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Trent Baalke talks Tank Carrardine experiment, weight, position

Tank Carradine was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round of 2013. He hasn't been on the field much since his ACL has healed and Trent Baalke explained why.

Trent Baalke and the San Francisco 49ers had high hopes for Tank Carradine when they drafted him in the second round of the 2013 draft. He was a member of Baalke's ACL squad but following his "red-shirt" year, he hasn't seen the field much and there are a few reasons why.

One criticism was that Carradine hadn't picked up the defensive system fast enough in his second year. In 2015, however, DC Eric Mangini reported progress in that area, so why did he still not see much playing time? Baalke explained how their vision for Carradine has changed during his hour-long pre-draft talk with the media.

What have you learned about Tank Carradine?

Well, I think with Tank, Tank’s a defensive end. He’s a five technique, slide him into three technique, hand in the dirt, rush the passer and that's what we’ve talked with the new staff extensively [about] on Tank.Tank’s down to 273 [pounds] I think, somewhere in that neighborhood. We had gotten Tank up way too heavy. He was up to 295, 296 pounds, trying to play four technique and it just didn’t fit his skill set, so we backed him off, got him down. Yesterday he was beating most, in fact I think he won several of the bag drills out there, the competition that they’re doing. Lighter than he’s been since college, got more speed, got more quickness than he’s had since college. So that's Getting these guys back into the role that they, you envision when you draft them is important.

You draft him, you know you have a vision, is that a situation where the personnel department and coaching staff weren’t meshing?

No, we just didn’t identify it soon enough. Once we got him healthy, we didn’t identify soon enough that the four technique probably wasn’t the best fit for him.There’s no blame to be put on anybody. I’m certainly not blaming the coaches for that. That is what it is. You bring guys in, you have a vision, we thought at the time, he could do a little of both, learn to play four technique, and it just didn’t work. Don’t read that the wrong way. That’s not on the coaches or miscommunication, it’s just the way it played out. Had a vision, maybe it wasn’t the ideal vision for him, so if we messed up on that, that’s on me. Now, what is the right vision for him? Making sure we put the guys in the best role for them.

Maybe Baalke will follow the teachings of Chip Kelly: to put players in the best situation to be productive. The Eagles won a lot of games with Nick Foles, who is not a mobile quarterback, even though Kelly's system has been said to work much more effectively with a QB that actually can run. Maybe a lighter and quicker Carradine will finally have the chance to live up to the expectations of the team that drafted him.