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Get this straight: Niners need a QB
Baalke keeping draft strategy close to vest, but his mission should be clear

SANTA CLARA

Lowell Cohn: “Trent, are you going to draft a quarterback?”

Trent Baalke: “I would never tell you, Lowell, if we're going to draft anybody.”

Cohn: “Let me rephrase it in a better way. Is it possible that you might draft a quarterback?”

Baalke: “It's possible that we could draft any position. The answer would be yes, but that's for any position. We're not opposed to drafting any position whether it's inside linebacker, defensive line, safety, quarterback, running back.”

Cohn: “Do you feel you're deep enough at quarterback right now?”

Baalke: Pause. Cough. More pause. “You're not going to get a straight answer from me.”

Cohn: “I'm a journalist. I'm trying to do my job.”

Baalke: “Yes.”

Cohn: “You do (feel you're deep enough at quarterback)?”

Baalke: “Yes.”

Cohn: “Is that a straight answer?”

Baalke: “I don't know.”

Give Baalke credit for being honest about withholding the truth. He must be guarded a week before the draft, can't show his cards — or his choices — to the other teams. We all understand that. And give him credit for that final answer — “I don't know.” It was candid and, in its way, cute.

So, let's rewind a moment. Baalke walked into the defensive meeting room where Jim Harbaugh holds his weekly news conferences/torture sessions at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesdays. Always neat as a pin with shoes so shiny you could go full migraine just looking at them, Baalke sat in a chair facing us. Twenty or so reporters placed our tiny digital recorders in front of him. The recorders were scattered haphazardly on the table, some here, some there.

Before getting started with the press conference, Baalke meticulously hand-arranged every recorder so they formed a neat row in front of him, the recorders looking like an offensive line between him and the slobs we are. I have not inspected Baalke's office — I've never been in there — but I assume it's as neat as his personality, as orderly as his draft list, as precise and perfect as that line of recorders.

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