Earlier this month, 49ers GM Trent Baalke took some time to meet with the media and review film on each of the 49ers 2011 NFL Draft picks. While I was unable to attend, the 49ers have put video from each of the players up in the 49ers.com video section. Over the course of the next week or two, I thought it would be fun to take a look at those videos and open the floor for discussion about each of the 49ers draft picks.
Since I see no need to go in any particular order, I thought we would start with sixth round pick Colin Jones, a safety out of TCU. There were a decent amount of huhs? following the pick as people weren't quite sure what to make of it. However, the 49ers view Jones as a guy who could turn into a special teams standout, with an outside chance of making some kind of impact at strong safety.
In speaking about Jones, Trent Baalke focused in on his value as a future special teams players. Special teams coordinator Brad Seely was hoping to have two or three guys on his roster who could be a core for the special teams units. In Jones, Seely and the rest of the coaching staff saw such a player. At around 6', 210 pounds with solid speed, Jones apparently excelled on special teams at TCU. He was a guy who was first down the field and was not afraid of making contact.
Baalke did indicate the team would give him an opportunity at the strong safety position, but his path to making the roster would be as a special teams contributor. Baalke went so far as to say that the 49ers were looking at him to become an elite special teams player. According to Baalke, "those guys show up right away ... They show up day one ... They know that that's their path to making it in the National Football League."
It's entirely possible Jones could develop a nice long career out of strong special teams abilities. Just ask Jeff Ulbrich how that can work out. Ulbrich was a third round pick so expectations were higher, but at the end of his career Ulbrich had become a strong special teams contributor. If the 49ers got ten years of special teams contributions from Colin Jones, I'd imagine they would view that pick as a success.