Niners GM discusses issues for upcoming draft

GM Scot McCloughan might be the next person in the 49ers’ organization to feel the heat if the franchise’s string of seasons without a playoff appearance continues. But he said he is NOT approaching this draft like the 49ers just need a sudden bump to be a Super Bowl-contending team.

McCloughan said his duty is to take the best player and map out the future of the organization, he said. Of course, the plan is to take the best player available, he said. And the best-case scenario is if the 49ers select a player who happens to be at a position of need and is able to make an immediate impact.


“It would be great if we could (get an immediate starter), but I don’t live year to year,” McCloughan said. “It’s important to win right now. We all understand that and we’re planning to win right now, but also I have to look 2, 4, 6 years out.”


Here are some of the other topics McCloughan addressed today in his meeting with Bay Area reporters, including yours truly and Lowell Cohn from The Press Democrat. We were one of only two news organizations with multiple reporters/columnists on hand:


–“Teams are trying to get out of the top six or seven spots,” McCloughan said. He said that he has received calls from seven of the nine teams in front of the 49ers to gauge their interest in a trade. “We will not move forward,” McCloughan promised.


–However, the 49ers might be interested in trading back. He said he probably would not make that decision until he knows exactly what will be available with the No. 10 overall pick.


–Things he stresses in putting together the draft board are work ethic, passion for the game, understanding of the team concept and that “it” factor.


–He said he does not want the team to force any rookie into the starting lineup. Any player has to go out and win the playing time. He said Patrick Willis was unique because, even though he entered camp as a backup, he won the starting job as a rookie.


–McCloughan said he is not thinking abut a possible work stoppage in 2011, which might have a disastrous affect on a QB selected in this draft. After all, 2011 is about the first season you’d expect a QB to start to show what he can do.


–The 49ers have had no trade discussion with the Browns about Brady Quinn – none zero, nada – McCloughan said.


–He said he will do what’s best for the organization, and if that means selecting a QB at No. 10, that’s what he’ll do. He said he’s not going to get scared and shy away from a QB in the first round.


–McCloughan wants to add a QB at some point in the draft, he said. He said the team needs to keep adding at that position. Maybe a mid-round QB can develop and help the 49ers or maybe he could become a player that the 49ers can trade down the road.


–McCloughan said the reports of animosity between the 49ers and Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford were completely overblown. Stafford came in and the sides had a nice visit last week, he said.


–Defensive end Ray McDonald is ahead of schedule after undergoing ACL reconstruction on his right knee this offseason. McCloughan said he expects McDonald will be ready for the start of the regular season, and perhaps even the start of training camp. This is the same knee that required surgery when McDonald was in college, McCloughan said.


–The 49ers have 18 players rated on their board as first-round values.


–Do you want to know the 49ers’ draft board from last year? McCloughan confirmed that the first 18 players of last year’s draft were taken in the EXACT order that the 49ers had them ranked.


–On the subject of outside linebacker/defensive ends, he said he wants a first-round draft pick to be an every-down player. The exception, of course, would be if the player was an outstanding pass rusher who could change a game. He wants those OLBs to be in the 240-260 range and at least 6-foot-2.


–In the past, McCloughan said he’s had a good feeling about which players would be available when the 49ers pick. This year, it’s a lot different. He said the run on quarterbacks and tackles, and which teams trade up and back, will determine which players are available when it’s the 49ers’ turn to pick.


–Coach Mike Singletary’s involvement in the draft is about the same as it was with other coaches with whom McCloughan has worked, such as Mike Holmgren and Mike Nolan. Singletary comes in on occassion when the scouts are in town to watch film of the prospects. He said character is important to Singletary.


–Speaking of character, McCloughan said this is about the best draft class he remembers, one to 200, in that regard. The 49ers have not removed any draftable player from their board, he said. Character is factored into the equation. He mentioned that Tarell Brown was a third-round prospect that the 49ers selected in the fifth round. He was bumped down the draft board because of a couple run-ins with the law in his final year at Texas.


–McCloughan said he WOULD NOT BE AVERSE TO picking two (or even three!) receivers in this draft. He said the team needs playmaking ability and speed from the wideout position. As for how the depth chart could shake out, McCloughan said that’s will be sorted out during competition in training camp.


–The 49ers view defensive back Malcolm Jenkings as a cornerback who can play safety. (Sort of like Reggie Smith.) McCloughan said the 49ers would like to add a big body at safety with some speed.


–No team has called to ask about a trade for Mark Roman, who is on the trade block. If the 49ers are unable to deal Roman, he will remain with the team and compete for a job in training camp, McCloughan said.


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