NFL Draft 2011: 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh On Aldon Smith

Tim Kawakami has posted a quick transcript of 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh's press conference following the selection of Missouri OLB Aldon Smith. You can also view video of the press conference. First and foremost, Kawakami asked if the team would trade the newest A. Smith and Harbaugh said there was no chance of that. Take it with a grain of salt, as with anything else, but I just don't see that rumored Kolb deal happening. As Kawakami said, it's probably just Philly trying to boost Kolb's draft stock.

After the jump I've posted the first two questions and answers as they relate to why the team went with Aldon Smith. There has been some questioning of drafting a defensive end to become a 3-4 OLB. Harbaugh addressed that issue particularly:

-Q: He's going from defensive line to linebacker. How much of a learning curve is there?

-HARBAUGH: There's definitely a learning curve. You know, you're talking about playing predominantly in a three-point stance... but there were times he was on his feet and we could see it. So it's not a blind projection. But there will be a learning curve. There will be our times in our defense where he'll play in his three-point stance, in the nickel when you go to the defensive end position or even an inside shade on the defensive line.

He's got quite a bit of versatility.

While Smith was not a WOW pick, I think if he can improve his game, this could prove to be a very solid building block pick. Maybe he doesnt' guarantee playoff berths, but you need strong building blocks across the team. And let's face it, the 49ers outside linebackers were wildly inconsistent in 2010. There's talent there, but not consistent talent. Maybe Aldon Smith can bring that to the outside linebacking corp.

-Q: You had a lot of options with this pick. Why Aldon Smith?

-HARBAUGH: The draft is full of good players. Without comparing them all, we took the guy we liked the most as a football player, as a person. We think he has tremendous upside. Excited about adding a Missouri Tiger on our football team, another one on our defensive line to go along with Justin Smith. The way he rushes the passer. The way he plays the run. His ability to play on his feet-that he has done and we project him to be able to do to be an outside linebacker in our 3-4 scheme.

To add to our defense. To add to our passrush. We watched a lot of tape on him. We had him here on a visit. I'm really impressed with him as a person. He's an All-American young man. Has great wiring, many blessings from mom, dad and God, and we just feel like he's going to be someone who's obviously going to add to our football team and make us a better football team.

All those reasons and more.

-Q: He broke his leg and came back after only three games, said it showed he was tough. What did that show to you?

-HARBAUGH: There are a lot of things that come through on the tape...That struck a chord with me. I know how usually bones take four to six weeks to heal. You could tell he was playing on it, limping at times. But there's a toughness aspect there, both mentally and physical, that I was impressed with. Strong, tough guy who shows that he loves football. So all those things, when I say the wiring, the kind of All-American type of young man. That's what I mean by that.

The other thing I'm really excited about is his wingspan. It's Dwyane Wade-like. Almost eight-feet in wingspan. Not eight feet, it's plus-eight inches from his height. But he's very rarely on the ground. Unless he's going in to make a tackle, very rarely does he go to the ground.

Tremendous balance. Tremendous hustle that he has pursuing the football, he's coming from the backside. And not afraid to go into a pile of bodies, head first, make the tackle. A lot of things that show up that are character-toughness things that you see on field.

Fooch's Note: If you want to join the discussion, make sure and register (it's free, no spam, etc). There's a 24-hour wait period, so if you want to get in discussing right away, register and then email me at ninersnation@gmail.com and I'll activate your account.

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft is almost complete and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for the rest of the draft - NFL mock drafts draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFLHub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft. Lastly, for more San Francisco 49ers coverage, check out our team blog: Niners Nation.

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