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McCloughan's Mailbag - Feb 27


Check out our seventh 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.

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Q: Scot, thanks in advance for answering my question. Who was the most impressive at the Combine? Who was the biggest surprise? Go 49ers! – Mark
A: Instead of naming individuals, I can tell you that the wide receivers and the tight ends were the most impressive as a group. I was not as impressed with all the groups this year as I have at past Combines. The main things we get out of the Combine are the medicals, the interviews and then the position work. We don't draft a player based on how they worked out in t-shirts and shorts, we draft based on their tape. There are good football players in this draft.

Q: Hello Mr. McCloughan. My question is if the 49ers are more focused on the defensive side of the ball rather than the offensive side, or if both are equally looked at as the draft is getting closer? Thank you. - Ali from San Francisco.
A: We focus on good football players and after that we focus on our needs. We never bypass a good football player, especially in the draft, because we already have players at that position. We always talk it through in terms of what's best for the organization, not just in year one, but in years three, four and five. The thing about the NFL is that there are trades and injuries so that plays a part in things too. We'll never bypass a good football player. The great thing about free agency is that you can pinpoint needs. I'll also let Coach Singletary know, "This guy is a 'mike' linebacker (which is what Joe Staley plays). Of course he's not as good at Patrick, but he is a good football player and I want you to know that because he's going to sign somewhere and be a good player for another team. I want you to know that if we didn't have Patrick, he would come in here and help us." That's why you never lose sight of a good football player, ever.

Q: Hello. It seemed as though last year we tried to pull out the Wildcat a few times and it seems as though we should have tried to use our former college quarterbacks in Michael Robinson and Arnaz Battle for that type of offense. Do you see this as a potential strategy next season? – Anotnio, Santa Cruz
A: You always look at that stuff and understand that is has and has not worked depending on the place it was run. Our offense is going to be – This is our identity and this is what we do well. You guys know we're going to do it and here we come. There is not going to be a lot of trickery and confusion in order to make a big play. We're going to be an offense that is simplified, but we're going to be good at what we do. If the Wildcat is involved in that, great. The thing that is unique about our offense is that we have some players at receiver and running back who have played quarterback. It's not like we're going to put either of them under center and start having them take snaps. They've been quarterbacks in college football and they've had success. It's an avenue that we can go down knowing that there is the possibility that it could make us better. If that's the case, then we'll definitely use it.

Q: Hi Scot. You say you want a big back, but wouldn't a Darren Sproles-type "scat-back" be just as valuable? Since Gore is a very powerful back, a scat-back would compliment him well. Plus very good ones may be available in the middle rounds. As anyone who played defense knows, these super-quick scat-backs are very hard guys to catch. Thanks. – Max Jones
A: I do not want to comment on another team's player, but an individual who has the same skill set as Sproles has value not as just a running back, but a returner, receiver and running back. If we were able to find a guy with similar skills, we would definitely entertain that option. The "big back" would be someone who, if Frank were to get hurt, could come in and carry the load for two, four or six weeks. I don't see a smaller back being that type of guy. We're going to be a good team this year because we're able to establish the run and come downhill between the tackles. With a smaller back, that is tough to do, especially for a longer period of time. We always look for good football players and that's what we'll continue to do, but you have to understand that this is a big man's game. The big backs are going to survive in this league.

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