Shanahan, Smith discuss third-round picks


After selecting cornerback Antwaun Molden and running back Steve Slaton in the third round, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator Richard Smith talked to the media.

Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks Kyle Shanahan
(on picking Steve Slaton with the 89th pick in the draft) "Steve Slaton from West Virginia, we just took, we are really excited to have him. He has some special qualities. He's had a great career. He's got unbelievable stats for three years. We think this guy has special talents. He's a receiving-type back - a guy that can play third downs and can be very hard to cover out of the backfield and is a big time mismatch for linebackers in coverage. He's a very tough guy and a very smart guy. He had one of the highest wonderlic scores at the running back position at the combine in Indianapolis. He's a guy that is very reliable as a person and we think he has the talent and skill to fit a role that we are looking for."

Defensive coordinator Richard Smith
(on picking Antwaun Molden with the 79th pick in the draft) "We are really excited about the pick. We all know that we needed that position badly because of the injury to Dunta Robinson. Let me go back a year from now. A year ago, we took Fred Bennett, and we know the success that he's had so far. (Defensive backs coach) Jon Hoke went and worked Fred Bennett out and came back with very high remarks. Everything Jon said Fred was, Fred was when he came here. Antwaun Molden was a player that we sent Jon Hoke out to work out personally, he had really good numbers at the combine. We got a big man that's probably over 6 foot and a half, close to 200 pounds and runs a 4.4 40. He's got long arms; he's got good length. So it's the same qualifications that Fred Bennett had. So, when you are looking at him, I'm not trying to compare the two, but you got another young, good corner who has speed. He did come from a smaller school. If he would have played at Miami or something like that he probably would have been taken in a much higher round. He's a guy like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, he ran track against Cromartie. You can look this up or something, but I heard he beat Cromartie six out of seven times, so he has that kind of speed. He's a guy that's going to have to come in here and learn our system. We see a huge upside in this kid. We might be able to have a guy here in the third round that's going to be a fine football player, and we are really excited about having him."

(on what he liked about Molden against the run) "What I liked about him is he has the size and has the foot quickness. His foot speed is really good. Usually, when you have big corners, first of all, the coverage part of it, the transition coming out of the plants and breaks and stuff like that is a little bit late. He doesn't have that. He has really good feet, so from that standpoint we like our safeties. It's really hard to find a guy like Dunta Robinson, but he's a willing tackler getting on and off blocks and we think he's going to pick up stuff like that."

{QUOTE}Kyle Shanahan
(on how he feels Slaton fits the running back scheme in Houston) "I think Steve Slaton pretty much fits any offense to tell you the truth. The reason I think that is because he's a good runner, and a good enough runner can fit into any scheme. What we like most about Slaton, is I think he's got a chance to be a special-type player. You look at guys around the league like Kevin Faulk, a guy like Reggie Bush; guys who come in and fill a specific role on third downs. If you look at the top offenses in the league, they all have a player like that. I think this guy fits that role for us. We have two guys right now that we think can carry the load, but this guy can come in a fill a role. We can use him on third downs, we can use him in special situations to come in and be a change of pace type player. He's got the size and the quickness and the mentality to do the things we're going to ask. I think he will fill that role in the pass game and in the run game and in one-back situations."

Richard Smith
(on how good he thinks it will be to have two big corners with the addition of Molden) "I think it's great. When you look at now but also the future for this organization, the youth that we have and the talent in terms of what Mario Williams up front and the linebacker core with DeMeco Ryans. And we also got a lot of promise with Zac Diles, who we took in the seventh round last year. Athletically he still needs to do it. Then you look at the back end, where last year we were able to get Fred Bennet and this year get Antwaun Molden. I think we are building some good athletes that can run; that have really good size for the position. From that standpoint, I think it looks pretty good for us. Do we lack experience? Yeah, we do, but that's our job as coaches to coach and put them in the right positions."

Kyle Shanahan
(on if he believes size plays a role in Slaton not being drafter higher) "I think when a guy is 197 pounds and if you look at the history throughout the NFL there are not too many guys that are first and second down player for long periods of time. When you look at a guy that people are projecting as a third down type guy or a change of pace guy I believe a lot of teams have more important needs that go early in the draft. One exception is Reggie Bush; he is the highest guy that I've seen go that is a third down type player. The third round is when these guys start popping out."

(on the running back competition this season) "The running back position is funny because you could feel really good about running back one day and the another day you feel that its your weakest position. These guys take a pounding and do it everyday. They also have to be fresh to compete at a higher level in the NFL. Guys wear down and you never know what will happen. To have the numbers there it benefits the competition. Not only there is a competition at running back now we also have some guys who can compete for specific roles. We want guys that compete to be an every down back, we want guys to compete to be a third down back. There are different spots now that give guys advantages were you don't have to always pick the exact same type of guy competing with each other. Every guy brings something different to the table."

(on if they'll look at Slaton to return kickoffs) "You have to ask (special teams coordinator) Joe Marciano about that. He has those types of skills. He's a 4.4 guy that's very quick and can catch the ball and he fits the mold of a returner. I didn't think they had him returning in college as much. He was a three year starter who had great stats at running back so I believe they were afraid of getting him hurt as a returner, he has those types of skills."

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