Jason Slowey must have left quite a first impression on 49ers general manager Trent Baalke during an All-Star showcase this offseason.
After finishing up his four-year career as a tackle at Division II Western Oregon University, Slowey moved to center during the Players All-Star Classic in Little Rock, Ark., in February. While he was there, the 49ers sixth-round pick had a lengthy conversation with Baalke about life and football.
So when Slowey, six other fellow draft picks and dozens of free agents and tryouts took the field for the first time on Friday during rookie minicamp, Slowey found himself snapping the ball at center.
“It’s an adjustment, that’s for sure,” Slowey said after the morning session. “It’s not left tackle at Division II anymore. I made a lot of progress today. I started out a little rough, a little shaky – putting some balls on the ground – but towards the end I started to get a hang of it a little more. I felt more comfortable so I’m looking forward to going out there this afternoon.”
Center may have been Slowey’s first position with the 49ers but it might not be his last. Following the first practice session with his new crop of rookies, head coach Jim Harbaugh said the organization will assess Slowey’s best possible position throughout the offseason.
“We don’t know what his best position is,” Harbaugh said. “That’s why we’re out here. We’re going to find out what all these guys’ best position is and who’s better at each position.”
Even though Slowey got his hands on the 49ers playbook last night, he could only pick up a few basics. After Friday’s initial offensive install, Slowey said he has plenty to learn.
“Our plays at Western were like three words,” Slowey said with a laugh. “The verbiage is pretty different and a lot more demanding, but I’m picking it up. I was a pretty good student and that shouldn’t be much of an issue.”
While at the small school in Monmouth, Ore., Slowey also crossed paths with minicamp tryout Andrew Iupati, the younger brother of left guard Mike Iupati. For Slowey, the quick transition from relative obscurity to the NFL is still processing.
“It’s pretty surreal, man,” Slowey said. “I forgot I had all the 49ers stuff on. I took off my helmet after practice and just looked at it. I forgot I didn’t have a white face mask anymore. It’s crazy.”
As for the 49ers other offensive line pick, Joe Looney, who was selected out of Wake Forest in the fourth round, he could only watch from the sidelines as he rehabs from a foot injury. Looney spent most of his afternoon watching the plays with reserve center Chase Beeler.
Tags: Jason Slowey, rookie minicamp
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