Trying to read between McCloughan’s lines

GM Scot McCloughan pulled up a chair and sat in front of a dozen newspaper (and online) scribes in the media trailer today. He bobbed and weaved through a flurry of questions.

He did not say much today that had any influence on how I view this draft for the 49ers. If he had said something provocative, I might have thought he was trying to pull one over on us.

 

–I still do not think the 49ers are going to take an outside linebacker with the No. 10 overall pick, unless it’s Aaron Curry. Of course, I don’t see Curry falling that far. But if he does take a tumble, he would have to be the best-available player, wouldn’t he?

 

–Brian Orakpo? I’m not sure he can be an every-down player at outside linebacker. He would have to be a pass-rush specialist on third downs. Is he good enough at that one skill to warrant a $14 million signing bonus? If the 49ers determine the answer is yes – and he’s still around – he’ll be the pick.

 

–My opinion about Aaron Maybin and Everette Brown has not changed. I still do not believe the 49ers would give either of them serious consideration at No. 10. In fact, McCloughan did give a hint about Brown when he said he would want that player to be at least 6-2 and 240 to 260 pounds. Brown checks under 6-foot-2.

 

–Because this draft is so deep at OLB, the 49ers can select a player in the second, third or fourth round, without much – if any – dropoff.

 

–Assuming Michael Oher is the No. 4 offensive tackle and assuming the top three tackles have already been chosen . . . would the 49ers take Oher at No. 10? Again, he would have to be the best player on the board.

 

–I might have become the first person to mention the 49ers and Tyson Jackson in the same breath on KNBR earlier today, though he did come out for a visit a couple weeks ago. He is a prototypical 3-4 defensive end who can move to defensive tackle to rush the passer on third downs. It’s not necessarily a position of need, but if he goes unclaimed after the first nine picks, he would have to be in the conversation as the “best available player.”

 

–And one of the reasons I mention Jackson is because McCloughan answered a question about Ray McDonald that coach Mike Singletary declined to answer last month during the minicamp. McDonald underwent reconstructive ACL surgery on his right knee this offseason.

 

–Inside linebacker Rey Maualuga is another player who could be considered. And, again, it’s not a great position of need for the 49ers, but it’s conceivable the team might have him rated high on their board. The only reason I didn’t mention him on the radio is because I was afraid I’d butcher his name.

 

–On the flip side, the 49ers have already invested a pretty good chunk of change on the defensive line with the Justin Smith and Isaac Sopoaga contracts. Relatively speaking, the 49ers did not spend much for first-round pick Kentwan Balmer. He is scheduled to make just $1.5 million annually over the course of his deal.

 

–If Matthew Stafford does go No. 1 to the Lions, as expected, there is no way that Mark Sanchez will be there when the 49ers pick. There will be some team that trades up to get him. So I don’t believe that variable will come into play.

 

–McCloughan said he wants a playmaker at wide receiver. He said he wouldn’t mind selecting two or even three wideouts. OK, perhaps he was exaggerating. I don’t think there’s any question the 49ers would take Michael Crabtree. But would they take Jeremy Maclin? I think so. He would certainly satisfy the team’s desire to add some speed to the mix. The Niners already have Isaac  Bruce, Brandon Jones, Josh Morgan, Jason Hill, Arnaz Battle, Dominique Zeigler . . . so what would happen? McCloughan said it would take care of itself with a spirited training camp competition.

 

–For the first time I can remember, the 49ers did not make their head coach available for any pre-draft media session. Mike Singletary, leading up to the first draft as head coach, was nowhere to be seen today. It’s pretty clear that this draft is McCloughan’s baby.

 

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