49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

April 28, 2011
Baalke: No opportunities to trade down

General manager Trent Baalke said the 49ers were talking with "four or five teams," regarding a possible trade but never came close to a deal to trade back. "Each time we ran into a little bit of a roadblock," he said. "Teams wanted to stand pat."

One of those potential partners was the Atlanta Falcons, who instead pulled off a blockbuster deal with the Cleveland Browns. The Falcons traded up 21 spots to take Alabama wideout Julio Jones. In return Atlanta reportedly sent their first, second and fourth-round picks this year along with next seasons' first-round pick to Cleveland. Baalke said the Falcons were adamant about doing the deal with Cleveland and not the 49ers to assure that they got their man.

Baalke said he's been deeply immersed in the draft and had no idea that quarterback Alex Smith was due to visit Friday. He said he was happy that some of the veterans would be by, and he noted that position coaches haven't even met with all of their players yet. "Alex coming back -- obviously he's welcome back," Baalke said. "We want all our players back. ... But I want to spend only a little time with our players because we've got a draft to get to."

It was well-reported that both Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh flew to Columbia, Mo. last month for Missouri's pro day. The assumption, however, was that they were there to study quarterback Blaine Gabbert. They did, but Baalke said the duo was just as excited to take a look at Smith.

Like Harbaugh, Baalke cited Smith's 2010 leg injury, which Smith played through, as evidence of his toughness. Said Baalke: "This is a tough game. It's a physical game, and I think you have to appreciate the players that have a warrior mentality."

Baalke kept referring to Smith as a 20 year old. In fact, he's 21. But the point is that he's young and coming out as a junior. Baalke said there would be a learning curve. "I don't look at the short term," he said. "I'm looking at the long-term vision of the 49ers."

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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