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Robinson Provides Wisdom for Rookie Class

Posted by Taylor Price on April 30, 2010 – 3:27 PM

Running back, jack-of-all-trades, special teams ace and now blogger, Michael Robinson is back at team headquarters after missing out on the team’s first two days of organized team activities last month.

But the absence was for good reason.

Robinson had been preoccupied with the creation of his foundation, “Excel 2 Excellence” along with his first football camp in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Now that Robinson has the camp situated, he got back to work with his 49ers teammates for a morning organized team activity (OTA) on Friday before the start of a three-day rookie minicamp.

Being away from teammates was tough on the fifth-year back.

“I just wanted to see the squad,” Robinson said. “I had some free time this weekend and I had to make sure my guy (Navorro) Bowman got in alright. But a lot of it was me missing the guys and wanting to be around my teammates.”

The former Penn State quarterback has plenty of wisdom to impart on his new teammates, including Bowman, a fellow Nittany Lion like himself. Just being back at the facility reminded Robinson of the experiences he felt at his first minicamp with the 49ers in 2006.

“I remember life being a whole lot different back then from when I was playing quarterback in college,” Robinson recalled. “I was with the runners, individual drills were a lot different and my mind was spinning and I had never experienced offense as a running back every day. They might as well spoke a different language because I didn’t know what was going on.”

As Robinson can attest, the adjustment took time. But once he figured it out, Robinson took off with it, becoming one of the team’s most versatile players.

With a new set of rookies watching the veterans OTA session, Robinson can relate to what they must have been thinking. But as Robinson can attest, players with the right mentality will eventually make it in the long run.

“I know guys are seeing how fast we practice, but they have to understand the learning will come. They’ll get it. They just have to be patient and let it all come. They need to know that they’re in the league now and this is their profession. This is not an extracurricular activity. You can get fired and won’t have a job with the team anymore. You have to approach it that way, and if they do that, I think they’ll be fine.”

Robinson recently authored a blog on his own website, discussing what rookies should look out for in further detail.

We know Robinson already is impressed with Bowman’s abilities, but he’s also been taken back by the rest of the 2010 draft class.

“I see attitude. They all have a little attitude about them. That’s all embodied in Coach Singletary,” Robinson said. “The ones who will be here in the end are the guys who play with an attitude and a little bit of a chip on their shoulder.”

Coach Singletary also talked about his first rookie minicamp and much more after the morning session, watch the video HERE.

The rookie minicamp is set to begin, we’ll have more on the first day in the careers of Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati, Taylor Mays and many more.  Check back 49ers.com for more on the rookie minicamp. But in the mean time, check out the sights and sounds of the veteran OTA session.

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Baalke Breaks Down 2010 Draft Class

Posted by Taylor Price on April 29, 2010 – 6:48 PM

49ers Director of Player Personnel Trent Baalke watches a training camp practice in 2009.

It’s not often you get to hear a high-ranking NFL front office member break down the game tape of his team’s draft picks, but that’s exactly what happened on Thursday at 49ers headquarters.

Trent Baalke, the 49ers Director of Player Personnel, welcomed in local reporters for an informative film study session on the team’s eight draft picks inside the team’s meeting room. Baalke rolled tape of 7-10 plays on every draft pick and explained some of the encouraging positives and fixable negatives of each player. He also answered questions from reporters along the way.

Since we were inside a meeting room with chairs similar to what you’d fine in a college lecture hall, I’ll keep this blog entry just like my notes from my college days. Here’s some of the important details I scribbled on my notepad on each player from today’s film session with Baalke.

First-round pick (No. 11 overall) tackle Anthony Davis

“One of the things that intrigued us about Anthony was his quickness off the ball,” Baalke said in his opening comments.

(Quickness, in particular foot quickness, was a common topic among all members of the 49ers 2010 draft class by the way…)

“Davis has great foot quickness. He’s a big man with strength – that’s what we’re looking for,” Baalke said of the 6-foot-5, 323-pound tackle. “He can move people off the block… you don’t see that from a lot of people.”

Baalke was impressed with Davis’ foot speed on a run play saying, “Lesser athletes, they’re leaning. You can see here he’s square, has good balance and out the point of contact, he’s ready to take it on.”

Baalke noted that Davis is going to have to play lower and use more leverage in the NFL, but noted that it’s correctable with Davis. “You can see he has it in him.”

Asked about the concerns of Davis’ inconsistent play at Rutgers, Baalke responded: “There’s no film on him that’s bad. There are plays he can do better. But there’s no film that says this guy can’t play football.”

On the last play of Davis’ highlights, Baalke hit on the foot quickness one more time. “Watch the foot energy. It’s nice to see that from a big guy.”

First-round pick (No. 17 overall) guard Mike Iupati

Like Davis, Baalke raved about Iupati’s foot speed.

“Watch the quickness in his feet and the quickness in how he gets off the block,” Baalke noted of the 6-foot-5, 331-pound mauler. “He plays with violence, he can move people and he’s also very athletic for a big guy.”

After seeing Iupati throw an opposing defensive lineman down with just one arm, Baalke pointed out, “That’s still a 270-pound man he’s throwing down with one hand.”

Baalke pointed out that although Iupati played at lesser competition at the University of Idaho, he still dominated in the games he played. That’s very important to the 49ers according to Baalke.

“You don’t see 330-pound guys come off the ball like this often. Not in college and not in the National Football League” said Baalke of a play in which Iupati made a combo block on two opposing players.

Second-round pick (No. 49 overall) safety Taylor Mays

While it might have been slightly more difficult to find “highlight-worthy” plays from non-glamorous offensive line positions, the 49ers second-round pick provided Baalke with plenty of material.

“This guy’s not hard to put a highlight tape together on,” Baalke joked before cuing Mays’ goal line interception at Cal. “Pretty much every game you find plays like this.”

Baalke said he wasn’t concerned with Mays’ lack of interceptions at USC. “He has no problem catching the football.” The 6-foot-3, 230-pound safety proved his ball skills for the 49ers coaching staff in a pre-draft workout.

In San Francisco, Baalke envisions Mays before more aggressive towards the football and less towards the man he’s guarding. “Taylor has a tendency to play the man – that’s a coachable trait.”

Baalke did point out that Mays needs to be a better “wrap tackler” and not depend on tackling with just his shoulder. “In the NFL, if you’re not wrapping, they’re still running,” Baalke said.

Baalke also said Mays’ 4.3, 40-yard dash speed will make the rookie an asset in covering tight ends.

Third-round pick (No. 91 overall) linebacker Navorro Bowman

The important thing to note with Bowman is the position he’ll play, which according to Baalke will initially be as a backup at both inside linebacker positions in the 49ers 3-4 defensive scheme. Bowman has a lot of qualities that excite the 49ers personnel and coaching staffs.

“We like his instincts. We like his feet. We like his speed, Baalke said. “He flies around and makes plays. Plays physical and plays with passion.”

Baalke also noted that Bowman’s “not afraid” on a football field and has a knack for defeating blockers and finding the ball.

Baalke repeatedly rewound a play in which Bowman was able to demonstrate excellent balance in the open field. With great balance, Bowman was able to not fall for a fake from an opposing quarterback. Instead, he readjusted his balance and made the tackle. “(Balance) is a trait that the good ones have,” Baalke said.

Sixth-round pick (No. 173 overall) running back Anthony Dixon

Baalke noted that Dixon’s burst through the line of scrimmage is what sets the former Mississippi State Bulldog apart from other big-body backs in this year’s draft.

He also raved about Dixon’s hands, saying, “Big backs who can catch the ball create problems.”

On one particular play, Dixon showcased his burst by outrunning the opposing defense to the outside, even with Dixon weighing in at close to 240 pounds at the time. That sight alone certainly impressed Baalke as evident by his comments when watching the play. “That’s a 240-pound back pulling away from a defense in the SEC.”

Baalke said he was not concerned with the amount of Dixon’s workload in college. Dixon’s production and durability proved to Baalke he’s a promising talent. “He never stops his feet and he’s always moving forward.”

Sixth-round pick (No. 182 overall) tight end Nate Byham

Baalke opened up his comments on the Pittsburgh tight end by explaining the evaluation process on blocking tight ends in the league. “It’s very difficult to project these guys in the NFL. They’re not asked to block as much, so it’s hard to find these guys.”

With Byham, Baalke is confident they have the right type of player to compete for the role they’re looking to fill.

“This guys likes to block. He has the mentality to do it,” Baalke said.

Baalke also noted that Byham will have a role on special teams, primarily on the kickoff return team as one of the wedge blockers.

Sixth-round pick (No. 206 overall) wide receiver Kyle Williams

Having a receiver like Williams with sub 4.4 speed and a shorter frame is a huge plus according to Baalke. “He’s a different kind of receiver than what we currently have.”

But Baalke noted his newest wideout does share a common quality with the 49ers wideouts on the roster.

“He’s very competitive.”

As the son of Chicago White Sox General Manager Ken Williams, Kyle was raised around a professional environment for most of his life. Baalke made that point in explaining Williams’ ability to make big plays in big games.

He also went into detail about Williams’ overall quickness.

“He has the quickness you’re looking for in an undersized player,” Baalke said of the 5-foot-10, 188-pound wideout. “Slot receivers have to have quick hands and this guy can snatch it.”

Baalke was also impressed with Williams’ return ability while playing at Arizona State and noted that Williams will be in the competition at both punt and kick return spots.

Seventh-round pick (No. 224 overall) cornerback Phillip Adams

As a prospect coming out of South Carolina State, it was obvious to all of us in the room that the film quality on Phillip Adams wasn’t the same as the earlier prospects. The video quality really shows the amount of work put in by NFL scouts.

On Adams’ highlights, Baalke was certainly pleased with the 5-foot-10, 190-pound defensive back’s overall game. “He’s a physical football player. He’s not afraid to mix it up.”

Baalke said he liked Adams’ awareness as demonstrated on a highlight in which Adams keyed in on the quarterback’s eyes and intercepted an errant pass instead of sticking with the man he was responsible for covering.

For more highlights on the 49ers first three selections in 2010, check out this TV49 highlight video by clicking HERE.

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Morgan and Zeigler Provide Double Coverage

Posted by Taylor Price on April 28, 2010 – 4:27 PM

The life of an intern… Most of us remember having such a gig. Make copies, fax documents, answer phones and occasionally get an interesting assignment. Can’t you remember it like it was yesterday?

Well… Josh Morgan and Dominique Zeigler certainly can. That’s because it was yesterday for them. Literally.

But the pair of blossoming 49ers wide receivers haven’t signed up for your typical apprenticeship.  They finished up another day of their offseason internships at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area on Tuesday night, helping out in the production of Chronicle Live. They also appeared as guests on the show. Host Greg Papa even let Morgan do the interviewing.

The internship idea first came up when Morgan approached 49ers Director of Player Development Ty Knott about getting involved in broadcasting. From there, Knott found an opportunity that worked best with Morgan’s busy offseason schedule.

Once a “special” unpaid internship opportunity arose, Morgan jumped at the chance to learn more about sports broadcasting. And after hearing from his teammate on the quality of his experience, Zeigler asked to be an intern at Comcast as well.

Now, both wideouts are assisting Comcast SportsNet at various sporting events in the Bay Area and have photo credentials with their names written on them to prove it. They visit Comcast headquarters once a week to take part in the special internship.

“It’s been great so far,” Morgan said. “We did the pregame show for the (Oakland) A’s – I was one of the stage managers. I had the headset on, counting the hosts down, five, four, three… all that.”

In addition to getting up close experience in the production of various sports telecasts, the players are getting a better understanding of the business and ultimately if it’s something they’d like to pursue after their football careers.

“I like sports a lot, so getting to find out how they make highlights was great for me,” Zeigler said. “It was pretty neat getting to be back there with the production people. I didn’t know it really took that much just to make a 30-minute show. There’s a lot of yelling if things don’t go right, because if one person is telling someone to “cue B” and he cues “A,” then maybe it messes up the next six clips.”

Just like how football players depend on the other 10 players on the field to execute the coach’s play call?

“Exactly. It might look like they’re just doing TV, but there’s a lot of work that they put into it,” Zeigler said.

The players won’t have too much availability as the offseason rolls along. The duo only have four weeks left in their broadcasting crash course, but will value each new experience as they come.

“Next week we’re going to work on the camera stuff and it’s just a good experience,” Zeigler added. “If you have all day to lift weights, might as well to do something at the end of the day.”

Zeigler’s passion for all sports has rubbed off on Morgan throughout the process. Morgan, a self-described football and basketball lover has opened up room in his heart for other sports because of his internship.

“I don’t know a whole lot, but I’m learning about hockey and baseball. I’ve always been into basketball and football and that type of stuff,” Morgan said. “Zeigler is teaching me a lot about baseball. I’m learning on the run.”

Being on the run shouldn’t be too difficult for Morgan. After all, it’s a big part of his current job.

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2010 Live Draft Blog

Posted by Taylor Price on April 22, 2010 – 3:41 PM

The 2010 Draft is almost here, just about an hour away to be exact. Our 49ers Draft Party is about to kick-off too. Our emcees for the evening, Gary Plummer and Ted Robinson are on stage testing the microphones, which means we’re about to open the doors. Fans will soon start filing in the Santa Clara Convention Center and we’re about to catch up with some of them.

The Convention Center is filled with activities for 49ers Faithful. Fans can get autographs from players and alumni like Dwight Clark, Brent Jones and J.J. Stokes. The Gold Rush just performed for the first time in 2010 and the draft itself is just about to begin.

Stay tuned to our blog for live draft updates…

And just like that the draft begins with Sam Bradford sporting a St. Louis Rams cap. He’ll be their quarterback of the future, perhaps Keenan Burton will have to give up his No. 14 jersey.

“It’s a dream come true,” Bradford said. (I wonder how many times we’ll hear these words tonight.

That didn’t take long. Ndamukong Suh, the defensive tackle from Nebraska is headed to Detroit as the Lions No. 2 overall selection in this year’s draft. That’s now two picks, and two players from the Big-12 off the board.

Three for three for the Big-12, as Gerald McCoy is Tampa Bay’s selection at No. 3. McCoy is consumed with emotion as he hugs family members in the draft green room. Moments like these are special in showing how important draft day really is.

Washington is on the clock and NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora is reporting that Oklahoma tackle Trent Williams is the pick. Coincidence, he’s now on the phone in the green room. Could he be the fourth Sooner taken in the top-4 and the fourth consecutive Big-12 player selected?

La Canfora’s sources were right, Williams is the pick.

Team logistics coordinator Steve Risser is representing the 49ers in New York by phoning in the draft picks. He’s already sent in a couple behind the scenes photos from his cell phone and just sent in this shot of 49ers fans at tonight’s draft.

Wide receiver Dominique Zeiger (a former Baylor Bear) weighed in on the Big-12’s dominance so far via Twitter.

“the big 12 has crushed  the draft so far,” Zeigler tweeted.

The Chiefs have broken the string of Big-12 players, by selecting Tennessee safety Eric Berry. Russell Okung, who many ranked as the top tackle in this year’s draft is still available. NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks are now on the clock.

I’m backstage writing this blog from the 49ers draft party, and just saw safety Dashon Goldson arrive to sign autographs for fans. I had to ask him who he wants as his next teammate.

“Anybody,” Goldson replied.

NFL Network just flashed a shot of the Seahawks war room, which instantly received a chorus of “Booos” inside the party.

Okung is now on the phone, looks to be Seattle’s pick. Indeed he is, and now the Cleveland Browns are on the clock.

“Words can’t express my emotions right now,” Okung told Deion Sanders of NFL Network.

Commissioner Goodell announces Joe Haden as the Browns selection at No. 7, the crowd here in Santa Clara erupts with displeasure. A good amount of them must have favored Haden as the 49ers pick at No. 13.

The Oakland Raiders are now on the clock.

The Silver and Black have selected Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain, easily the biggest surprise of the draft so far. Buffalo is now on the clock.

They must know what they want, without wasting time they select C.J. Spiller, running back out of Clemson.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are now up. Nine picks have gone within an hour, these teams are wasting no time in selecting their chosen players.


Jacksonville picks Tyson Alualu, a defensive lineman from Cal. The room gave a nice applause to the local product. If McClain was a surprise, this is a total shocker. Only Denver and Miami will select before the 49ers make their first choice at 13.


The 49ers traded 13th overall pick and fourth-round selection (113 overall) to the Denver Broncos to select tackle Anthony Davis out of Rutgers.

The crowd instantly approves of the trade!

We’ll hustle back over the team headquarters to hear from Coach Singletary and Davis.

7:30 PM Update

The 49ers selected guard Mike Iupati out of Idaho with the No. 17 overall selection. Singletary raved about Iupati’s toughness to local reporters.

Several trades and picks have come and gone since the 49ers two picks. There’s just a few picks left in this year’s draft, but we’ll have more on today’s selections on 49ers.com shortly.

Stay tuned.

And for more 2010 NFL Draft coverage, including live look-ins into the 49ers draft room, check out our Draft Central Page.

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Draft Central: Non-Stop Draft Coverage

Posted by Scott Kegley on April 22, 2010 – 10:39 AM

49ers Draft Central

You won’t want to miss what we have in store for you today on our Draft Central page!  We’ll bring you live look-ins of the 49ers draft room while the team is on the clock so you can see what happens when the 49ers get prepared to make their selections.

After the 49ers picks are complete, you will also see head coach Mike Singletary’s press conference live!  The best part about it is, you don’t have to leave the draft central page!

You will also want to tune in at 2:00 PM PST to get the first-ever look at some of the 49ers 2009 highlight videos.  After the videos are streamed live, they will be made available on-demand.

In addition to these live events, you can also watch all of our “Draft Memories” pieces with the 2009 rookie class on-demand.  We will also keep you updated right here on this blog as day #1 of the 2010 NFL Draft gets started.

2:15 UPDATE: We just streamed the 49ers 2009 team highlight videos on our Draft Central page, but you can now view them all on-demand through our love video player or by clicking here.

These videos were produced in-house for the team, but now they’re available to you! Enjoy!

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Nedney Beats Robot in a Kicking Contest

Posted by Taylor Price on April 19, 2010 – 4:45 PM

Joe Nedney was pacing the 49ers locker room Monday morning like he was on an NFL sideline about to kick the biggest field goal of his life.

Well, he wasn’t that nervous, but you could see somewhat of an anxious look on the face of the 49ers kicker.

At the time Nedney was hours away from competing against a 340-pound robot named “Ziggy” at Kezar Stadium, all in the name of promoting the upcoming RoboGames in San Mateo.

“I had to come out and see what it’s all about,” Nedney said prior to the competition.

Nedney admittedly was nervous about the event, but felt much better once he saw the 14-inch tall robot miss a few kicks in warmups. When it was all said and done, Ziggy’s best kick came from 45-yards out. The 49ers 15-year veteran calmly responded by winning the event with a 50-yarder of his own.

“There’s still a human element to the robot. Theres’ still a team of guys trying to adjust and move it around. Even with robotics, there’s still human error involved. But it definitely legitimizes my position, I feel really good right now,” Nedney said with a smile.

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Ginn Jr. Ready for ‘New Start’

Posted by Taylor Price on April 16, 2010 – 2:14 PM

Ted Ginn Jr. doesn’t think he ever “fell off.” The Miami Dolphins apparently did. They sent the former No. 9 overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft to the 49ers in exchange for a fifth-round pick (No. 145 overall) in this year’s draft.

In speaking with Bay Area reporters hours after he received the initial news from 49ers head coach Mike Singletary, Ginn sounded excited about joining the 49ers and starting anew.

His initial thoughts of the trade?

“A great team. A great coach. I knew a couple guys, so I was just excited to be a 49er. It’s a great tradition and there are some great people that came from there. So, I’m happy to be there.”

Ginn figures to instantly give a boost to the 49ers return game. He returned two kickoffs for touchdowns with Dolphins in 2009, and scored on a punt return as a rookie in 2007.

He also caught 38 passes for 454 yards (11.9 yards per catch) and one touchdown last season.

But whether he’s catching passes, punts or kickoffs, Ginn wants to help out the team in any way possible. With the ball in his hands, he feels most comfortable.

“I’m very open. That’s one of the things that I like to do. Special teams-wise, as far as kickoffs and punt returns, that’s me. I just feel that’s another way that I can get the ball in my hands and make plays for my team.”

Click here to listen to Ginn’s conference call with the Bay Area media.

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Michael Robinson Launches “Excel 2 Excellence”

Posted by Taylor Price on April 16, 2010 – 9:31 AM

On the field, 49ers running back Michael Robinson is a fearless competitor, so much so, he’s been voted by his teammates as a team captain for the past two seasons.

In continuing that leadership in his Virginia community, Robinson has created his “Excel 2 Excellence Foundation.” With the launch, Robinson announced his plans for his first charitable events, including a visit to VCU Children’s Medical Center on May 21, 2010 and a football camp at his alma mater, Varina High School the following day.

Robinson led Varina to four consecutive regional titles and two state runner-up finishes before he went on to star at Penn State. Now he’s eager to be back on his high school field working with kids who want to follow his in footsteps.

“I’m excited to host these events in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia,” Robinson said. “The city of Richmond has been very influential in my personal and professional development and I’m very much looking forward to giving back to my community.”

Robinson’s camp is free and limited to the first 500 registered campers. You can get sign up information right here. In addition to a fun day of activities on the football field, campers can expect to see various NFL players in attendance as camp instructors.

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Enter 49ers.com’s Mock Draft Contest!

Posted by Taylor Price on April 15, 2010 – 10:48 AM

We know everyone is excited about the draft being a week away and we’d like to keep the draft discussions going. There’s no denying the passion of you, the 49ers Faithful, on the significance of this event. In reading the comments on this blog, it’s clear that everyone has their own opinions on how this year’s draft will unfold.

With that said, it’s time to see who’s opinions were right…

We’re proud to announce our latest contest on 49ers.com, our 2010 Mock Draft Contest!

Predict the first 10 picks of the 2010 NFL Draft, plus, the 49ers 13th and 17th overall selections in the first round to win a signed 49ers jersey by Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis (the 49ers first-round pick in 2006).

*But note, because trades on draft day are common, your top 10 selections must relfect your rankings of the top 10 players, regardless of the team who selects them. In the event that nobody correctly predicts the complete order of the top 10 picks and the 49ers first-round picks, we’ll award the prize to our closest entry.


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Free Agent LaBoy Visits 49ers

Posted by Taylor Price on April 14, 2010 – 1:57 PM

Travis LaBoy, a former standout athlete from nearby Marin Catholic High School, visited with 49ers officials on Wednesday for the second time this offseason. The 6-foot-3, 261-pound outside linebacker missed all of last season with torn tendons in his foot, but is now back to 100 percent.

LaBoy has been running full-speed for the past four months, gradually picking up his workout regiment along the way.

“Now I don’t really think about it that much,” he said while speaking with beat reporters at 49ers headquarters.

LaBoy has interest from several teams, but would like to stay close to home, with friends and family close by. LaBoy thought he could be selected by the 49ers in the 2004 NFL Draft, but the club elected to not select the pass-rusher out of the University of Hawaii.

Instead, he was selected 42nd overall by the Tennessee Titans. Four seasons later, LaBoy signed with the Arizona Cardinals, where he was able to compete against his beloved childhood team.

“Not getting drafted by the Niners in ’04, I was mad. So when I played them I tried to really destroy them. I was kind of mad after the fact,” LaBoy admitted. “It wasn’t an issue of disrespect, I love the Niners. It was more of I was mad that they never brought me on board because it was my childhood team. But I’d love to be a part of it. The red and gold, that’s where it’s at.”

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