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Harbaalke: Emphasis on Heady Players

After watching the Harbaugh press conference after the draft, I understood even more why we had the draft we had. Every single player Harbaugh addresses, he puts an emphasis at explaining why the guy was coveted for his smarts, mental toughness, great personality, jovial attitude, or driven character. Even though we've seen our team bring in guys with 'questionable character', it also seems our team has a desire to bring in guys with great attitude, personality, and smarts. This is not your Nolan/Singletary and Mccloughan era of bringing in 'moral' characters (even if they may quit the team), this is different. Harbaugh and Baalke have give questionable (and questionable might be a stretch) characters a chance while still surrounding the team with a young core of talented and heady individuals driven to succeed.

While we break down these draft picks, most of the media's (and our) emphasis go to the players' physical attributes and physical potential. Very little goes towards highlighting smart and enthusiastic players, at least as far as 'draft experts' go. How does that even fit into a highlight. That's not necessarily a knock on sports media, but moreso an example of the depth of investigation a team gets to pursue for every player, of which we don't get a chance to witness, let alone read about.

It sounds like our management has conducted the draft with an added dimension that very few people are privy to. How many of us on here could gauge how humble of a guy Jenkins appears to be? That's a factor draft experts could never compute until retrospect. How willing a guy is to get better is only something you can gauge from a professional position with face to face interactions. I imagine Walsh didn't draft Rice because he just liked his physical skills. Rice probably displayed his insatiable drive to be the greatest ever, which lived within him far before he became a Niner. And Walsh probably saw that.

All I'm saying is that our draft grades could never accurately grade these players as we've never sat down with them like our team has. Seeing the enthusiasm Jenkins had walking through the facility for the first time was incredible. A guy that positive in attitude combined with the talent is an no-brainer.

This team is so close to being a championship team. I think the guys we got help us get there in the way we needed most. Good attitude and good talent. This should mesh well with the state of mind this team has already instilled. Championship!
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Good post and agree. One aspect of the draft that I think is undervalued is the player's passion and love for the game. Too many times we just assume every player going into the NFL loves to play football. It's not always the case... some do it for the money, some got into football because they had the size, some don't want to disappoint family, friends, teammates by saying I just don't want to play anymore, etc. Coach and Trent will get to the bottom of these guys and find out if their heart is really into it. Coach Harbaugh is one of the most passionate guys when it comes to football and he expects his players to be the same way. They might be able to fool some coaches/gm's during the interviews but I don't think you can bluff Coach Harbaugh. One thing when it comes to evaluating players none of us get to go into the interview rooms or talk with old coaches, teammates, people at the universities to see what type of person they are. That's the 1st thing I noticed about AJ was he seems humble and just how hysterically happy to be in this situation. Seems like he will be a great teammate as well... also the enthusiasm. You better be self motivated if you want to play in the NFL and if you want to be a star you better go above and beyond. Also, notice how competitive these guys are just like coach. If it's the super bowl or a game of checkers they refuse to lose.

Edit: and that's where a lot of teams go wrong with players. They don't have the passion after getting the money. They don't have the drive to be the best. Like coach says I don't want a QB who is fine with standing on the sidelines with a backwards baseball cap. Look at Woods... he probably would have rather been fishing than playing football. Kwame as well... you have to really love football and have major drive to work out harder than ever after getting that huge contract.
[ Edited by Gore_21 on May 1, 2012 at 2:51 AM ]
What goes on between the ears is fundamental.
First post from a lurker here, and a UK one at that, thought I would weight in here.

I wondered how long before someone posted something like this, it does seem like the draft is exclusively focused on physical and measurable attributes to the extent of looking at intangible qualities and mental attitude.

I'd much rather have a smart, dedicate player who wants to improve in any game than a physical freak that's willing to coast on what he was born with. You guys probably don't get much Soccer coverage, but the best player in the world at the moment is Lionel Messi - who was so small as a kid that he had to have hormone therapy. He was overlooked by a number of clubs as being skillful but too small for the modern game. Barcelona took a chance on him, paid to get him treatment (he's still only 5'7") and reaped massive rewards becomming the best side in the world with a team revolving around him. He's a smart, humble character who works incredibly hard and loves to play the game.

Those attributes should be factored into selecting a player for any game - look at how Jerry Rice ran the hill, went to special teams meetings and turned up early to training camp with the rookies to show them they meant something to the team. That's the character you want in a player and a team and the kind of person to draft. Skills, technique, physical attributes can all be improved through training and pactice but character is something much harder to instill or obtain, and it relies on the individual wanting to make that change.
[ Edited by Buchy on May 1, 2012 at 4:59 AM ]
Originally posted by Buchy:
First post from a lurker here, and a UK one at that, thought I would weight in here.

I wondered how long before someone posted something like this, it does seem like the draft is exclusively focused on physical and measurable attributes to the extent of looking at intangible qualities and mental attitude.

I'd much rather have a smart, dedicate player who wants to improve in any game than a physical freak that's willing to coast on what he was born with. You guys probably don't get much Soccer coverage, but the best player in the world at the moment is Lionel Messi - who was so small as a kid that he had to have hormone therapy. He was overlooked by a number of clubs as being skillful but too small for the modern game. Barcelona took a chance on him, paid to get him treatment (he's still only 5'7") and reaped massive rewards becomming the best side in the world with a team revolving around him. He's a smart, humble character who works incredibly hard and loves to play the game.

Those attributes should be factored into selecting a player for any game - look at how Jerry Rice ran the hill, went to special teams meetings and turned up early to training camp with the rookies to show them they meant something to the team. That's the character you want in a player and a team and the kind of person to draft. Skills, technique, physical attributes can all be improved through training and pactice but character is something much harder to instill or obtain, and it relies on the individual wanting to make that change.

Welcome bro.
Great post! I find it comical how the fans and media get mesmerized with something as trivial as the Combine. How fast a person runs in shorts, bench presses, broad jumps and scores on the Wonderlic Test should just be a footnote on a players bio. Every year though we see guys like Steven Hill and Dontari Poe go from unknown, to top 50 players in a weekend.

I'm thrilled that our Front Office seems to be going against the grain with surprise picks. This must drive these draft "experts" wild since their Mock Drafts and Draft Grades get abused by the 9ers brain trust. The 9ers do extensive homework on players, knowing who they are inside and out. They make their decisions on the entire picture, not just 40 times and leaping ability. I LOVE that they are not afraid to make bold moves that nobody sees coming. Baalke said this to Peter King, "We're not trying to win in the court of public opinion, or win in the media. We're trying to win games over the long haul and build a team for sustained success.'. Gotta love it!!!


As far as our surpise pick that we reached for in the 1st ( just like Aldon last year )......this is what his former coach Zook said about AJ Jenkins,

================

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/28/SP2I1OALBI.DTL

Murphy: Hey, Ron, we appreciate you coming on to tell us about A.J. Jenkins. First and foremost, how was he as a college player for you?

Zook: Well, he's a great, great person. He's one of those guys that just comes to work. He doesn't talk a lot. He's not one of those guys who has to be the center of attention - he'll just go to work, and he'll be a great player for the San Francisco 49ers.

Murphy: So we can see you doing the college football coverage on CBS Sports, right?

Zook: Yeah, that's right. You know, it's a little new, but it's helped me, because one of the big questions that I've gotten asked is whether I was surprised when A.J. got drafted, and I say, "Not at all." I've really gotten an opportunity here over the last few months to study the draft and know what's out there, and in my mind he was the next receiver to go off. The 49ers obviously did their homework, and they'll be happy with him.

================

Another heady player indeed....
More on Harbaalke's Emphasis on Heady Players .......

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/san-francisco-49ers-jim-harbaugh-coach-notebook-april-014400007--nfl.html

M: What made Looney's interview at the Combine so impressive? Why did he jump out to you?

JH: "Oomph, pizzazz. Really bright guy. Really smart, smart person. Not only book smart, but street smart, football smart. Everything matched up. Everything that you'd heard about Joe and all of our research that we did on Joe at the school. You cannot find a person on that campus who has anything less than glowing things to say about him. Professors, coaches, trainers, equipment managers, from faculty to football to everybody that comes in contact with him there literally not a negative word.

The 49ers apparently were able to make targeted picks early on because they knew they wanted Joe Looney from Wake Forest -- and that they could possibly get him later in the draft. They were able to grab him in the fourth round and use the earlier rounds to get deeper at the wide receiver and running back positions. From this pick and what Harbaugh says, he obviously wants players with character and football talent - not just the latter. Looney is expected to compete for the starting right guard job with Alex Boone and Daniel Kilgore. I would like to think that Harbaugh's prediction of Looney starting for the 49ers would not only come to fruition, but benefit the team greatly.
Originally posted by AmpLee:
After watching the Harbaugh press conference after the draft, I understood even more why we had the draft we had. Every single player Harbaugh addresses, he puts an emphasis at explaining why the guy was coveted for his smarts, mental toughness, great personality, jovial attitude, or driven character. Even though we've seen our team bring in guys with 'questionable character', it also seems our team has a desire to bring in guys with great attitude, personality, and smarts. This is not your Nolan/Singletary and Mccloughan era of bringing in 'moral' characters (even if they may quit the team), this is different. Harbaugh and Baalke have give questionable (and questionable might be a stretch) characters a chance while still surrounding the team with a young core of talented and heady individuals driven to succeed.

While we break down these draft picks, most of the media's (and our) emphasis go to the players' physical attributes and physical potential. Very little goes towards highlighting smart and enthusiastic players, at least as far as 'draft experts' go. How does that even fit into a highlight. That's not necessarily a knock on sports media, but moreso an example of the depth of investigation a team gets to pursue for every player, of which we don't get a chance to witness, let alone read about.

It sounds like our management has conducted the draft with an added dimension that very few people are privy to. How many of us on here could gauge how humble of a guy Jenkins appears to be? That's a factor draft experts could never compute until retrospect. How willing a guy is to get better is only something you can gauge from a professional position with face to face interactions. I imagine Walsh didn't draft Rice because he just liked his physical skills. Rice probably displayed his insatiable drive to be the greatest ever, which lived within him far before he became a Niner. And Walsh probably saw that.

All I'm saying is that our draft grades could never accurately grade these players as we've never sat down with them like our team has. Seeing the enthusiasm Jenkins had walking through the facility for the first time was incredible. A guy that positive in attitude combined with the talent is an no-brainer.

This team is so close to being a championship team. I think the guys we got help us get there in the way we needed most. Good attitude and good talent. This should mesh well with the state of mind this team has already instilled. Championship!

Good post. I've heard Baalke and Harbaugh describe players with their preferred mental make-up as "Gold Helmet" guys.
Appreciate the OP to take the time for a well meaningful post. I think all teams take character or mental makeup of their draft picks seriously. After all they are giving millions to these guys to play football. They would want to know that the guy is stable mentally. And most of all the desire to work and improve on their skills, the willingness to put forth efforts through a season and every year, and the love of the game. Think of the recent situation of Glenn Coffee. Or Rashaun Woods. I think the 'new' attitude may stemmed from Harbaugh and what he expects and try to find in the guys he drafted. Remember the phrase 'I will attack this day with enthusiasm unknown to man kind!' or along those words. You get what you give. Harbaugh is asking his guys for high efforts. He even got Randy Moss, notorious for lack of efforts on some plays, to do and say the same stuff Harbaugh's been saying, in day 1 of his joining the team for workouts. Harbaugh's attitude towards football is contagious. I'll bet the first time a recruit, potential draftee, or FA talked to Harbaugh, they can sensed it. Maniacal football minds doesn't stay hidden for long. And it speaks volumes that you can backup those words and attitudes with becoming COTY. Got the team overtime away from a SB with a shorten offseason in your first year as rookie NFL coach.

I love freak'n Harbaugh
[ Edited by qnnhan7 on May 1, 2012 at 7:20 AM ]
Nice post! I think the Patriots have been drafting this way also, no?
It's so VERY refreshing after all the 49ers have gone through with average or below average FO/HC that we have a tandem who make deep well thought out decisions.

That "Attitude" mentioned in this fine post is the stuff that carries players through adversity to success.

GO NINERS!
Originally posted by AmpLee:
After watching the Harbaugh press conference after the draft, I understood even more why we had the draft we had. Every single player Harbaugh addresses, he puts an emphasis at explaining why the guy was coveted for his smarts, mental toughness, great personality, jovial attitude, or driven character. Even though we've seen our team bring in guys with 'questionable character', it also seems our team has a desire to bring in guys with great attitude, personality, and smarts. This is not your Nolan/Singletary and Mccloughan era of bringing in 'moral' characters (even if they may quit the team), this is different. Harbaugh and Baalke have give questionable (and questionable might be a stretch) characters a chance while still surrounding the team with a young core of talented and heady individuals driven to succeed.

While we break down these draft picks, most of the media's (and our) emphasis go to the players' physical attributes and physical potential. Very little goes towards highlighting smart and enthusiastic players, at least as far as 'draft experts' go. How does that even fit into a highlight. That's not necessarily a knock on sports media, but moreso an example of the depth of investigation a team gets to pursue for every player, of which we don't get a chance to witness, let alone read about.

It sounds like our management has conducted the draft with an added dimension that very few people are privy to. How many of us on here could gauge how humble of a guy Jenkins appears to be? That's a factor draft experts could never compute until retrospect. How willing a guy is to get better is only something you can gauge from a professional position with face to face interactions. I imagine Walsh didn't draft Rice because he just liked his physical skills. Rice probably displayed his insatiable drive to be the greatest ever, which lived within him far before he became a Niner. And Walsh probably saw that.

All I'm saying is that our draft grades could never accurately grade these players as we've never sat down with them like our team has. Seeing the enthusiasm Jenkins had walking through the facility for the first time was incredible. A guy that positive in attitude combined with the talent is an no-brainer.

This team is so close to being a championship team. I think the guys we got help us get there in the way we needed most. Good attitude and good talent. This should mesh well with the state of mind this team has already instilled. Championship!

Great post
A+ Post and thread!!!!....Thank you!
I don't give a rat's pa-toot, until i see what he can do on the field
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