(On overall thoughts…) John S: We’re thinking about who’s coming in for the tryouts this weekend. That’s what everybody’s working on right now. We’re pretty close to finishing up free agency. We’re really excited about several guys we got in free agency and that have agreed. So, and the draft part, was great. We didn’t have any big upsets on this last day. It was great. Worked out good. Pete C: It was kind of like Yogi said, ‘it’s déjà vu all over again.’ I thought it was a terrific three days. We set our sights on stuff, terrific moves that got us into position. John went right back in his mode and had a fantastic sequence of days here. We’re really fired up about the team and the guys we’re bringing into this club and this locker room. It was really well done.
(On how Marsh fits into the defense…) Pete C: He’s always been a really good football player. His nature showed up as a kid. He’s really a hard-working, tough guy. He’s as aggressive and active as anybody that was in the draft. We love that motor that he brings. The chance to get reunited, and met the family, and all that way back when, watched him grow up through his high school days. It’s exciting to give him this opportunity to come to this club. He’s going to come with a real attitude. We’re really fired up about that.
(On whether Marsh will play tackle…) Pete C: He’s going to play end, he’s going to rush inside on third down situations for us, and compete at that spot. He has a lot of versatility, he can do a lot of things If you watched it closely, he logged some plays on offense at times. We think he’ll contribute in a lot of ways. This is a real classic guy for us and that we think he can do a lot of different things. We’re going to try to work it out and figure out how we can best situate it, so he can take advantage of that.
(On comparing Marsh to Michael Bennett…) Pete C: Because Michael has so much flexibility, and Cassius likewise does, we think. In essence, he’s follow Michael around a little bit about the different spots that we play. And then we’ll create his own scenario, but it will take some time to get that figured out.
(On whether there was a theme for this draft…) John S: It’s been the same: smart, tough, reliable. Obviously, the speed and bringing guys that will have that mentality about being able to compete in our locker room and survive in our locker room, which is a pretty young, confident place to be right now.
(On moving Pinkins to playing press corner…) Pete C: He’s a remarkable athlete, as long and tall as he is, and the speed that he has, and he has receiver background. So, he has a lot of good qualities that we like. The fact that he has such great arm length and he’s almost 6’3” gives us a chance to see if we can find him a spot at corner, first. He’s been a real physical guy. John reminded me that he’s been a really good tackler. We thought that was one of the things that jumped out on the film. So, we know he can play football. Now, we’d like to see whether we can package this thing to see if he can play outside. He played a lot on the slots, but covered a lot of man-to-man stuff on slot receivers. But, it’s going to be a transition for him, and we’re willing to go through, and we think he’s the perfect guy to give a shot at that.
(On whether Pinkins can be a safety type…) Pete C: Absolutely, that’s what he does. That’s what he’s built his college career on; playing safety. He’s a hard hitter and a tackler, he would fall right into Kam’s kind of a role, and probably that kind of style if he’s playing safety. He gives us great flexibility, we think he’s a really cool pick because of that.
(On whether Pierre-Louis will be a linebacker or safety…) John S: He’s a Will linebacker. That’s what he’s played, he’s played out in space a ton. Yes, he’s a run and hit guy, a really good special teams player. Range, short-close, instincts, great kid. He’s rocked up. He’s just a great package kid.
(On Pierre-Louis’ athleticism, Todd Brunner comparing him to NaVorro Bowman…) John S: Whoa, slow down, Todd. [laughter] Guys get excited when you pick guys in their area. Todd scouted NaVorro at Penn State and was with the 49ers when they took him, and in his mind that’s who he reminded him of. That was one of the themes we stuck with. You could see they played a very similar position in college.
(On whether there was a guy where you were surprised that he lasted so long…) Pete C: We went down the list and kind of felt like that with a number of guys, starting right with Paul. John really felt solid that we could make the moves that we made, the trades that we made to position ourselves and still get a guy that we were really thrilled to get, and it kind of went on down the list. Justin was really important to us, we needed that right tackle competition. We kept watching him, and Cassius, and all the way down the list it felt like that. Probably in my opinion the fact that Kevin Norwood was there was probably the guy that we thought we were most fortunate to still have a shot at. John S: For me, it was Kevin [Norwood], because he is such a football stud, everything he’s had to overcome. He was such a reliable guy for them. Third down. Big, big games. You could watch him two or three years ago playing against the Honey Badger, and the guy just had his hands full. I think that really stood out to me, and I think that represented on our board. He was by himself up there. We had taken Paul already and didn’t necessarily anticipate another receiver being there because there was a big clump of them, and we felt like they were going to just come ripping off, and they did, and he stayed there, and maybe because he’s such a solid guy, there’s nothing overly flashy about him, except that he’s incredibly tough and reliable and smart and savvy. I think that’s probably why he lasted as long as he did.
(On what it tells you when a guy makes big plays in big games…) John S: Absolutely. A lot of these guys, they’ve all overcome obstacles, you go all the way down to Kiero, he’s a smaller guy who has overcome obstacles the whole way through, and he’s played big time ball. But, when you look at a guy like Kevin, you’re talking about a guy who has played for arguably the best program in the country for the last several years, and he’s been a humongous part of it, and that reliability factor is not something that you take for granted. I know those guys at Alabama don’t take it for granted, and he had to work for it.
(On what you saw in Keith Price…) Pete C: We had a good look at him, obviously, being a local kid, we’ve seen him for years. We had a really good look at him at his workouts. He came here for our local workout. We feel very, very comfortable with him, we know that he’s got a big upside, he seemed to fit in really well with our coaches. We just feel really comfortable and we think we can give him a real good shot at it.
(On Staten and Scott…) John S: Staten, he was at the Players Association game, and had a really good week of practice, played well in the game. 3-technique, good first step, good hands. Still has a good upside on him. He had a knee injury that he overcame, that he worked through, but he missed a portion of the season, so there was a little chunk there. Then, Garrett, he was kind of an under the radar guy, really quick hands, played in that Marshall, good angles, real nice first kick step. Competitive guy, just stays in front of people.
(On whether Scott can play multiple positions…) Pete C: He could, but we like the shot of him playing left tackle, because he’s done it and it’s a difficult spot to find. He looked very comfortable there. Really has the kind of quickness and light on his feet ability that gives us the thought that he could do that. But, we always need our guys to be flexible, and he does help us there.
(On whether Staten is a 5-technique guy…) Pete C: We’d like to play him inside, at the 3-technique stuff, and give us some good big-man play there. We think he can play some at the 5-technique as a swing position for him, but we’d like for him to really solidify a spot inside. We’re looking for a big body guy, so that’s why we’re happy to get him.
(On Kiero Small…) John S: He’s a total thumper, man. I like him a lot. He’s super tough, plays really low, digs guys out. He’s seriously tough. Pete C: He’s a great attitude guy, we love adding him to the team, because he is the epitome of the fullback.
(On whether he has ever drafted a guy who is 5’8”, 247 pounds…) John S: No. But, I remember when Rock Cartwright came out, he’s along those lines. He has great eyes. They ran the ball a lot. He just digs people out. It’s fairly natural for him because he’s so low to the ground, and I can say that, it’s OK.
(On whether less one-on-one is needed for a guy, like Kevin Norwood, from a program like Alabama…) John S: That’s a great question, especially with him because, everything’s just perfect. You just check your boxes. He’s raised well, he’s overcome obstacles, he’s a good student. There’s nothing you can poke holes in. Here he is. He’s like a perfect package. People question his speed a bit, and then he goes to the Combine and runs a 4.47. At a program like that, and you know a lot of those people have been in pro football. Trainers, strength coaches, obviously the coaches. They know what it takes and you interview them, and you talk to them.
(On whether the draft process has changed in going from a 5-win team to top of the mountain…) John S: It really has not changed, the process has not changed at all. I think the only thing that has changed along the way is from our mistakes, and it’s really a tribute to the team and the program that Coach Carroll has put together and there’s so much competitiveness that these guys are on edge, they’re confident, and you have to have a certain mentality to be able to battle. You have to bring it right away. Right when you walk in the door, you have to be able to bring it. That’s where, personally, I know I’ve made mistakes with guys. Pete C: I would add, just watching John orchestrate this, he had a really clear vision of how he wanted it to go, and we really haven’t altered, we’ve just improved. We’re more efficient, I think, over the years. This felt like we stepped right back into the blocks again, and came right out of the chute. It just felt like we were right on the mark, and the communication and all the function, and all the trades, and all the interaction that happens, was really smooth and well done. I would like to think that as we execute better in football now, we’re executing better. The philosophy of it and the scheme of it all has really been very solid from the start.
(On whether the process requires more patience now…) John S: You could see as well where I came from in Green Bay. Some of the classes were kind of for the following year, the more talented you became. That’s just natural. The guys on the team have to fight off young, hungry guys that are ready to come in and compete. Other guys are coming in to compete with grown men. Pete C: I don’t think that caused us to be impatient. It takes care of itself, like putting them in the competitive situations. The competition is more heightened now. It’s harder for guys to make it, but boy it’s the same thing we’ve been doing, and it’s awesome because they can feel the push from the new guys and those new guys get a great shot with us. We throw them in there, and they’ve got to deal with them. It’s kind of how the design is set up.
(On the impact of the draft being 2 weeks later…) John S: We were ready to go. The process was the same. I think it’s very unique that these guys are like, coming in to work now. Pete C: We’re a week shorter with our normal minicamp, so that we’re very much accelerated today and tomorrow with getting these guys here and all of that as we have to wrap up free agency much quicker.
(On being able to pick up extra draft picks…) John S: I actually thought this morning, coming to work, that we were going to just stay there, and then Cincinnati was pretty aggressive. At that point, we felt like we were losing Kevin, but then he stayed. Again, we felt very blessed.
(On the competition at wide receiver…) John S: It’s pretty dang stiff. We didn’t go into this thing saying we have to have a receiver. It wasn’t like our first draft. Our first draft here it was like, we have to have a left tackle, we have to have a free safety. There were so many big needs at that time because we were trying to shift things a little bit.
(On the traits of Norwood that stand out…) John S: He’s 6’2”, he’s 4.47, he’s long, he has big hands, he has a savviness about him as a route runner, he can drop his hips, he knows exactly where the sticks are, he works very well with quarterbacks. Works back to quarterbacks real well. You could see with A.J., he helped A.J. out a lot. A.J. talked about him a lot, that he was his go-to guy. He always knew where he was going to be. He was super steady, and he’s deceptive down the field because, you’ll see. I don’t want to say silky smooth, or anything like that, but he’s got a smoothness about him, but he’s got more power than you think, too. He’s a little bit more of a gainer down the field than you would think. He has very good body control, and he has really quick feet, and he gets his head around real quick, and he has real quick eyes. I can’t believe we were able to draft him, it’s pretty neat.
(On the level of synergy between the coaching and scouting staff, was there a particular pick that illuminated that…) Pete C: Maybe Jimmy Staten was the guy that we really had to work it around and figure out, with our needs that we had, guys available. We took a look and had to talk through that a number of different angles, to come to the agreement that this was the right guy at the right time and John again, he sensed how much time we would have to get him, and it fit just right. It continues to show us, as John’s sense for what’s going to happen in these drafts, allows us to really kind of pinpoint guys that could help us, and we’re able to target really well and it worked out. We’re just thrilled at the way the guys came to us, and that was one of the real cool ones right there. John S: Yeah, especially in the first round, I know exactly how it’s going to go. [laughter] I don’t know how to tell you this; but I have no idea.
(On the drafting of Michael Sam…) John S: They’re in our division, that’s another team that did a great job, got an edge rusher. Shoot, San Fran did a good job. Arizona never took that punter. [laughter] I was texting them the whole time.
(On an update of Kam Chancelor…) Pete C: Kam’s making great progress, they think he’s going to be back in plenty of time to be ready for camp and all that. Really glad we could get a chance to fix him. He’s been dealing with a hip thing for a while. So, he should be in great shape. There have been no problems, everything is well ahead of schedule, and we’re counting on him being with us throughout.
(On playing Cassius on offense in the red zone…) Pete C: Honestly, we’ve already talked about that, that’s a consideration. He’s already shown that he can do that. John S: He’s got great hands. His workout as a tight end was excellent. I’m serious. I know you think I’m messing around, but I’m being serious. [laughter]
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