I've been doing some digging on Trent Baalke, the guy who inherits Scot McCloughan's role in the run-up to the draft and who, at this point, is the leading candidate to become the 49ers' next general manager. The first thing to point out is that Baalke has been very close to the McCloughans, Scot and David, and the families live close to one another in Loveland, Co. That relationship remains unchanged following Scot McCloughan's exit. That is, there is no sense that Baalke was part of a McCloughan ouster.
I spoke with two players who both said that Baalke was a very good and engaging speaker. As director of player personnel, Baalke would meet with the players once a week to brief them on their upcoming opponent. I was told he was knowledgeable and had good command of the room. I was also told by more than one person that Baalke believes he can figure out a person just from a handshake and a thwack of the shoulder. I'll have to ask Baalke about that the next time I see him (and shake his hand).
Baalke was hired by the Redskins in 2001, the same year Marty Schottenheimer became head coach. The next year, Schottenheimer was gone and Steve Spurrier and Vinny Cerrato moved in. From 2001-2003, Baalke was Washington's national scout. In 2004, he was promoted to college scouting coordinator. The year after that, Scot McCloughan hired Baalke as the 49ers' Western region scout.
Said Cerrato: "He was an extremely hard worker, organized and very quiet." Is quiet a good quality? "I think he understood his role. Now he's got to be more vocal, more take charge."
Said Scott Campbell, Redskins director of player personnel: "A very hard worker. Very knowledgeable. Driven. I would think the 49ers are in very good hands. Trent was outstanding while he was here. I'm still good friends with him. ... Trent's very ambitious. I know that (being GM) is a goal of his."
I'll have more in a Baalke profile in tomorrow's Bee.
-- Matt Barrows