49ers GM lets draft strategy slip

6:01 AM, Apr 23, 2012   |    comments
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The typically tight-lipped Trent Baalke dropped some news during his annual draft assessment with the media. The 49ers general manager and NFL executive of the year said the team is hoping one specific player will drop to them at the 30th slot in the upcoming NFL draft.

"You've got to be prepared to make the pick at 30, which we're prepared to do," Baalke said. "We'll see how the board falls. We certainly have more than one person, but there is (a player) in particular we feel will be there. And if he is, we'll be prepared to make the pick."

For Baalke the admission was revealing, particularly with the possible top-round prospects that have been interviewed or visited the team. Those include three possible first round receivers: LSU's Rueben Randle, Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill and Baylor's Kendall Wright. The team has also shown interest in Stanford tight end Coby Fleener, who Jim Harbaugh coached before coming to the 49ers last year.

Another possibility? Virginia Tech running back David Wilson, another player who visited the team and a prospect projected to go within the first 50 selections.

Baalke could also move up in the draft, something he has done three times in the last two drafts to nab his choice. In 2010, the 49ers moved up to draft Rutgers tackle Anthony Davis with the 11th overall pick. Last year, the team maneuvered toward the top of the second round to get Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick and they did the same thing in the fifth round to select Appalachian State guard Daniel Kilgore.

This is the first time Baalke won't have a pick in the first half of the draft, including last year when the team owned the seventh overall choice. Baalke contends that it makes it tougher to predict who will be there at 30 because there are so many unknowns.

However, the 49ers have the luxury of not having to draft a starter this year. Their roster, even at wide receiver, is stacked. The only hole is at right guard, where Kilgore will compete with in-house competition including Alex Boone and another pick from last year, Montana State's Mike Person.

There's even speculation that Davis could kick inside from right tackle to right guard, but Baalke evaded that question, which is what Baalke usually does.

USA Today

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