49er Draft Update
by Glenn Dickey
Apr 18, 2005

The 49ers may not announce what they’re going to do with their No. 1 draft pick until they’re “on the clock” on Saturday, coach Mike Nolan said at a media lunch today.

“As soon as we say what we’re doing with that pick, it loses (trade) value,” said Nolan.

That doesn’t mean the 49ers will trade the pick. “We’ve had talks with several clubs, though probably not with anybody below the No. 10 spot,” Nolan said. “Nobody has made us an offer. I think everybody is waiting to see how it plays out.”

Meanwhile, the 49ers have narrowed their choices, assuming they keep the pick, to three players, quarterbacks Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Braylon Edwards

“We’re negotiating with all three,” he said, “but money will not be an issue in our decision. We want to get as close as we can to an agreement with all three because we don’t want something like what happened in New York last year. The Giants didn’t negotiate with Eli Manning until they made the trade (with San Diego, after the Chargers had actually selected Manning No. 1), and then, they had to pay a humongous bonus.”

Though reporters tried to pin Nolan down on his choice, the nearest he came to revealing anything was when he was asked which holes he thought he had to fill first. “You’re really asking about what position is the most important,” he said, “and quarterback is the most important position.”

Which seems to indicate that the Niners will choose a quarterback My belief is that personnel chief Scot McCloughan prefers Smith but Nolan prefers Rodgers – and Nolan said again today what he’d said at the media conference after he was hired: He will make the decision.

The 49ers will have 11 picks, but eight of them come on the second day, after the first three rounds. (They could add another pick if they don’t match Detroit’s offer for offensive lineman Kyle Kosier).

Before the media conference, when Nolan and I were talking while eating lunch, he said the 49ers were also spending a lot of time evaluating players who might be available in the later rounds.

“That’s harder, because there are always a lot of players who fall past the third round that you think would be gone, so you have to re-do your board (where players are rated) for the second day. Sometimes, you look at a player you thought would go in the third round and he’s still there in the sixth and you say, ‘What do other teams know that we don’t know?’ But it’s usually nothing. All the players on the board are good players, but there might be red flags for (personality) problems or injuries. You just have to decide whether that’s important enough to pass on a player.”

In the first three rounds, the 49ers will concentrate on the most important needs: quarterback, cornerback, running back, wide receiver. After that, they’ll just try to grab good players. “We have so many holes,” Nolan said to me. “I’d love to be in the position where I could say, ‘We don’t need anybody at that position,’ but we’re a long way from that.”

As he noted later at the media conference, that comes with the territory when a team is coming off a 2-14 season. “But if the team hadn’t gone 2-14, I wouldn’t be here,” he said, “so I’m glad they did.”

NOTE TO READERS: I had a long, candid conversation with Warriors coach Mike Montgomery yesterday about the past, present and future of his team. I’ll be posting a column on that tomorrow morning.

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