Film study: Trent's top takes

Niners general manager Trent Baalke had a lot to say during a film session this week about the 10 rookies drafted by the team last month, and here's the most intriguing takes regarding each as their exploits filled the screen:

On the long arms of first-round pick Aldon Smith, which gives him an advantage in pass coverage and in making shoestring tackles: "When you're 6-(foot)-4 with 36-inch arms, if you're functional on your feet and can drop into coverage, you can cover a wide area because of just length, the size of the man. If you're a 32-(inch)-arm-length guy, you don't make that tackle. If you're a 36, you make it."

On the quick adjustment in footwork and hand placement of second-round pick Colin Kaepernick when the 49ers worked out the quarterback earlier this year in Reno: "A lot of guys aren't able to do it. They stumble through it, they don't pick it up. He was able to do it and do it very quickly. Now, as the workout continued on, he regressed to where he was. That's just motor-skill development, but it was the ability to listen, to comprehend what we asked of him and then to go out and do it, which I thought was very impressive."

On third-round pick Chris Culliver's prowess in run support: "One of the things you look for is the ability to transition, the guys who can put their foot down in the dirt and close with quickness. This is where being a safety can help. He's not afraid of contact."

On fourth-round pick Kendall Hunter's ability and versatility: "We're not looking at him as a change-of-pace back. We think he's a four-down back. He can run the power game, he can get to the edge, he can catch a ball out of the backfield, he can pass protect and he can return punts and kickoffs."

On the plan to move fifth-round pick Daniel Kilgore from tackle to the inside line positions: "He's a left tackle that will move inside. When you do that, you like to get him on the board first and see if they can handle the mental part. The biggest difference is the quickness with which things happen. Adjustments on the inside have to be made quicker. What do guards have to do? They have to be able to operate in space, even if it's against a defensive back or a linebacker, they have to get the job done. One thing we like about him is the balance and strength that he has in his body. He has good feet."

On the makeup of sixth-round pick Ronald Johnson: "He's another guy where we like his wiring. Everybody at USC talked about his passion for the game. We feel like we got good value at this pick. He's a guy we feel can play the slot and play the ‘Z' (flanker) position for us and also has return value. At this point in the draft, he was too good a value to turn down."

On the special teams ability of sixth-round pick Colin Jones: "You can see on film that he loves special teams. He's the first guy down and loves contact. We're going to throw him into the mix at strong safety, but his path to this team is on special teams."

On seventh-round pick Bruce Miller, who the 49ers will convert from defensive end to fullback: "This guy is football savvy and football smart. We know what we're getting with this guy. This guy gets a lot of production with his effort. He's going to be a hard guy to cut from the 53-man roster because he's going to be at practice early and he's going to outwork most of the players on the practice field. Those guys are hard to cut."

On seventh-round pick Michael Person's ability to protect the quarterback: "You're looking at his footwork, his willingness to finish blocks. You see him have nice balance, nice feet. You're looking for a guy that does not lose very often at this level. You want somebody who dominates and makes it look easy."

On seventh-round pick Curtis Holcomb's leadership ability: "He's a four-time captain. You talk about wired right? I don't think anybody in our building had ever heard of that. This guy is a lot like Philip Adams, who we feel very good about. You make the pick and let him come in and compete."


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