Combine, the players are often prepped on what to say because they have a ton of interviews. When you get them in their own environment, they tend to be a little more relaxed and more themselves.

Hopefully this blog was more interesting than my last one. I felt the last one was too general so maybe this one was a better read.

My first pro day will be on March 10th so I'll be checking in with you sometime after that first week.

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