The 49ers front office is objective.
General manager Trent Baalke and Co. are partial to talented NFL prospects, sure, but it doesn’t matter where they come from.
This will be the organization’s mindset two months from now, during the NFL Draft May 8-10.
“There are players at all levels,” director of college scouting Matt Malaspina told 49ers.com at the league’s Scouting Combine. “It comes down to height, weight, speed and production. So if you see a kid at a smaller-level school that’s really playing well consistently, he’s a legitimate prospect – just as much as a kid at Alabama.”
San Francisco employed the 18th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft on Reid, a stud coming out of high school and a stud coming out of LSU.
“There (are) no secrets with him,” Malaspina said. “A guy like Eric that played to his level at the level he played at, it’s fairly simple to figure out what he can do.”
The 2014 class boasts strong prospects from schools like Montana and Maine. Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is a potential second- or third-round draftee, according to NFL.com.
READ: 10 49ers Who Didn't Receive Combine Invites
It’s worth wondering then, exactly how many 49ers on the first unit attended major schools?
In fact, 21 of the 22 players that finished the 2013 season atop the depth chart attended Football Bowl Subdivision conferences. (Brock, a Belhaven University alumnus and a de facto starter down the stretch, would decrease this number to 20.)
“Most of the league comes from the big conferences, so it’s very important to us,” Malaspina said. They “definitely get more attention, as well they should.”
San Francisco's scouting department won't shy away from pluckling a player like
LG Mike Iupati – Idaho – Independent
S Eric Reid – LSU – SEC
Big Ten: 4
Big 12: 2
*This story has been corrected to reflect Staley's college.