By the time the draft begins next week, the 49ers will have poured thousands of hours into assessing, dissecting and discussing hundreds of college players. But general manager Trent Baalke said today that it usually take only a few minutes of watching game film to determine whether a player is a keeper.
"Generally speaking, you were right in the first five minutes," said Baalke. The 49ers general manager cited the book "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell, which posits that spontaneous decisions are often more valuable than long, drawn out ones.
Baalke cited last year's film study of defender Aldon Smith, whom the 49ers ended up drafting seventh overall. "Five minutes into the film last year my gut was sold that this guy was going to be a good football player," Baalke said.
Baalke said that about 60 players have arrived this week for the start of voluntary offseason workouts. That group includes new signees Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs as well as receiver Michael Crabtree.
The 60 does not include receiver Randy Moss, safety Dashon Goldson or running back Frank Gore. Goldson has yet to sign his franchise tender (he likely is working out in Los Angeles) while Gore traditionally has worked out in his native Miami.
Baalke said the team was well aware that Moss would not be on hand. "So that was not a surprise by any stretch," he said. He said that Moss would arrive for OTAs, which are scheduled to begin in late May. "He'll be here long before that," Baalke said.
Baalke said the 49ers' draft board contains approximately 150 players. In fact, he said the team was confident that one of those players - one the team likes very much - will be available at pick No. 30.
"We have one (player) we feel real good about," Baalke said. "If we're able to move up or not move up, we've got to be prepared to make a pick at 30. There is one in particular we feel will be there, and if he's there we'll make the pick."
Baalke, of course, would not disclose that player's identity. And it's entirely possible that the statement, uncharacteristic of the tight-lipped GM, was meant as a canard.
Baalke said no decisions have been made about which offensive linemen will line up at which spots this offseason. But he said there were at least three players on the roster - Alex Boone, Daniel Kilgore and Mike Person - who had their eyes on the vacant right guard spot.
The two players who started there last year, Adam Snyder and Chilo Rachal, are with Arizona and Chicago respectively this year.
"Dan Kilgore certainly wants that position," Baalke said. "Mike Person wants that position. Alex Boone wants that position. There's options. They've had a year to develop and are ready to compete for that role. ... There's still a draft and free agency."
Baalke said there's been no decision on whether right tackle Anthony Davis could be moved to right guard.
-- Matt Barrows