10 questions with Joe Staley

Central Michigan offensive tackle Joe Staley gives his initial impressions of being selected by the 49ers with the No. 28 overall pick in the NFL draft.

Q: Did you expect to get drafted by the 49ers?
No, not really. After the Senior Bowl, (Offensive Line) Coach (George) Warhop came up to me and said I did a really great job at the Senior Bowl and that the team loved me and they would love to get me in. That was about it. I didn't really know they were interested, so it was a total surprise too.

Q: Where did you think you might go today?
Basically all I've been hearing is the lower half of the first round. I had a couple of teams that were really interested, especially the (New York) Giants and (Kansas City) Chiefs. When it passed them, I was thinking probably the (Baltimore) Ravens, but I'm glad the 49ers traded up and picked me.

Q: What do you know about the 49ers in general?
I got a little taste of their offense when I was down in the Senior Bowl. I felt comfortable with it and it had a lot of the similarities that we had in college. I'm just excited to get started.

Q: How closely did you work with Coach Warhop at the Senior Bowl?
It was like everyday. I stayed after a couple of days to pick his brain because I didn't know who I was going to be picked by. We kind of built a little relationship and I'm looking forward to working with him again.

Q: What turned you into a first-round pick?
I put in a lot of work. I came to college as a 230-pound tight end and I busted my butt to get to the position I'm at. I think it's also my athletic background. People got to see me workout and maybe got a look back at the tape and I had a real good week at the Senior Bowl and I was able to hang and I felt that it solidified my spot in the first round.

Q:Why did you convert from tight end to tackle in college?
Basically, I had no choice. The new coaching staff came in and I was recruited by the original coaching staff to play tight end and I played it my true freshman year. The new coaching staff came in and they ran a spread offense so they needed an athletic guy to play the offensive line for them. I was kind of a lankier kid and they looked at me and said with hard work I could make it happen so everything worked out for the best.

Q: How did you gain all the weight?
I'm currently about 305 pounds and I've been gaining weight. Half of it is natural and the other half is stuffing myself and working out real hard. I worked really closely with our strength coach and he kind of made a particular program just for me and I followed it and everything turned out OK. I feel to counteract the bulrush people are going to be throwing at me (in the NFL); I want to put on about 10-15 pounds. But I don't want to sacrifice my agility or athleticism because that's what kind of carried me to this point now.

Q: Where do you expect to fit in as a rookie?
I just want to come in and make an impact as a rookie. I want to prove that I was worth that first-round pick. First thing Coach Warhop told me was that he hoped I'd been working on that right hand stance so maybe he has some goals for me to play the right side this year.

Q: How do you respond to critics who say you didn't play against top-flight competition in college?
Staley: That's natural because I come from a smaller school. You don't face the Big Ten or ACC teams day in and day out. But we did get to play against Boston College and Michigan this year. I played against (Kansas City Chiefs DL) Tamba Hali last year. At the Senior Bowl I was able to show what I could do against the top talent in the country, so I more than held my own and I was able to stand out.

Q: What was your interaction like with the 49ers coaching staff at the Senior Bowl?
I thought it was really good. Everybody was really down to earth. I really like Coach Warhop's coaching style and it was really familiar to the way I was coached at Central (Michigan). He's an intense guy and gets down to business and really expects a lot. I respond well to that and I'm looking forward to working with him. I was with him all the time. All the meetings were with him. Before and after practice. Like I said, I met up a couple of times after practice on my own to pick his brain a little bit and I got a lot of feedback from him. I look to improve when I get into camp.

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