Cohn: Ex-scout says 49ers 'in bit of a pickle'

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You're trying to make sense of the NFL Combine and what the 49ers are looking for and what they must do to make themselves a good team.

I'm trying to make sense of all that, too. So, naturally, I phoned former scout Dave Razzano, who had just arrived in Indianapolis for the Combine and took my call as he was checking into his hotel.

Who is Dave Razzano and why should you care about his opinion?

For starters, his dad was Tony Razzano. Does that name ring a bell? Tony ran the 49ers' scouting department from 1979-1991, all in all some pretty good years. He worked hand in hand with Bill Walsh and contributed big time to San Francisco's first four Super Bowl wins.

Dave was brought up thinking and speaking and breathing football and has been part of three Super Bowl wins in his own right — five in all. So, you bet I phoned him. Here's what we talked about.

"Dave, if you were running the 49ers, what would you do with Alex Smith."

Razzano didn't answer right away. I heard what I took to be a sound of self-strangulation all those miles away on the phone line.

"I would send him on his way," Razzano finally managed to enunciate. "He may not find any suitors. Teams aren't going to line up to sign him unless as a backup."

"But Jim Harbaugh has said he likes what he sees from Smith," I said.

"I know," Razzano said. "Harbaugh is starting to be enamored of him. I understand that. Coaches are positive guys and they always think they can improve players. Harbaugh has been looking at cut-ups of Smith's best plays — he won't see him fumbling in the fourth quarter. And he's thinking, &‘I can work with this guy.' Harbaugh is thinking he wants to start with a clean slate (with Smith). But Smith already has gotten two coaches fired."

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