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Singletary's Notebook: April 22



Opening comments:**"First of all, I'm just really excited about the first day. I think it's been a while, doing all of the work that we needed to do, to get to this point. [Director of player personnel] Trent [Baalke] and I talked a lot last night about hopefully having the opportunity to take both of these guys today. We didn't know if it was going to work. We didn't know how it was going to work. We certainly didn't think [T] Anthony] Davis would be there, but fortunately things worked out and he was there. We traded up a couple of picks to get him. We didn't feel at that time the teams that were in front of us, we didn't feel that they had a need for tackles. We also knew that there was going to be a lot of teams that wanted to trade up, maybe Dallas who likes [Mike] Iupati, who likes [Anthony] Davis. So, there were several teams. We had no idea of knowing who could move up in front of us. Trent and I just felt that rather than sit there and twiddle our thumbs and hope that we got the number one need that we had, we felt let's just take all of the excitement out of it and let's move up and if he's there we're going to take him. That's what we did. Iupati, we felt hopefully he would be there and thankfully he was. To me, this guy is a devastating, physical blocker, both of these guys are. Iupati is a little bit of a different style, extremely physical. He's going to be quite interesting. I know [offensive line coach] Mike Solari and [assistant offensive line coach] Ray Brown are very excited about getting their hands on both of those young men and being able to work with them and implement them into our offense. I know we have [G] David Baas and [T] Adam Snyder and they did a good job this year. We're going to just have to compete and work through it, and may the best man win. We're excited about what we have. Our number one priority was to upgrade our offensive line to allow us some flexibility in terms of what we wanted to do offensively."

On if he see's Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati being starters in week one:"Possibly. No, I wouldn't expect them to be starters week one. I would say for both of these young men we don't just want to throw them in there. We're hoping that soon they can work their way in there. That's why we brought them in here. We see those guys as possible starters at some point in time. As far as when, that will be a work in progress."

On if it was the goal to get these two offensive linemen:"It was these two offensive linemen. The only other, not the only other, but the other offensive linemen that we felt was a really physical guy was [T] Trent Williams. Those three guys really, we felt, fit the identity of what we're trying to do here."

On when he realized that Anthony Davis could fall to them:"Well, when Oakland passed on him, we felt pretty positive about it at that time. We knew that Buffalo that it was a possibility for him, but we felt that they were pretty strong on [RB C.J.] Spiller. The opportunity was there and we felt let's move up, let's do it."

On Davis feeling his visit to San Francisco was different and he wanted to be a 49er:"I can't tell you that I did anything else, anything special or anything like that. I just felt I was talking to a young man that I had done a lot of homework on. I talked to a number of people, coaches, mentors. When we finally had the opportunity to sit down and talk with him, I just sat him down and talked to him about what he wanted to do, what he wanted to be. He's an extremely young man. Just sitting there looking at him, I just felt we had a chance to touch on some things, maybe some misunderstandings, maybe some things that people don't understand about him, maybe some things that he wants put behind him and move forward. I told him about what we were doing here. There's no ambiguity about what the 49ers are about. We were able to walk him around and kind of look at who we are and the identity, that's what we're about. Did he like that? Was that something that interested him? Was that something that would excite him about being a part of something like that? He told me before he left. He may be the kind of kid that told that to everybody, but I didn't feel that. He said, 'Coach, I've been in a number of places and I really like what's happening here.' I really think he liked talking to coach Solari and coach Brown. I really think he enjoyed that. Having the opportunity to be able to be coached by those guys, Ray Brown with the unbelievable experience he had in playing the game and of course Mike Solari. I'm sure when Mike Solari sits there and talks to him about some of the guys that he's coached and the resume that he has in terms of what he's done. I'm sure it was exciting to the kid to know that, 'If I can come here and be a part of this. The way the coach teaches and the way he talks. If I can do that, I think that would be something special.'"

On Anthony Davis being only 20 years old:"I talked to his mentor and he said, 'Mike, the most important thing to do for him is to really, really surround him with the right people. He's a guy that doesn't really have a whole lot of people. He's not an entourage kind of guy. He's not a guy that likes to party. He's kind of a loaner. Make sure that you keep your hands on him. He's a kid that wants to learn. He loves football. He wants to work.' We just talked about a number of things. He may have one family member come out and live with him, we'll see. I know he has a younger brother that's playing and they're very close. We'll just see how it works out. Whatever it takes to get him where he needs to be, it will get done."

On why he was labeled being lazy:"I don't know. I think sometimes whenever you hear of a young man with a weight problem, he comes in and he's overweight, sometimes you can get a label and it's hard to get rid of. So many people that I talked to that I have tremendous respect for just said, 'Mike, this kid is special. He has a tremendous amount of upside. Every day he goes out to practice, he works hard. He gets after it. He's your kind of guy, I'm telling you, your kind of guy.' Guys that know me pretty well, I got that information from and I trust that.

On how many people he spoke with to gain background information on Davis:"I would say three. Three, and three in-depth. Having some in-depth conversation, three."

On whether drafting two offensive linemen in the first round signals that the team might not go with as much spread next year:"This is what we're going to do. I want to say this again. We want to have a balanced attack. When we want to run the ball, when we need to run the ball, run the ball. We're going to run the ball. But, we want to have a balanced attack. We're not just going to be run the ball, three clouds… We're not going to do that. We want to play good, solid football. We feel that we have good personnel to do that. We can pass the ball with [WR] Michael Crabtree, the addition of the new wide receiver. I just feel like [WR] Josh Morgan is continuing to grow and develop, and we made add another receiver before it's over. [RB] Frank Gore and [RB] Glen Coffee – we may add another running back. We'll just see how it goes, but I think first and foremost, we want to be a versatile offense that can do what we need to do in order to win the game."

On how much the two new linemen help QB Alex Smith:"Well, they help our offense. Any time that you can help protect a quarterback, it gives him that much more confidence in what he's doing. It gives him a little more time to think about, 'Where do I go with the ball,' rather than, 'Where do I run?' I think it's going to help Alex Smith a lot. I think it gives him an opportunity. The more weapons we can give him, the more protection we can offer him, I think it's going to make a big difference."

On whether there is any trepidation that offensive line coach Solari and Ray Brown have to coach up two young rookies:"No. There was a lot of conversation that went into these young men. Mike Solari and I have talked extensively about what it would take, the preparation. That's why we brought them in, so that Mike could put them on the board and really go over all of the finer parts of the game and talk about where there knowledge level was. Iupati, bringing him in and just putting him on the board and really going through almost a full day of coach Solari being on the board and talking about the different protections, talking about the different plays and talking about our style of offense and then going on to some other things and then coming back and putting him on the board and saying, 'OK, we want to know how much information he can retain.' So, when that session was done, the question that I had for coach Solari, 'Do you think he can do it? Do you think this young man can do it?' He said, 'Yes. It's going to take a little work, just like it's going to take everywhere else. But, I do feel very confident that he can do it.'"

On whether he can compare the pluses and minuses between the two draft picks:"I think Iupati, simply by some of the things that he's been through, coming over and trying to learn the language and adapting to a couple of new different coordinators, being a defensive tackle first, and then becoming an offensive tackle, but, at the same time, really understanding the concepts. He's a very proud young man. He wants to do things for his parents and his family. He's very appreciative. He knows exactly where he's come from. He's a guy that wants to give back to the community. He wants to give back to his family. He's all about giving. There's a tremendous amount of maturity there. On the other side, when you look at Anthony Davis, the other gentleman that we drafted, it's a different set of things that are there, but I just feel that we're going to get our hands on a young man that we're going to surround him with the right people. Both of them are going to be in great shape simply because of who they're going to be coached by. I am so thankful to have coach Solari and Ray Brown being the two guys who are going to coach and teach and train these young men how to be football players at this level, doing the things that they have to do in order to be successful. Not just teaching them how to be football players, but how to be men. I'm very excited about that combination."

On what level of temptation he had to use one of the first round picks on a quarterback:"Very little. That's about the best answer I can give you."

On whether Davis was gone would CB Joe Haden be a possibility:"Now you're starting to talk about a whole other can of worms. If Davis is gone, if this guy's gone, now we're back to the cheat sheet, and we've got to look at who's there. But, it didn't happen that way. And, if you know me, I don't want to talk about possibilities. I want to talk about what happened."

On whether CB Joe Haden being selected earlier helped Davis get to the 49ers:"I think there were a number of things that helped him get to us. You could say when Haden was gone, when [S Eric] Berry was gone. Anytime an offensive linemen wasn't picked, that helped to bring him to us a little bit more. I'm just thankful of how it worked out. I'm not smart enough to figure out all the other stuff."

On whether he was prepared to take Iupati at No. 13:"Possibly."

On his feeling of valuing guards in the first round or the middle of the first round:"All I know is when I turn on film, what I see. There are a lot of teams that talk about the value of a tackle, the value of this and the value of that. Can the guy play? That's all I want to know. Can he play? Can he play physical? Is he going to come to practice every day and is he going to work hard? Is he going to get better? Is he going to make us better? Is he going to help our locker room? That's the only thing I want to know because at the end of the day, you've got 32 picks up there, but they are going to be a small percentage of these guys who are going to be great players. Hopefully we got two of them today."

On whether it's a priority to get the two linemen to start this year:"Yes, hopefully. Anytime you draft someone in the first round, you draft them to play. But, at the same time, I believe that you want these guys to compete. I don't want to give anything to anybody. When you come in, you've got to earn it. But, do I expect them to start? Yes, I do."

On what he sees at the top priority in the next two days:"There are a number of things that we want to look at, but I think on the defensive side, there are a couple of things that we need over there – and I really don't want to get into it. And, on the offensive side, we still have some work to do on the offensive side. Certainly, before it's all said and done, there are just a couple of key positions that we have pegged that we need to go after. I'll tell you after tomorrow what they are. Thank you very much."

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