ESPN's Adam Schefter reports:
"San Francisco's director of player personnel Trent Baalke will lead the 49ers into a critical draft in which the team is scheduled to have the 13th and 17th overall picks, according to a league source."
As Niners fans digest the recent and unexpected departure of Scot McCloughan, it appears that the organization will be placing it's trust in a man that is virtually unknown among the fan community.
So, who is Trent Baalke?
The 49ers official website gives us the following bio for Baalke:
"Trent Baalke enters his sixth season with the 49ers and his third as the team’s director of player personnel after being appointed to the position in February of 2008. In his 13th NFL season, Baalke oversees both the college and pro personnel departments.
Prior to being named director of player personnel, Baalke served as the Western region scout for the 49ers for three years. He joined San Francisco after spending four years on the Washington Redskins scouting staff, his last (2004) as the club’s college scouting coordinator. From 2001 to 2003, Baalke served as Washington’s national scout, traveling throughout the country in search of rising talent.
Before joining the Redskins, Baalke spent three seasons (1998-2000) as a scout with the New York Jets. "
There's more, but delving into his experience at the high school level probably isn't necessary.
Ultimately, Trent Baalke is a scout that has succeeded in ascending the ranks to the point of inheriting McCloughan's responsibilities in regards to the 2010 draft for the San Francisco 49ers.
He is however, well respected among NFL teams, and is widely regarded as an excellent talent evaluator.
In fact, late last year Baalke was on a short list of candidates under consideration for the GM opening in Seattle.
In 2007, the Tennessee Titans while searching for a new Director of Player Personnel showed great interest in Baalke, although he eventually decided to remain with the 49ers.
It's always a good sign when other teams are interested in you, but I guess that doesn't prove anything.
No, the only way to peel the onion on Mr. Baalke is to look at past performance. And what better gauge than the 2008 draft.
Not a very good draft for the Niners, but here are some interesting talent evaluations by Baalke regarding players available in that draft. Remember, these quotes are all pre draft:
Limas Sweed, WR, Texas: "If you just go on pure talent he's probably the best one in the draft," said Trent Baalke, San Francisco's director of player personnel. "He can do anything you want and he's big. He's a good kid, a country kid. But I feel bad for him because he started out the year playing so well."
Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU: "He's one of those interior linemen that has the ability to make everyone on the defense better because of his energy and ability," Baalke said. "I think Dorsey has rare explosion, hand use, strength and balance in his lower body. He can be successful however you want to play him."
Kentwan Balmer, DT, UNC: "He has prototype size and strength," Baalke said. "When he plays to the level of his ability he can be a dominant player. Probably has as much up side as any of the D-linemen in the draft."
Chilo Rachal, OG, USC: "He's a power guard," said Trent Baalke, San Francisco's director of player personnel. "He can move people. Extremely powerful. Good football player in a short area. He can pass (protect) in quick sets. He's going to have a little trouble when guys get his edges."
Martellus Bennett, TE, Texas A&M: "He has the ability to be a complete tight end," Baalke said. "He can block. Excellent red-zone target. He runs well enough to stretch the field. And he uses his body as well as any tight end I've seen in a long time in terms of getting open. He needs to mature."
In reference to 2008 QB class, which included Matt Ryan, Brian Brohm, Chad Henne, Joe Flacco, John David Booty, and Dennis Dixon:
"To me, they're all guys you're going to have to coach up and get them in position to manage games," said Trent Baalke, San Francisco's director of player personnel. "There's no Brett Favre coming out of this draft."
So there you have it. Just a small peek into the mindset of Mr. Trent Baalke, the unknown man who will play such a pivotal role in the 2010 draft for the 49ers.
I'll admit, this certainly doesn't tell us everything that we'd like to know about Trent Baalke. It doesn't tell us how he gets along with Singletary. It doesn't tell us if he's prepared for the pressure of draft day. It doesn't tell us if he's prepared to be the man.
But at least it tells us something. And something—anything —is more than I knew about Trent Baalke just one week ago, and more than I would have ever known, if not for McCloughan being ousted as GM by 49ers execs.
But ultimately, it's not what is in Baalke's past that intrigues me. It's what is in his future.
For the San Francisco 49ers and their fans, it's quite possible that his future could very well dictate theirs.
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