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Chip Kelly talks DeForest Buckner, Joshua Garnett fits, Colin Kaepernick, more

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The San Francisco 49ers head coach met with the media Thursday evening to discuss the team's two draft picks. He talked about the fit of the two newest members of the team, and where things stand with the quarterback position. We've got a full transcript, and you can view video here.

When you woke up this morning, did you have a sense that you would have an Oregon Duck joining you?

"No. The way [49ers general manager] Trent [Baalke] and the personnel staff did it with our coaches is you kind of set the board up and then say, you really don't know. You hear so many things. I think you were pretty guaranteed that the quarterbacks were going to go one and two and then after that it's just how it plays itself out. But, we were really comfortable in terms of where we were sitting at seven that we were going to get a really good football player."

In your mind, is your quarterback situation pretty much the way it is, settled, it's QB Blaine Gabbert and QB Colin Kaepernick and QB Thad Lewis and that's the quarterbacks that you're going to go into camp with?

"We'll see. You've got another day tomorrow and another day on Saturday to see what's available out there. I've said since day one I'm extremely comfortable with those guys if that's what we have going forward. I'm excited about it."

When you see Colin meeting with Denver Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway and meeting with Denver and his agents asking for a trade, is that something that bothers you at all about a quarterback that might be on this roster going into next season?

"No. My conversations with Kap is that I understand that the NFL is a business and you have an agent and there's things you take care of. The one thing I've told him and I think he can tell you has happened is that if you're here on April 4th, and I really want you to be here on April 4th, we're just going to coach the heck out of you. And he's been outstanding since he's been here on April 4th. He's worked as hard as anybody on this team at his rehab. He's been great in every single meeting we've had. He's been at every single training session we've had. So, I've got nothing but positive things to say about Kap and I'm excited about him. I think he's a heck-of-a football player."

John Elway already said that with them drafting Denver Broncos QB Paxton Lynch, they're not interested in a trade now for Kap. So, is there any reason in your mind to not think Kaepernick is going to be on your team?

"I've never thought that anyway. My thoughts haven't changed since I sat down with you guys at the Combine. I think that's what I said and I'm sticking to it."

When you look at DL DeForest Buckner, joining up again with DL Arik Armstead, how do you see those two guys and what kind of flashbacks do you have from Oregon?

"[WR] Bruce Ellington made the point to me, he was actually in the cafeteria after we made the pick, that we have the best pickup basketball team I think in the National Football League. He said him and [LB NaVorro] Bowman in the backcourt and Buckner and Armstead in the frontcourt, anybody can be the three with those guys."

How are they as football players?

"Pretty good too. I think it's unique that I have an opportunity and [49ers defensive line coach] Jerry Azzinaro who is our defensive line coach and was with me at Oregon, has an opportunity to coach those guys again. They're what we were always looking for when I was at the college level and the chance to see them now play in the National Football League. It doesn't surprise me that they were both first-round draft picks. They're what you're looking for when you're running a 3-4 defense, athletic enough guys that not only play on first and second down, but you can get a lot of really good positive production out of them on third down. DeForest, he actually as a freshman at Oregon, he played outside linebacker for us. So, he's played on his feet and has dropped into coverage and that kind of tells you a little bit about his athleticism. So, it's exciting to get those guys back together again."

Can you tell us how much input you had in this selection process at all? Were you an observer or did they involve you?

"Well, tonight I was an observer because I think what the job is is when you have such a good personnel staff like you did, I think our coaches and our personnel staff worked extremely well together. One of the things that always attracted me about coming here is I think myself and Trent share the same vision of how to build a football team. It kind of shows itself that we're drafting the same guys that I was taking out of high school are the same guys that we want when we're looking at them moving into the next level. It was just kind of fun to sit back and watch him work the board and work the phones and give us two really quality players on the offensive and defensive line where I think the game starts."

What do you see in G Joshua Garnett that you believe that he can fit into what you're going to be asking him to do?

"Personal knowledge of just going against him, we thought he was the best interior run blocker in the draft. We've always run the football since I was in college or in the National Football League. I think we've finished first, eighth and 14th in the last three years in the league running the football when I was in Philadelphia. We're going to continue to do that. When you have someone like [RB] Carlos Hyde in the backfield, I think that's what we want here. We're going to play great defense and we're going to be really good at running the football. So, to add someone like Josh, he's just a big, physical player that can bend really well for a big guy. I think you look at, the one thing that was remarkable about him was when you look at some of those short-yardage, goal line packages that [Stanford head football coach] David [Shaw] runs there and you look at Josh who's literally three inches off the ground just driving guys out of there, it's impressive to see. And then you throw the intangibles in with Josh with a kid that wants to go to med school, is a senior that's going to graduate in June with a degree from Stanford. I think you kind of check all the boxes when you're looking at Josh."

Is there any pause that a guy has so much going on, he could leave the NFL tomorrow and have a great career in another field? Is there any concern that you might lose him after a couple of years?

"I don't know where that comes from."

Well, there was a player here a couple of years ago--?

"Yeah, but just because someone's smart, I don't think you just steer away from them and say we don't want guys that are really intelligent because they won't stay with us for a long time. So, he's an extremely driven person in everything he does, whether it's academics or athletics and I think what's you're looking for. That's what attracts you to people like Josh. That's someone that no matter what the challenge is ahead of him, he's going to attack it with everything he has and I look at that as a positive."

You don't often see a guy who is going to get drafted in the first or the second round take part in a local Pro Day. Did that convince you or did that speak to Garnett's character that he would, he would do that here in Santa Clara?

"Obviously impressed with it, but it was also something that just told me the same thing that David Shaw has told me all along. Josh loves football. The fact that he is actually a very intelligent young man that wants to go to med school doesn't take away from the fact that he loves football. To see a guy come, there's a lot of guys that would come and say, ‘Hey, I've already been to the Combine, I was a First-Team All-American, and you know who I am. I'm a local guy and I don't have to work out.' He looked at it, when you talk to Josh, it was another opportunity to be coached by an NFL coach, and to get some work with [49ers offensive line coach] coach [Pat] Flaherty. It does say a lot about him, but that's the type of player you're getting."

Since you've came to the NFL, your teams, about half of their draft picks have come from the Pac-12. It seems like, perhaps more than a coincidence. Obviously you're not making all those picks directly, but does it speak to, I mean, these are guys that you know, you're familiar with, a lot of cases you know the guy intimately? Does that lead to that number?

"I think it speaks to the quality of play in the Pac-12. I think it's one of the top conferences out there. You look at David's teams have been ranked in the top-five I don't know how many consecutive years in a row now. You're talking about guys from Stanford and Oregon, you're talking about two top-ten national programs that are turning out players that are outstanding football players, whether it'd be on the teams that I've coached, or other teams. They had a quarterback a couple years ago over there that got picked in the first round."

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck?

"Yeah. He's pretty good."

G Zane Beadles spent a lot of time at left guard before signing here. Josh Garnett played mostly, if not exclusively, left guard. How do you see that shaking out in terms of where they're going to play?

"Today, I don't have that answer for you. What we will do with all of our guys is it's a competition. Coach Flaherty, [49ers offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins] coach Mods and what we're going to try to do on the offensive line is put the best five guys on the field and we'll figure out what's the best situation. You know, Zane has experience in the league. If he seems to be more comfortable on the left side, we've got great flexibility. The same thing with DeForest. But, as Trent said earlier, we drafted two guys in the first round but they still have to earn their playing time here. You know, it's a meritocracy in terms of show us, in terms of our confidence in you, in terms of being a starter will be based on demonstrability. And they'll have enough time between now, and I think we've got a rookie mini-camp coming in where we'll get Josh and DeForest in here for the first time and get their feet wet and get moving with them, all the way through to where we are in September. But, our concern isn't who is going to be our left guard at the end of April. It's going to be who is going to be our left guard when we open up on Monday Night against the Rams."