Phillip Adams. Pick 224.

Tom BaumbergerCorrespondent IJune 6, 2010

This off-season I did something I have never done before. I watched the NFL draft. Sorry in advance to those of you I offended but in the past that has been a major league snoozer for me. Why spend all that time watching it when I can just read the cliff notes? Why was this year different?

After more than half a century as a Forty Niner fan I was ready to toss in the towel. Frustration had overcome me. It wasn't the players that I was upset with but the management of the team itself.

I didn't agree with the firing of Mike Nolan. Not that he didn't need to be fired. Hey, even Rod Marinelli got the courtesy of finishing the season. While Nolan made some poor decisions, he made many good ones too. Nolan was hired to right the ship so to speak. To accomplish that he knew one of the things he would need is the defensive wisdom of his friend Mike Singletary.

At first I was upset with the 49ers and resented Coach Mike. I researched him. The more I researched Mike Singletary the man, not the football player and coach, the more fascinated I became with him. Evidenced by his loyalty to his friend Mike Nolan, I long ago determined the people in Mike Singletary's life are more important to him than a lucrative career as one of the 32 head coaches in the NFL. I like the personal values of Mike Singletary.

With the departure of the McCloughan brothers, my faith in the 49er management was restored. I was watching the draft because I wanted to see what Trent Baalke and Mike Singletary had planned. Would they take the best player available at the time or address the needs of the team? Would I need to look for a new team this year?

Davis, Iupati, Mays, Bowman, Dixon, Byham, Williams. Each of those guys has a specific skill set the team until now was lacking. Unlike drafts of the recent past, Baalke and Singletary had done their due diligence on the players selected. As I watched the draft unfold I realized that Baalke and Singletary had chosen to address the needs of the team.

Ranked 21st in pass defense last year the secondary needed to be addressed. The addition of Taylor Mays provided an upgrade for the aging Mark Roman. What about the corner position? Due to his knee injury Walt Harris' retirement was almost a certainty at the beginning of last year. That was a deficiency that needed to be addressed too. So far the Baalke Singletary draft coalition had pulled off a brilliant draft in my opinion. What about the cornerback position?

With their 7th round pick the 49ers chose Phillip Adams of South Carolina State University. As the school quickly flashed on and then off the TV screen I took a double take. Did they just say SC State? I hit the back button on the DVR. Yep they sure did say SC State. A short jaunt through the woods from my house lies SC State. I was familiar with the school.

Known more for it's academic excellence achievements in business, biology, engineering, computers, literature and the arts than it is for producing NFL players, I was surprised to hear the 49ers selected a player from SC State.

It's a common misconception there is a lesser talent level in Division 1 than the ACC, SEC, PAC 10 or Big 12.  Chris Gocong, Marques Colston and Randy Moss probably have something to say about that. I do too. I attended a Division 1 school, coincidentally the same school as John Madden. While I never impacted the NFL, certainly the latter did.

Phillip Adams wasn't invited to the NFL combine. How does a player fly completely under the radar and land an NFL contract? Who is this Phillip Adams guy? How does a guy from the lower right hand corner of the US map end up playing for a team in the upper left hand corner of the map? How did the Niners get wind of him?

There were many questions in my mind that day. I was happy that a hometown player had been chosen by my team. I became an instant fan of Phillip Adams.

I googled Phillip Adams SC State. I didn't find much out there on him. I found enough to satisfy myself Baalke and Singletary had performed their due diligence. They had taken it to the same degree they did with Davis and Iupati. It's no accident that Phillip Adams is a 49er. Mike Singletary is building a physical team in San Francisco.

Phillip Adams is a physical player. Phrases like "physically dominating player", "dominated the line of scrimmage", "excellent down field ball-hawking skills", "has the ability to close when playing off his man", "transitions out of his backpedal smoothly", "his basketball skills show up on the field" are used to describe Phillip. An All-MEAC first team defensive back Phillip also spent some time on SC State's basketball court.

In my research of Mike Singletary I learned that he has a high level of personal standards that he expects his players to meet. He would and has passed on signing players who possessed needed talent. He did that because he felt they would not be a good fit for the team.

I have been looking for online football footage of Phillip. The only thing I was able to find is a video of him addressing a group military folks. He was talking about his being signed by the Niners. In the video he stated that he was recruited by some big schools. He said SC State is the school that stuck by him. That's the reason he chose them to sign with.

In that video Phillip not only exhibited that he has a high level of loyalty in his personal makeup but he is also confident, yet humble too. That is a quality necessary to be a team player. Phillip knows he will have to work hard to make the roster.

Being the first to sign his contract shows me that he has a solid work ethic. Among other compliments, his former head coach Oliver "Buddy" Pough said of Phillip, "Phillip's a hard-working guy."

I am impressed with Phillip Adams the man. I believe Mike Singletary is too.

At pick number 220 Mike Singletary called Phillip Adams at his mother's house in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Coach Singletary informed Phillip that if he was available in the seventh round, he would be the Niners pick. Phillip Adams already knew he was going in the 7th round. The Green Bay Packers had already called him and told him the same thing. They had pick 230.

"I can't describe the feeling when I saw my name. I got picked by a team with a great coach and one that is on the way back up," Adams said. From all the reading I've done about Phillip, he is happy to be a Forty Niner.

The Forty Niners need an aggressive, ball hawking, intimidating, physical corner that is a hard working team player. That is just what Mike Singletary found in Phillip Adams. I believe that Phillip will make the 53 man roster. Did I mention that he also has punt return abilities? Due diligence on the 7th round pick just like the first.

This is a rare year for me. I get to go to two games. I'll be at the Atlanta and the Carolina game. If Phillip makes the 53 man roster I'll be wearing his jersey in the Falcons and Panthers houses.

This is one 49er fan that is happy Phillip was the 224th pick and not the 230th.