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Chip Kelly talks about 49ers draft picks

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The San Francisco 49ers new head coach made it through his first draft with the team. He had some interesting comments about his involvement in Pro Days, and his thoughts on the new players. We've got a full transcript, and you can view video here.

Chip, your first time in this draft room, how did things go? What did you observe? How did the pieces fit together this weekend?

"I thought it was very orderly. There was a lot of work that this personnel department did in putting the draft together. And really, as Trent said, it fell the way it was up on the board. There are always a couple points in time during it where the highest guy we have we're all set and want to pick him, but you got eight picks left and you're just waiting that no one else selects him before your opportunity comes. It worked out that way so, I thought it was very orderly, very organized."

Were you saying some of, most of those times, when you had a guy up there he stayed right there?

"Every time. Yeah, but there were some real sweat out times then. I probably get a little more nervous than other people, but it held true."

I know they're all your guys, but today was there anyone that you really, really wanted at that spot?

"Again, everybody we had when our opportunity came to pick were really highly ranked on our board, and usually, probably, actually round or two before we picked them. So you were kind of sweating it out. The interesting thing that goes on, because in this day and age, the information age, you're always getting texts from other teams and people that are on other teams like, ‘you took our guy.' There are other people waiting on the same thing, in the baited breath of ‘geeze, there's our guy.' I mean, the same thing happened to us a couple times. We had a guy on there you really wanted and then all of a sudden you're like, ‘ah, god he just went to team X' or whatever. Again, I thought it was really organized and very, very orderly in terms of how the whole process went through."

QB Jeff Driskel said you gave him a call with about 20 minutes before the pick to check in on him. What were your thoughts about drafting him and what do you like about his potential?

"I think we said earlier, we love his athletic ability. He's 237 lbs and ran a 4.47 at the combine. He's got a unique package that you can kind of work with. That's an exciting thing, but I wanted to get a feel for him. I had not talked to him, so just to see where he is and get a chance to talk to him. And we had some time. We weren't on the clock for a little bit. We told him that if we got to where we were getting to, I think it was pick 207, that if he was still there at that point and time that we were going to pick him. But I just wanted to get a feel for where he was, and what his thought process was, and had a good conversation with him. I was fortunate enough to make two phone calls to him today."

Both of the offensive lineman said that they have some experience running a zone blocking type of schemes. Do you get involved in that? Do you watch them, and do you want to see that athleticism out of a potential tackle? Do you want to give that your stamp of approval?

"Yeah, I watched everybody that we drafted. I think the great part about being here is our coaching staff and personnel department worked hand in hand in this whole process. It was, there wasn't anybody we picked that you had to say, ‘Who's that guy?' I think a lot is made of running the zone scheme. I think every team in college football runs a zone scheme. I think it's just a play that you run. It's not a scheme, and it doesn't mean that you don't run man scheme, or gap scheme plays. I think everybody runs both. I kind of get a kick out of it when people say, ‘He's a zone scheme guy, so he fits here.' I mean, I think every team in the National Football League runs zone plays. Every team in the National Football League runs gap scheme plays, and the same thing at the collegiate level."

Obviously those two guys will fit into what you want to do on the offensive line?

"They do. They do. I think their athleticism, along with [G] Josh [Garnett], is really kind of what we're looking for, big guys that can move. But that's not unlike any other team. I don't think anybody's going to say, ‘We want big guys that can't move.' That's kind of what's you're looking for in terms of putting your team together, but we really like the size of those guys, especially the ones we got today."

Do you look at them as possibilities to kick inside at guard and to provide more depth and versatility?

"There's potential there. When you get to, especially the third day of the draft, the versatility becomes a huge factor. The more positions one person can play, no matter where it is, whether you're a corner and you can be a nickel, whether you have the ability to play offensive tackle, or play offensive guard, or be a center/guard type player, that's certainly going to help your chances of making the team. Not only when you look at it now in terms of the draft, but when you get to the 46-man roster on game day and we're only going to dress seven offensive linemen, those two backup offensive linemen, one of them has to be kind of an inside guy, one of them has to be kind of an outside guy. They've got to be able to be versatile in terms of playing every position across our front five."

It seems that your staff was spread out across the country, a lot of coaches at pro days, workouts and such. Is that unique? Was it that way in your three previous years too? Did you have your staff go across the country?

"No, I went to less pro days here than I've ever gone to. I went to a lot of pro days when I was in Philly, but again that's all on how Trent runs the personnel department."

I mean your staff and your assistants.

"Yeah, and that's what I was alluding to. That's how Trent runs the personnel department. Once we break the combine and pro days are out there, then Trent's group tell us exactly which coaches have to go to which pro days, which scouts are going to which pro days. We're just trying to cover the country. And a lot of times there are multiple pro days in one day. So we may have our college director of scouting at one pro day, but we've got our offensive line coach at another so that we're at both of them. You know, you can't call the school and say don't have your pro day this day, because we want to go to this one. So you have to use all your man hours and workforce in terms of how you're going to do it. That was all directed by our personnel department."

Why did you go to fewer this year?

"I just went to the local ones and that's what I was told to do."

Now that you have gone through the initial wave of free agency, you've gone through the draft, how do you envision this season taking shape?

"I think we'll win every game."

By an average score of--?

"13-5. No I mean, it's really early in its infancy, and I've been really impressed with how the group that we have right now works. I'm excited about that. There's so many, there's a Phase One, a Phase Two, and a Phase Three here in the off season program. We had an opportunity, because we're a new coaching staff, to get out on the field and actually get a mini-camp done last week. But then we jump right back into Phase Two again, where it's you're on the field and the offense and defense are not allowed to go against each other. It's a lot of technique. It's a lot of teaching. We'll go back to that for a couple weeks before we start OTA's. But I'm excited about what direction we're headed in."

Being able to see your guys on the field, did that impact this draft in any way as far as reassessing needs and where you guys had to go over these three days?

"I don't know about needs. I think you always have wishes, but as Trent says and I believe him, the board is the board. So, you could say I really wish we could have this, but if it's not there, I think that's when your biggest mistake is, when you take a guy in the fourth round, in the second round just because you think you have a need at that position. So, the way it played out, we thought there was depth in the offensive line and that's the way it kind of played out. We thought there was some depth at the corner position, that's the way it played out. So, it kind of fell that way, what's available to you, you just can't make it. I think that's when you make mistakes, when you try to force something, saying ‘We need running backs, so we're going to take him here.' And then, when that guy gets here he's not good enough and you're saying, ‘Why did that happen?' It's because we tried to force it and I don't think you can force it. You just have to take what's available to you."

You've noted the business side of things with QB Colin Kaepernick are out of your control. You're just trying to coach him as hard as you can. Have you got any sort of assurances now that the Denver Broncos have taken a quarterback high, the New York Jets have taken a quarterback high, that he's going to be here?

"He's been here every day, so it's never been a question for me."

I'm just talking about for the rest of the 2016 season?

"Yeah, same thing, I think he's been outstanding. I think he doesn't get the credit for that. He's been here every day and worked as hard as anybody on this football team in terms of preparing for the 2016 season and that's the way we are with him. We're moving forward."

Trent referred the question to you, do you see undrafted free agent WR Devon Cajuste more as a wide receiver or a tight end?

"Well, we haven't signed anybody and we aren't allowed to sign them until, I think, Thursday. So, I can't really comment on, I can only comment on the guys we've drafted because we have their rights, so until someone signs."

If he were to sign--?

"Someone said there were results on Twitter, but I learned a long time ago not everything on twitter is true, so I don't know. We'll wait until we get guys actually under contract and we can say exactly what we're going to do with them."

What did you see from him at the local pro day?

"He's outstanding and I obviously have a great relationship with [Stanford head coach] David [Shaw]. I went to their pro day. He came out to our pro day. He's a tough match up as a receiver. He's so big. He's strong. He's physical. He's got a great catch radius. If we were to sign him as a free agent, we would be really excited."