McCloughan's Mailbag - April 17

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Check out our thirteenth round of questions for General Manager Scot McCloughan. If your question wasn't selected this round, please try again. Keep in mind that due to NFL rules, McCloughan cannot answer questions about any potential free agents and will refrain from giving detailed information on any draft-eligible players.

Please submit your questions toaskmccloughan@niners.nfl.com  
**Q: Dear Scot, Thanks for all your good work. I wanted to ask if you use the draft value (trade) chart and how do you use it from year-to-year, especially when so-called experts say one draft class may be stronger? Also, how do you value next year's draft picks, either your own of another teams picks, when you don't know where you or they will be with respect to their draft order next year? I've heard that next year's picks are worth one round less than this year's picks. Thanks again. – Rick from IN.

A: We most definitely use the trade chart every year. Is everyone's the same? I'd say 75 percent of the teams in the league have the same one, but ours is different. We value picks in certain rounds differently than a lot of teams. That's because of the past success in the draft that we've had and what rounds and picks they were. We definitely use it and it's a tool that needs to be used. I'm glad we do use it. From year-to-year the chart stays the same for us. Unless the trend in the league changes, it might change every three to four years, but for us right now it has stayed the same.

Q: Scot, I have a question about the type of defense that we're running that I'm hoping you can clear up for me. I know that once Manusky started calling plays Aubrayo Franklin started one-gapping. What about the other two linemen? Are we running a classic Wade Phillips 3-4, where all three down linemen one-gap or are we running some sort of hybrid? If we aren't running a classic 3-4, then could you explain what the differences are? Thanks a lot and go Niners! – Mike in San Mateo.
A: It's definitely 3-4, but it's a hybrid in the sense of what our personnel can do. Greg Manusky's philosophy comes from Wade (Phillips). That's where he learned the defense while coaching in San Diego under Phillips and that's what he's looking to do with us. Greg is also a good enough coach to know what to do with the personnel that we have and how to use it in a way that makes us best in the 3-4.

Q: Behind the scenes, how close to the draft does it become apparent which direction teams are going with their pick? Especially in the top ten. – Dsperse.
A: It always does clear up a bit as the draft gets closer. In my 15 drafts that I've been through now, this year is very unique because of the talent pool and the teams who are at the top of the draft. The majority of the time, you know probably three to four weeks prior to the draft, what certain teams are looking for and then you have an idea of where certain players are going to be selected. Last year on our board, 18 guys who went 1-18 were our guys ranked 1-18, which is unique because our board is ranked for us, not for the league. This year is going to be a very interesting and unique draft, there's no doubt about it.

Q: Hi Scot, I'm 16-years old and I've been a 49ers fan since my introduced them to me when I was 4 and I miss the years when we had a definite spot in the playoffs. What does it take for the Niners to not only make the playoffs, but to win two or possibly three games? Thanks. – Kevin.
A: We need to have an offense in place, a system in place, an identity in place that we know that works and our players understand this is who we are. That's our plan with Jimmy Raye. That's our plan going forward. This team is talented enough to win the division. That's where it all starts. With the coaching, with the personnel, with the draft and free agency, we try to get better. That's our plan. We believe we're going to win the division this year and make the playoffs. If we want to do that, the consistency on offense has to be there.

Q: Hello Mr. McCloughan. Let me begin by saying I agree with the direction that the team is headed in. My question is a bit broad, but I would like to know the level of involvement that management gets from the ownership during draft preparations? Do the York's ever instruct you to scout certain players, or do they sit back and wait to see who you scout and leave all the picking to you? Could you please expound? – Mark in Oakland.A: Ownership is very unique from the standpoint that they hire people to do their jobs. They trust us to do our jobs. They sit back and let us do our jobs. I keep them informed all the way through the process, with free agency and the drafts. They understand what their strengths and weaknesses are, as do our coaches and players, and it's a group effort. We all need to communicate and be on the same page. They understand that they're not talent evaluators. They support my scouting group and myself with a lot of enthusiasm and understand what we're doing. It's great, because they're not dictating what we have to do. They trust the people in the places they have them at and they go from there.
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