MOBILE, Ala. – The tape still is the best way to evaluate the football player.

But, certainly, a brief interview and background check are not nearly as insightful when it comes to trying to get a read on the person.

The 49ers have the advantage this week of coaching the South squad at the Senior Bowl. In the process, the 49ers will be able to make some determinations on players they want to target in this year’s draft.

But, just as important, the 49ers will be able to put a red line through some players they do not want to touch.

“My goal is to not come back as a coach -- no offense to the Senior Bowl,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I just want to be in the playoffs. But when you finish this week, it’s hard to miss on guys you were with at the Senior Bowl.

“Everyone can evaluate the talent, but it’s tough to get a good feel for someone on a 15-minute interview at the combine or a phone call or a quick visit. When you spend a week with people, you know who they are.”

The best part of the evaluation process for the 49ers and Raiders this week is that they get a complete picture of the prospects. The coaching staff can see something in meetings that general manager John Lynch and his personnel department might not be able to see for themselves.

“For the most part, players can’t really hide for a week,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “They can hide in a 15-minute interview. They can hide at the combine for a couple of days because they’re in and out of the spotlight. But you really expose yourself to an organization (at the Senior Bowl).


"It can work good and bad.”

Saleh cites an example from the 2014 Senior Bowl, when he worked the Senior Bowl as an assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Linebacker Telvin Smith had an impressive week on and off the field. The Jaguars selected Smith in the fifth round of the draft. He was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 2017 season.

Running back Alfred Morris was on the Senior Bowl roster of the team coached by Washington in 2012. Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator under his father, Mike Shanahan. In the sixth round of that draft, Washington selected Morris, who had more than 3,900 yards in his first three NFL seasons.

Morris played for the 49ers last season.

“A lot of guys will rise up the board, especially for the teams that are part of (coaching) this Senior Bowl,” Saleh said.