The San Francisco 49ers are turning over their front office and coaching staff this offseason, and it means there is a lot to learn. This is particularly true for people that fall under the new GM and head coach. We will hear plenty about John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan, but the other hirings are likely to fly under the radar a bit.
There has been positive buzz around the hiring of Adam Peters as Vice President of Player Personnel. The Broncos have done some good things, but John Elway is the one who usually gets most of the credit. That’s usually the case with the general manager, so we have to pick apart what we can find about the underlings.
On Tuesday, former NFL wide receiver Drew Bennett was on KNBR to talk about Peters. Bennett is from the Bay Area, and it sounds like he makes radio appearances every so often. He also played football with Peters at UCLA. He does not have a ton of insight on him as a personnel guy, but he does have some information to offer. Here’s a transcript of his interview.
On kinds of players Peters will bring:
Peters, I played football with Peters at UCLA, and still talk to him quite a bit. Very smart mind, very sharp guy. I know that my huge dilemma with him, and I’m gonna give him a hard time, I hope he’s listening, is that he was a huge Tebow fan … Let me tell you, I know a couple agents who use him as a player personnel guy because they appreciate exactly, he tells it like it is, and he has a very, very good recognition of personality, has a very good recognition of talent, and he’s a guy that’s not scared — so many scouts and so many directors of player personnel are worried about making a mistake on a guy that on paper doesn’t look good — and Adam is not that guy. Adam’s like, “look, if you can play, if I see what I’m looking for, we’ll take him. I’m not gonna risk looking bad because I took a guy that was a few inches short or something like that.
I’m a big fan of that hire. I think that he’s definitely on the up and up.
On John Lynch hiring:
First, I’ve gotta tell you, I’ve got a history with him, too. On Christmas Day in 2004, he separated my shoulder, so I hope he’s listening, too … It was a cover two and the quarterback, Billy Volek tried to squeeze it in there, and he just, actually, I really am a big fan of John Lynch, both as a player and as a person. But it was just funny, looking back now, seeing that hire, that’s the first thing I thought about, “hey, you know what, that guy separated my shoulder, that’s a good story.”
I like the change, I get so tired of teams hiring somebody else’s mistake. You look around the league and you see all these head coaches and GMs and director of player personnel people that get hired, that haven’t had success in other places — that have even gotten fired or let go of their contract, and it just drives me crazy to see people re-hire those guys. So I love branching out outside the box. He’s very, very smart, he obviously knows football really well. It’ll be a bit of a learning curve going into exactly watching a draft and watching scouting tapes and combine results and all those things. But I think he’s a definitely guy who can pick that up and be very successful.
On Peters taking anything away from UCLA and applying to the NFL:
Well, we’re obviously very, very smart since we went to UCLA, right? I think just over the course of your career, the defensive scheme there change a couple times while he was there, and we played with some very, very good players. We played with a lot of guys that made it to the NFL. And I think that starts your learning process of understanding what it takes, and who’s successful at different levels, what kind of schemes work, who’s good in what type of schemes. We had a very fancy offensive coordinator, Al Borges, when I was there, learning the very fancy protections, and Adam played for a guy, Rocky Long, that’s now the San Diego State head coach — and if you wanna talk about crazy defenses, that is definitely a place to go learn that from, is Rocky.
So he has good experience with a bunch of different styles of player and schemes, and I think that’ll just help him as he gets the position ready.
On any interaction with Peters while he was in Denver:
No, it’s more just peripheral stuff. He keeps pretty close to the vest, as most player personnel guys do. And there was never any specific reason to ask him, other than just to completely debate the Tebow debacle. We talk mostly just friend stuff. Every once in a while a player would come up — like I said, I had two buddies that are agents that used him a lot just to kind of get an idea of how he had them rated, or what he thought their weaknesses were, their strengths were. Both those guys kept telling me, “oh, he’s gonna be a player director some day. He’s got what it takes, he’s really knowledgable.” And here he is.