Walsh, in his eloquent voice and serious tone, told me: “I need to know what Will McDonough of the Boston Globe is going to have in his Mock Draft tomorrow. Do you know anyone in Boston who can read you the morning paper? I have Dr. Z’s mock from Sports Illustrated in front of me here, but we need another reliable source to determine how high we may have to go to get one of those great wideouts.”

According to Lombardi, it was Walsh’s studying of mock drafts that convinced him he ought to trade up from the 28th pick in the first round to the 16th in order to select “one of those great wideouts,” Jerry Rice. The 49ers were coming off their second Super Bowl title in 1985, and with Rice they won three more. It’s a good thing for the 49ers that Walsh didn’t think mock drafts were beneath him.

Michael David Smith also writes for FanHouse, Pro Football Talk, College Football Talk,Football Outsiders and The New York Sun.