McCloughan's Mailbag: 1-28

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Check out our third round of questions for General Manager Scot McCloughan. If your question wasn't selected this round, please try again.

Please submit your questions to askmccloughan@niners.nfl.com  

Q: Hey Scot, I have to say I've liked some of the moves you made in '08. Specifically in my top 3 - Josh Morgan, Chilo Rachal, and Justin Smith. Most of all, I like that you're picking up talent in the late rounds. I read in the previous Q&A that you are convinced we need a two back system to be competitive in the run game and so that we can enjoy Frank Gore's special talent for years to come. Why not Thomas Clayton? I'm really convinced he's one of these late round studs you've been finding. We've had him for 2 years and he hasn't had a shot yet. I just saw Tarell Brown snag two interceptions this season with very limited playing time. Why not give Clayton a chance and explore what young talent we already have? -Ian, San Francisco

A: Thomas Clayton could possibly be that guy. We'll go through the offseason as well as training camp with competition at that position and we'll see how it shakes out. If he earns the job as the #2 guy behind Frank, then he'll get it.

Q: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Coach Singletary said we need strong presence at safety. My question is does Reggie Smith have what it takes to be an elite safety in the NFL? He was a great football player at Oklahoma. He used to call the secondary defense at OU. He has the size at 6'1". He has the speed. Do you think he deserves an opportunity in training camp? Thank you. – Alex Recinos, Los Angeles

A: That's a great question because that's something we have discussed. We want him first to prove to us that he can't play cornerback. He played corner and safety in college, but he played corner the year we drafted him. We think he has value as a corner. If he proves to us that he has more value as a safety, then he'll be moved inside. I think he can be a good safety, but I feel very comfortable with the safeties on our roster right now. They're good football players. A couple of them are getting a bit older so we have to make sure we don't lose sight of that. We have Dashon Goldson who's a younger guy, but if we think we should move Reggie in there, that's what we'll do. We're happy to have Reggie on this team, as a corner or a safety.

Q: Hi. I've been a 49er fan all my life. I'm 36 and I love my 49ers. My question is when is the team going to draft or sign a #1 go-to-guy in a wide receiver? I've been waiting for one since T.O. left. I'm waiting for a Jerry Rice type guy. Thanks.

A: We're always looking to upgrade at every position, especially receiver. It would be nice to get what we call a "home run threat," a guy with some vertical speed who can catch the ball down the field and catch the ball on a slant. That's a guy who can score a touchdown from anywhere on the field. We're always looking for those kind of guys just like every team is. They're hard to find. If the opportunity is there in free agency or in the draft, we'll definitely do it. It's a priority for us to bring in a big play receiver.

Q: Scot, Congratulations on an excellent season. I have been a die hard SF 49ers fan for 15 years. The team has improved the last couple of years, and time can only tell when we can be the team we are capable of being. I know you are not obligated to discuss the signings or the cuts for the 2009 - 2010 season at this moment. In my opinion I think our defense did a good job. I would say our offense needs more improving for this next season. What are your comments on that? Thank you for taking my question. – Dennis

A: The defense has been pretty solid for each season that I've been here. Is there room for improvement? No doubt about it. We've had some stability over there with Greg Manusky being here for two years now. Coach Nolan and now Coach Singletary really knew the mentality of the defense. The offense is also a work in progress. The key thing we need to do this offseason is make sure we get some stability on that side of the ball from the coordinator stand point. We want to know that we have a group of guys who are going to have the same system for a couple years. It's not going to be changing each season as it has since we've been here. That's important. I think once you see stability from the coaching staff, you'll see the players start playing better.

Q: I was wondering if you could give some insight into how people get opportunities to become a scout in the NFL? What is it you'd look for when hiring someone for a position on your staff? Thanks. – Steven

A: Like anything, a lot of it is being at the right place at the right time. There's tons of supply and not a lot of demand in personnel just like there is in coaching. What I look for is not just pedigree, but background in football – either playing or coaching. There's been a lot of good scouts who don't have a big background from a football standpoint. It starts with getting your foot in the door with and internship and going from there. You have to work hard, prove that you can do it and that you have an eye to spot talent. You have to work your way up, but there is luck involved in it. 



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