The NFL Combine will be coming to a close on Tuesday late afternoon. The last to go will be the defensive back group, who should gain significant interest from 49ers scouts. This past weekend, though, San Francisco had a close eye on the defensive linemen and wide receivers.
While the team needs a nose guard, the Niners could also use another pass-catcher. And hopefully, it will be someone that can fill in opposite Michael Crabtree.
Scott Kegley of TV49 had a chance to speak with Jim Harbaugh at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday. Coach Harbaugh had some interesting comments on the draft process so far and even mentioned the name of a particular player at a position of need.
On the scouts getting to work so quickly:
It's good. There's still a lot of work to be done and Trent [Baalke] would say the same thing. They're definitely pretty far along too and that's good. So, this will be another piece to the puzzle.
On familiarity with prospects; either coaching them or playing against them:
And recruited. A lot of these guys are now coming through that we recruited. They might have gone to other schools but sure do remember recruiting them and got some good memories of that.
And it's very exciting, because you start to champion guys, you start to like guys. And you want to meet them and you want to find out more about them. And you get the opportunity to do that here. You get to have interviews with them, you get to meet them, you get to watch them compete in various on-field skill events and weightlifting, how high they can jump, how far they can jump, how fast they can run. You get to know them better and this is an opportunity to do that.
On WR Robert Woods comments regarding him not coming Stanford:
[To preface, Woods said this about his meeting with coach Harbaugh: I went to the 49ers room, and it was just Coach Harbaugh in there. It was laid-back; he asked me a couple of questions, asked me why I didn't go to Stanford coming out.]
I'm still mad at him, I'm still mad at him. I'm like an elephant, I never forget. And I might have mentioned that to Robert. He's really done a wonderful job, and he came out of the school Serra in Southern California and they had five phenomenal players that we wanted to get to Stanford, and not a one of them came to Stanford.
And it's neat to see him, following him; he's doing so well. And sometimes paths cross again, sometimes life is that way. It was great to see him last night and watch him compete this weekend.
Considering Harbaugh left for the NFL following the 2010 season at Stanford, a lot of the guys he recruited in his final two years in the NCAA are now turning pro. Harbaugh, as well as Vic Fangio and Greg Roman, have seen a lot of these players up close, going all the way back to their high school days.
This gives San Francisco a tremendous edge, given that their top decision-makers are that familiar with the incoming prospects.
Robert Woods for instance was a high-profile NCAA receiver that Harbaugh recruited and competed against. Woods, like Robert Griffin III before him, declined Harbaugh's offer to be a Cardinal and remained in Southern California.
Nevertheless, Harbaugh came away with knowledge about Woods as a player and a person.
Woods is a 6'0", 201 pound WR from USC that had only one strong campaign during his time with the Trojans, which occurred in 2011. In his final year, there was a significant drop in his numbers, resulting in questions about his consistency. Despite the statistical dip, he is still projected to go in the second or third round come April.
Harbaugh would not be "mad" at Woods for turning him down if he did not think he was a good football player. His comments about the receiver seemed to reflect a certain admiration. But whether they pursue the former Trojan on draft day is a completely different story altogether.
Now, the question becomes: did Harbaugh show his hand or is he just blowing smoke?