Mike Nolan and Scot McCloughan must have fielded two dozen questions about character during the team's predraft luncheon two weeks ago. Given Commissioner Roger Goodell's recent suspension of Adam "Pacman" Jones and Chris Henry for headline-grabbing transgressions, it was the topic du jour.
The first time he was asked about character, Nolan answered like this: "If you've got bad character, we will not draft you. I don't even question that. If you've made a bad choice or two, it's our decision that we have to make in identifying that person and if it's a choice issue or is it a character issue."
That was his reasoning for drafting Texas cornerback Tarrell Brown in the fifth round Sunday. Brown was arrested in September on suspicion of misdemeanor weapons and drug charges after police pulled over the car he was riding in and found a small amount of marijuana in the car and a 9 mm handgun in his lap.
The 49ers certainly did their due diligence before drafting Brown, who, had it not been for character concerns, probably would have been a first-day choice. Along with the usual background checks, the team flew Brown to Santa Clara a few weeks before the draft to meet with Nolan and the 49ers sent a team official his way days before the draft.
Nolan said his conversation with Brown gave him a good feeling.
"I see him as a good character person who made a couple of poor choices," Nolan said, adding the 49ers have the requisite staff in place to help players make the best choices.
On a conference call, Brown said the stories that have been written about him did not paint an accurate picture of him.
"Coach Nolan is big on character and everything like that," Brown said. "Everything will take care of itself and it won't be a problem."
Brown also said the September charges have been resolved but declined to speak about what happened that night.
"I can't really speak on it," he said. "That's in the past and I'm just happy I'm a San Francisco 49er."
- Matt Barrows