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Trent Baalke wrapped up 49ers 2016 draft performance

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The San Francisco 49ers GM had his draft-wrap press conference Saturday evening. He went into detail about the day three haul of picks. We've got a full transcript, and you can view video here.

What about your defensive lineman, DL Ronald Blair? How do you see him fitting in?

"As I've always told you, that's for the coaches to work with where he fits in schematically. We look at him as a guy that can come in and move across the line of scrimmage, especially in the nickel package and really line up at all four positions. So, he's a guy that gives you some versatility. He's a high producer at his level of play. A great young man, A-plus guy and A-plus worker. So, he's got all the intangibles we were looking for and the skillset to go with it."

Why do you think he was available there? Between his Combine numbers and his production, it seems like he would have been drafted higher. Was it the small school thing?

"I don't know. It's hard for me to answer. Thirty-one other teams had an opportunity to pick him, they chose not to. We were fortunate enough that he was there when we picked. He's a guy that we had actually looked at the round before. So, it's somebody that we have a lot of like for."

Did his bench press numbers confirm what you saw on tape, as far as his strength?

"Yeah. He's one of the hardest workers. You know, when you go and you meet with the scouts early on in February in those meetings, we had two scouts that went in there and they loved him. They absolutely raved about him, his work ethic, his character. So, nothing surprised us with respect to the numbers. And the numbers that you see on paper translate to the field."

What was your scouting report on QB Jeff Driskel?

"Heck of an athlete. You look at the numbers, he's a young man that's over 6-4. He's 237 pounds. He ran sub-4.5. Just a tremendous athlete that's played at two high-caliber programs. There's a lot to work with there."

Are there any plans to move those two tackles, to try them at guard? I know their experience is almost exclusively at tackle but--?

"Well, the good thing about both of them, [OL] John [Theus] and [OL] Fahn [Cooper], both of those guys are guys that can play inside and outside. John's played aligned at guard. He's aligned at both tackle positions. Fahn has done the same. He's played inside. He's played outside. So, the versatility at that point in the draft, that's hard to find, guys that have multi-aligned and played as much football as they've played. John's a 48-game starter in the SEC. So, when you look at that and he's played left tackle like I said, right tackle, he's also lined up at guard. The versatility is something you're looking for."

Was this a weak Draft in terms of skill position players?

"I don't want to say it's a weak Draft. Sometimes you think it's a strong Draft and a lot of them don't pan out. Sometimes people say it's a weak Draft and a lot of them pan out. So, now that the draft is over, it's up to those young men to go and compete and hopefully a lot of them find a lot of success at this level."

Do you want to have those two tackles competing with OL Trent Brown? Do you want to see a lot of competition at that right tackle position, considering that there's not a lot of experience there at this point?

"One thing you try to do in the Draft or any opportunity you get is to make every room as competitive as you can make it. And that's the hopes in going into the Draft. That's the hopes in going into free agency. And that never stops [Sacramento Bee reporter] Matt [Barrows]. You're always trying to make every room as competitive as you can. So, any chance you get to upgrade a room, you take it because there's nothing better than competition to bring the best out. And if you've got the right people in the rooms, they want jobs, they want to compete. So, bring it on. That's the way we look at it."

Has G/T Erik Pears been playing there to this point? Has he and Trent been lining up at right tackle so far in the offseason?

"Yeah, both of them. Both of them have been."

You drafted corners back to back. The second one played just twenty games in college and was suspended for 2015 and was arrested as well. Why did you pick him?

"Well, when you say arrested, he was and those charges were dropped. Why did we pick him? Heck-of-a talent. We did a lot of research, did our homework. We actually have a strength coach on staff with us that's from LSU, that worked with him when he was younger and knew him very well. We also sent someone down there to visit with him. Our coaches met with him at the Combine. So, we had a lot of interaction with him. Felt very comfortable with him and have no problem with his character whatsoever."

He said you sent the team chaplain to meet with him. Why did you choose to send him?

"Well, as you know, [49ers team chaplain] Earl's [Smith] been with this organization for a long time and Earl himself has a lot of history with dealing with these young men. We just felt that Earl was the right person at the right time to go down there and really just get to know him and spend some quality time with him. So, Earl came back, gave us his recommendation. Obviously, his recommendation was position and it led to us making the decision, or at least helped us make that decision."

Have you done that before? Have you sent Earl across the country or anywhere outside the area to meet with prospects?

"Yeah, we've sent Earl. We've sent some other people. We don't advertise it, but we certainly do our homework on guys."

Do you trust his evaluation of character?

"Well, absolutely we do. Otherwise we wouldn't send him. Have no qualms in sending Earl. And once again, he's not the only one that travels on our behalf and works closely with us. He's been with this organization a long time."

Do you see undrafted free agent WR Devon Cajuste as a wide receiver or a tight end?

"[49ers head coach] Coach [Chip Kelly] is going to be up here in a little while. We had him in here. I think in our system, a combination of the slot position, but once again, coach can answer that a lot better than I can."

With 11 picks, do you feel like you've significantly filled a few of the holes on the roster over the past three days?

"Well, we feel good about the group. The 11 selections we made, we feel real good about it top to bottom. There are no guarantees. There are no absolutes. These young men have to come in and compete, whether they were a first round pick, whether they're a seventh round pick or anywhere in between. And then we're also in the market for signing some college free agents as well. So, nobody's given anything in this business. They've got to work for it, but we're certainly happy with the outcome and now we'll see where it goes."

Going back to CB Rashard Robinson, would you say it's safe to say that he's one of the better cover corners in terms of being a press cover corner and do you see him as strictly an outside guy as opposed to the other cornerbacks you drafted, you said they would go in nickel and then play outside? Do you see Robinson as strictly outside the numbers?

"Well, his size and length would lead you to believe that his best position is outside. And how we feel, we had him rated very high, very high on our board as a talent. I think, you know, one reason guys slip is because of the decisions they make along the way. That doesn't mean they can't learn from those decisions and take advantage of the opportunity they've been given. And we fully expect him to do that."

He didn't play at all though last year or the second half of the prior year. Do you worry about that layoff of him in game action?

"Well, anytime you take a leave of absence, whether it's due to injury or any other reason, yeah, you get a little rusty. But, he's a young man with a lot of talent. He's been training hard. He's in very good shape. I think he said he's in the 180s right now or right about there and once he gets here and we get our hands on him, we'll know a lot better, but felt really good about the way he was moving in his Pro Day and certainly liked the talent on film."

How does a guy like CB Prince Charles Iworah, how does he come across your radar? Did you have somebody at his Pro Day?

"He runs a 4.3 40. That's how he comes across. He happened to be at one of the All Star games, that's where we first noticed him. Then we went to the Pro Day and saw him work out and he posted very good numbers at the Pro Day. I think his bench press, 25 reps at his weight, which is incredible. He's a talented young man that can really run. He's going to come in here just like the rest of them and compete. He has blue traits in his body, physically; run, jump, change direction, he can do all those things."

Is that unique that a guy comes on your radar after he's played his final game?

"Well, no. We went through the school. It's not like we didn't know about the school. We had reports in the fall on this guy, but each time we saw him he impressed us. We went in the school in the fall, liked what we saw. Showed up at the All Star game, had a heck of an All Star game. Wasn't invited to the Combine, had a Pro Day, stood out at his Pro Day. At each step, he stood out."

Five of your first seven picks were either on the offensive or defensive line. Obviously the draft is fluid, but did you go into the draft thinking you'd be really addressing both lines?

"Well, I think you guys know how I think by now, and coach is in the same light, the thing you've got to be able to do in football is run the football and stop the run. If you can do those two things you've got a chance to win a lot of football games, especially if you're good on special teams, which we intend on being. So, we knew coming into the Draft that we wanted to fortify those units and we think we got some quality young men to come in and compete. Once again, they've got to earn it. But, we feel good about the guys that we selected and the chances moving forward in terms of development."

You've been talking about running the ball a lot the past few days. Some people might've expected you to draft a running back sooner. What do you like about RB Kelvin Taylor?

"The film and the wiring. He's all ball. Obviously, the pedigree, his father was an excellent running back in his own right in the National Football League. He's not his father. Not trying to compare him to his father. He's going to make his own way in this business, but he's all ball, very enthusiastic. We got him on the phone and the thing he said was, ‘You won't regret this decision.' That strikes me as something. It gave us insight to really who he was and who we thought he was. He just wants to come in and compete."

Who do you see as a comparable person to him, a comparable running back to him?

"I've never gotten into comparisons. They are their own style, especially running backs. They all have their own way of making you pay."

How does he make people pay?

"Well, if you saw a few of the cutups, he's aggressive. He gets on top of the defense quickly. He doesn't have great long speed, he's got competitive long speed. But, he can string cuts together. And running backs that can string cuts together and their feet match their eyes like he does, that's a hard quality to find."

What did you like about the receiver from Michigan State, WR Aaron Burbridge?

"Productive. Tough. Excellent hands. Wins the majority of contested balls that he's in, or contested situations, I should say. A lot to like, he's a competitive young man."

Was he a guy that fell because of his hand size?

"I don't know, hand size, if that's the reason why a guy falls. All I can tell you is if you watch his Pro Day and you watch his college film, his hands might measure eight and a quarter, eight and a half, whatever that it is, but they look like they measure 10 and a half, because he doesn't drop many footballs."

One of the criticisms of OL John Theus was that his feet are a little slow. What did you see out of him that made you choose him? What were his pros?

"Size. Versatility. Intelligence. The fact that you can line up and play 48 games in the SEC as a starter. The foot quickness, that's debatable. We feel his feet are plenty quick to play the position. He survived in the SEC at left tackle. He played right tackle. He's played guard. If you can survive in the SEC playing left tackle, your feet are good enough."

Out of the ‘14 you took four corners, they are still young guys. Some of them haven't had a whole lot of opportunity in the NFL. Why two more fairly high and three overall, why did you continue to address that position so much?

"You can never have enough skill at that position and you can never have enough competition at that position and that's how the board laid out. We have always maintained, we're going to take the best players available on that board and there's nothing wrong with creating competition, as we said earlier. Those were three guys that we felt were going to help us improve and have a chance to improve. I know the guys that are in that locker room currently aren't looking at it in a negative fashion. It's going to raise the level of that room."

Are you guys going to sign eight undrafted guys to fill the roster?

"I'm not sure exactly what the number is. I know it's somewhere around that. Eight, nine guys, whatever that is. We're certainly planning on being at 90. Whether we're at 90 today or by the end of this week. I don't have a date on that."

On Twitter, undrafted free agents Demetrius Cherry, John Lunsford and Jason Fanaika have announced that they are signing. Are those accurate?

"The guys are over there working on it right now. So, if they are announcing it I would take it as fact, but I haven't seen the list yet."

Since former 49ers LB Chris Borland and former 49ers LB Patrick Willis retired, inside linebacker seems like arguably the top need on the team. You didn't take one in this draft. Why do you feel comfortable not taking one?

"Who said it was the top need on the team? I would respectfully disagree, but we feel good about that group. We really do. We weren't in a position at any point where we felt the player available was that guy. We feel real good about that room. We really do. We're going to plug away."