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49ers coach Jim Harbaugh plays catch with draft prospects to gauge players

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbuagh plays catch with draft prospects to gauge players Jim Harbaugh draws upon his days as an NFL quarterback to spot fits for his team. (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

When NFL teams travel across the nation to get a good look at draft prospects during their pro day workouts, they generally wait for the individual interviews with the players to get a better feel for the prospect as a person away from the field.

With character being more important than ever in the eyes of many, that is an understandable strategy, but San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh takes a different approach.

Rather than just talking with a player, Harbaugh goes back to his playing days in the NFL and unleashes his arm in a game of catch with prospective players. According to Kevin Clark of the Wall Street Journal, Harbaugh uses the game of catch for a chance to gauge the prospects and find out more about them.

“You’re always sizing somebody up,” Harbaugh said. ”I’m not trying to look in their eyes. Just trying to see how they catch.”

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He may use the strategy with potential players, but he spares his bosses and co-workers.

“We’ve never played catch. He’s not trying to gauge my competitiveness,” said 49ers owner Jed York. “He’s a quarterback and because of that, he wants to bring another element.”

It is an interesting way to evaluate players, but if Harbaugh is able to get the prospects to let their guard down and get comfortable, there may be no better way to get an honest look at the person.

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