Assistant General Manager Adam Peters & Director of College Scouting Tariq Ahmad Press Conference
Assistant General Manager Adam Peters &
Director of College Scouting Tariq Ahmad
Press Conference – April 29, 2023
San Francisco 49ers
A question for both of you. Adam, start off, just what do you kind of feel like the overall stamp that this draft class can make on this team?
Adam Peters: “Yeah, I’d say this draft class was probably one of our most collaborative just with the coaches and the scouts and everybody together. It’s gotten better each year. Last year was great, this year it got even better and there was so much talk within the draft room and getting everybody’s opinions and it was really, I think it felt about as collaborative as it can be and we’re really happy about that.”
You guys start out today and there are a lot of cornerbacks on the board. What was it about CB Darrell Luter Jr. that made him the pick?
AP: “Yeah, Luter, he came on a 30-visit and actually [director of college scouting] Tariq [Ahmad] and I talked to him out on the deck, and I remember it because we’ve been stuck in this draft room for weeks and there’s no sun in there. So, I was like, instead of meeting in an office, let’s go stand on the deck in the sun for a while. And he was probably the most mature guy we met probably in the whole process. He’s married, he’s just, he’s a man already and he impressed the heck out of me, and I know he impressed you too. And that was probably the thing that stood out with Luter the most. Obviously, the stuff on the field, we love his physicality, his strength, his upside. Junior college guy who’s got a lot of upside still, so yeah, we’re really excited about Luter.”
Tariq Ahmad: “Yeah and then part of that evaluation process at the Senior Bowl, he really stood out to us. We thought he separated himself from a lot of different prospects there and it made a big impact.”
What kind of things made him stand out?
TA: “Strong. He’s very strong. He was very sticky at the Senior Bowl. He fit in very well down there against some of the top competition.”
You say he’s a man already. Is that something that you look for? I mean, in terms of maturity, how important does that become when you’re looking?
AP: “It is a lot. It’s a hard game. The NFL is really hard, so you’ve got to be tough, you’ve got to be mature in order to do this, it’s your job. So, we found on our team, the mature guys do really, really well. You know, the guys that are, that are physical, that are tough, do really well and he fit that bill.”
Can you shed some light into what goes into scouting a kicker? I mean, for us it just looks like, you know, does it go through the uprights? What goes into that and what led you ultimately to K Jake Moody?
AP: “Yeah, I thought the kicker questions were done yesterday. But yeah, Jake, you know, we really leaned on our special teams coaches for that. I think [general manager] John [Lynch] and [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] told you [special teams coordinator] Brian Schneider loved him, like absolutely loved him and was sold on him. And it starts with the scouts during the fall identifying them and giving the coaches a list of who the best kickers are and understanding that [NFL K] Robbie [Gould] was coming up and we didn’t know what we were going to do with Robbie at the time, so you have to be very thorough. And so, they gave him really the top five or so kickers and he stood out right away and throughout the process, for some reason he didn’t go to the Senior Bowl, but he goes to the East-West and he’s MVP of the East-West, which was probably the most boring game if you guys watched that, it was like all field goals. And it was terrible. But he stood out. And so that tells you a little bit about Jake, but really, we lean a lot on our special teams coaches for that. And they did a great job. They were real thorough.”
When it comes to DL Robert Beal Jr., can you expand on the GTFO factor and just the two-yard burst that he showed you guys?
AP: “Yeah, the GTFO is something that our R&D group came up with and really just mimicking what [defensive line] coach [Kris] Kocurek wants. And you guys know what the acronym means, or I assume you know, but it’s something we look for and it’s something they measure, and they do a great job of that. And when you get to the later rounds and you see guys like him stand out on that and then it matches up with his 40 and all the different athletic measurements, it’s something that separated him from the other guys at that point on the board.”
We’ve been covering NFL K Robbie Gould the last six seasons. He’s supremely confident, he wants to be out there with the game on the line. Do you get that sense that K Jake Moody has that same confidence and how do you sort of assess that? It seems like a very important thing to find out about a kicker.
AP: “Yeah, I think you’re right, that’s something that Robbie had, and he was awesome for six years, like you sent him out there and you thought it was going to be good and that’s hard to replicate. With Jake, I think that’s one of the things that coach Schneider really liked is the kid just wasn’t scared of anything. He’d go out there and kick it and kick it as hard as he could every time. You can try to replicate that in a practice or something, but that’s not real. But you see him make big kicks in games. I referenced the East-West, but he made big kicks at I think it was Illinois, he won the game and there’s, I think, three game-winning kicks that he had. So those are the things you see under pressure, he did it. Past performances are the best predictor of future performance and that’s what he’s done. We tried to replicate it in a workout and he did the same thing. I don’t know if they told you the specific incident, but when we worked him out privately, he did like a last-second rush out on the field, field goal. The thing was all messed up. The laces were the wrong way, he didn’t care, kicked it right through the uprights, 50-yards. So those are the things you can do, but you don’t really know until they’re in that moment.”
TA: “And then part of the evaluation process with the people that we talked to that are inside that building, that was one of the things they emphasized. How this guy has ice in his veins, this guy is as consistent as any position player that they had there. So, it’s something we felt really good about.”
What does it do for the scouting process when you have a roster that looks like there’s virtually a starter at every spot, the depth looks pretty good? Does that change how you approach it and where your eyes go when it comes to evaluating the talent?
TA: “Yeah, so it doesn’t change the process. We’re evaluating everyone through the fall as if we’re starting the roster from scratch to get the value exactly correct. But, as we talk about the players as we go in the winter and then, during the April meetings, we compare them to the guys on our roster and how they would fit in. So, initially it doesn’t change at all, but then we have to be able to clearly communicate what their exact value is a little bit later in the process.”
So, are you basically in essence scouting your own guys too to figure out?
TA: “Exactly, so everyone has a specialty that they focus on in those April meetings, and that’s one of the things that we ask them to do, evaluate our own roster and stack those guys amongst the guys on our roster.”
Following up on that, when you’re kind of stacking those guys, say you’ve got two guys that are pretty close, one guy maybe has more traits, more upside, but maybe not get it for a year, versus a guy who’s got a little more polish, you know that he’s getting it. Do you have to think about that it might be worth going for the guy who might take a year, because then we’ll have a spot for him? Does that factor into it at all?
TA: “I would say that our job is to communicate exactly what you just said. Communicate those differences, also understand who that person is, who can reach their potential, and clearly communicate that to the Assistant GM, to the GM, to the coaching staff and just help make a good decision.”
AP: “Thanks for including me. It’s really communicating that to John and Kyle and making sure they know the total package and what this player can be now and in the future and give them all the information to make the best decision.”
It seemed like two themes that were through a lot of your draft picks were speed and then also, guys that were team captains. How important are both of those features? I know that doesn’t mean that they’re going to be successful on the field, but those were kind of the recurring things we saw.
TA: “Those are two things that are very important to us. The 49er, the what it takes to be a successful 49er football player is something that we emphasize. We emphasize it in the preseason. We emphasize it during winter meetings. We emphasize it prior to our April meetings. Those are two things that are extremely important to us. So, it is communicated. It’s something that they try to gather as much information on as possible. Like, a captain, but what is a captain? A captain is a leader that can connect, can motivate and so, those are things that we’re working on as we get into the schools and that’s what we’re communicating when we get into those meetings.”
You guys talked about the collaborative process. I noticed there was a lot of talk about defensive coordinator Steve Wilks. It seemed that he was calling prospects, even letting them know some of the good news, I think yesterday with S Ji’Ayir Brown. When a new coach does come in, is it hard to get them kind of integrated in that whole flow? How does that whole process work, because it seemed that he was very involved from the get-go.
AP: “Yeah, with Steve it was real seamless. I think we talked about it before, or maybe I talked with you about how seamless it was from the get-go from free agency and then going into the draft it was the same way, it was like he was part of us right away. He’s a really smart guy. He communicates exactly what he’s looking for. Eyes, hands, hips and feet. I’ve heard that about 30 times but it’s the real thing, but he has been about as integral as he could be in such a short time, and he’s not afraid to speak his mind but he’s also real respectful of everybody else’s opinions, and it’s been really good so far.”
DL Robert Beal Jr. obviously has a great get-off, and length, and speed. I understand that Georgia has got a lot of really good players, but you look at his package you’d say, “Well how come he didn’t do more in college?” What was kind of behind that other than a talented roster?
AP: “I think Beal, really looking more at him for how he fits us, and with what they did at Georgia, they had him dropping a lot. They had him doing a lot of different things, and talking to the people at Georgia, talking to [University of Georgia Head Coach] Kirby Smart, he says the best thing he does is get off the ball and GTFO, and get the quarterback and set the edge, and those are the things we do. As you know with Kris Kocurek, you see him at practice every day. So, those are the things that fit us really well, so maybe it didn’t fit other teams as well, but his skill set fits us really, really well.”