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49ers Draft Picks: Can Passion For The Game Be A Difference-Maker?

Yesterday afternoon Matt Barrows had a post about 49ers rookie wide receiver Ronald Johnson. It was about what he's been doing since the draft and some interesting information about how Alex Smith paid for his flight to and from the Bay Area, and how he stayed with fellow USC alum Taylor Mays. All in all it's a fairly interesting article in a time when interesting material is hard to come by.

I noticed something interesting in the middle of the article. It was a quotation by 49ers GM Trent Baalke:

"He's very passionate," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said recently of Johnson. "Everybody we talked to at USC talked about his passion for the game. He lives in the weight room, lives in the building. He has always wanted to be a pro."

In the film session Trent Baalke conducted with the media to discuss the various 49ers draft picks, he has said something similar to this just about every time. Each player has a passion for the game and basically lives and breathes football. They're more or less gym rats if you will that have a crazy level of passion for football.

In reviewing all this the pattern was very clear in that sense. The gold star the 49ers affixed to their guys this year includes some huge level of passion for the game. It's great that these guys love football, but in regards to their skill level, does it add to it? When it comes to a job I want to have a passion for what I do and yet some people can move through life doing a perfectly solid job without having passion for what they do. Do you think it makes much difference given the physicality and violent nature of football?