We continue our run through the seventh round of the 49ers 2011 NFL Draft picks as we check out Trent Baalke's comments to the beat writers about each player's film. Baalke has gone through the film for each player and provided a basic idea why the 49ers selected each player and how they might fit into the 53-man roster. Over the last two weeks we've discussed Colin Jones, Ronald Johnson, Daniel Kilgore, Kendall Hunter,Curtis Holcomb, Bruce Miller, and Aldon Smith.
Today we move on to third round pick Chris Culliver, a defensive back out of South Carolina that began his college career as a safety but moved to cornerback his final year with the Gamecocks. You can check out Baalke's comments about Culliver at the 49ers.com video page.
Baalke spoke primarily about the versatility of Culliver and his ability to move around the field. He played a mix of safety, outside cornerback and nickel back in college. He has a lot to learn about the cornerback position so it won't be a simple transition at the next level. Well, it'd be nice if it was a simple transition, but I'd expect some bumps in the road early on.
Baalke was asked about whether Culliver would likely move into the nickel back role. Baalke didn't really answer the question in the short video available in the link above. He spoke about how the nickel back has a lot to learn because that person often deals with the run a bit more and has to deal with motions and changes, thus creating a bit more mental work. Of course, maybe that was the answer to the question?
If Culliver is playing in the nickel role he'll be competing with guys like Tarell Brown and Phillip Adams for playing time. Who do you see emerging from that group in 2011? Brown is a guy who has shown flashes of ability but has had some consistency issues. Adams showed some flashes last year before finishing the season on injured reserve. And of course Culliver is still transitioning from safety to corner. Some good talent, but also some significant question marks surround all three players.