49ers general manager Trent Baalke is already busy evaluating NFL prospects as San Francisco looks to reload its roster in 2015.
Baalke, in the thick of it at the annual Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., spoke a bit about his process with 49ers.com.
On attending the Senior Bowl:
TB: You get a chance to see these guys run around a little bit, in a new environment. See how quickly they pick things up, see how hard they work. How prepared they are for this moment. It's a great event, has been for a long time.
On trust in long-time scouting department:
TB: It's really important. The more continuity you have, the better your chances. This is a very good group of scouts, they've been at it a long time and they really understand what we're looking for.
On traveling to see players around the country:
TB: The film matters, obviously. And you can watch a lot of film. But when you get to see a guy live, move around in practice, see how they move from drill to drill, how in tune they are with what's going on, it always adds something to what you're watching on the film everyday.
On Jimmie Ward standing out at last year's Senior Bowl:
TB: He proved he belonged. Any time a smaller school guy can come into the Senior Bowl and play and move around like he did, he just proved he belonged in every aspect. The stage wasn't going to be too big for him.
On the 49ers' 2014 NFL draft class:
TB: We were pleased with last year's class all around. It's a good group of guys, it's a good group of character and talent. They performed well as rookies. Like we always say, the biggest jump is going to be from Year 1 to Year 2. They came in and established themselves in Year 1 and proved they belong. Now let's see how big a jump they can make from Year 1 going into Year 2.
On reloading the roster with nine draft picks:
TB: You have nine chances to get better and we got to make every one of those count. And it's a proccess to get there. We got a lot of work to do, a lot of film to watch, a lot of pro days to attend. The combine, obviously. This all-star game, another all-star game next week. There's a lot of work ahead of us. But we feel good heading into the halfway point of the process. But it's never how you start, it's how you finish.
The 49ers have 16 players set to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the league year, including running back Frank Gore, wide receiver Michael Crabtree, left guard Mike Iupati, backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert, outside linebacker Dan Skuta, cornerback Chris Culliver, wide receiver Brandon Lloyd and cornerback Perrish Cox.
Special teams aces Kassim Osgood and Raymond Ventrone are also going to be available on the open market.