News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers
April 30, 2013
You can't tell the true measure of a man until you put a tape measure to his arm.
This appears to be the 49ers' draft motto. For the second time in three years, Jim Harbaugh spoke at length about, well, length when discussing individual members of his 11-man draft class. Two years ago, you'll recall, both Harbaugh and Trent Baalke were positively giddy about Aldon Smith's wingspan.
Smith's arms measure 35 3/8 inches from shoulder to the end of his middle finger, giving him one of the longest reaches of any player, including offensive tackles, in the 2011 draft. It's the reason I wanted to call him, "The Condor," (which somehow hasn't really caught on. Yet.)
None of the 49ers' draft picks have overtaken Smith in terms of lever length. But as you see, many of them - indeed, most of them - stand out in this category. Even quarterback B.J. Daniels measures up at 32 inches, which is pretty long for someone who stands 5-11.
S Eric Reid - 33 5/8 inches
DL Tank Carradine - 34 Â¾
TE Vance McDonald - 34 Â½
OLB Corey Lemonier - 34 Â½
Quinton Patton - 31 3/8
Marcus Lattimore - 32 Â½
Quinton Dial - 34 Â½
Nick Moody - 31 5/8
B.J. Daniels - 32
Carter Bykowski - 33 Â¾
Marcus Cooper - 32 Â¾
Lawrence Okoye - 34 Â½
Luke Marquardt - 34 1/2
April 29, 2013
You can put those old Alex Smith jerseys to good use, 49ers fans. Just tear off the name plate and replace it with "Patton." The team's new wide receiver, taken in the fourth round, will wear that number, at least at the beginning of the year, the team announced today. Some other number news:
5 - QB B.J. Daniels
11 - WR Quinton Patton
33 - CB Marcus Cooper
35 - S Eric Reid
38 - RB Marcus Lattimore
54 - LB Nick Moody
71 - OT Carter Bykowski
71-- DL Quinton Dial
89 - TE Vance McDonald
95 - DL Cornelius "Tank" Carradine
96 - OLB Correy Lemonier
Why No. 89 for tight end McDonald? Here's Jim Harbaugh with a good explanation.
Also, some of these numbers obviously are temporary as Dial and Bykowski have the same number. New cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha also has the same number as running back Anthony Dixon, No. 24. One more note: The fact that linebacker Moody is wearing No. 54 means that last year's No. 54, free agent Larry Grant, likely will not be back.
-- Matt Barrows
April 29, 2013
Still trying the digest after the 49ers' draft bacchanalia? I am, too. Here are some notes and observations on the 11 picks and the undrafted free agents the team has acquired.
* First a quick summation. As we all know, it takes three years and blah, blah, blah to fully assess yadda, yadda, yadda. But the first blush on this draft class is that it is very, very good. The 49ers had a tricky situation heading into Thursday. They had to reconcile a league-high 13 picks with perhaps a league-low number of roster openings. I thought they handled that well by drafting some talented but injured players - Tank Carradine, Marcus Lattimore - who aren't needed right away and others, Nick Moody (special teams) and B.J. Daniels (jack of all trades) who could make the roster because they have varied roles.
* Receiver Quinton Patton got short shrift on Saturday because just a few minutes after the 49ers selected him they took popular South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore. But Patton is interesting for a number of reasons, including the fact that his best game didn't come against one of the weak sisters of college football but against one of the nation's powerhouses. Patton caught (and this isn't a typo) 21 passes for 233 yards and four touchdowns against Texas A&M last year.
"I did a stop at Texas A&M this year and happened to watch that game while I was at Texas A&M and that's where he kind of caught my eye, personally," general manager Trent Baalke said. "Certainly the scouts that went through there really liked him, liked him as a competitor, liked him just as a football player and felt that from a character standpoint he was a good fit as well. Then he jumped out at us at the Senior Bowl. Went into the Senior Bowl, just as you said, Matt, the lights weren't too big, they weren't too bright for him. He got off the bus ready to go, competed very hard, showed very well there, so another big stage. That always helps in the evaluation of these guys."
April 28, 2013
Nate Montana hasn't gotten a contract offer from the 49ers, but he has received an invitation.
Montana, the son of the 49ers' famous quarterback, will attend the team's rookie minicamp that runs May 10-12 on a tryout basis. Montana, who played most recently for West Virginia Wesleyan, attended the team's "local" pro day earlier this month. At the time, Montana said he figured he wouldn't be drafted this weekend but said he hoped to be offered a free-agent contract.
That's what he and his agent, Marty Magid, are concentrating on now, and their hope is that the 49ers offer him a deal after the minicamp. Magid said other, unnamed teams also have shown interest in Montana and that he was trying to secure an invitation for one of the rookie minicamps being held during the upcoming weekend, May 3-5. "A couple of teams have asked about him," Magid said. "We'll find out this week."
Montana, 6-4, 215, was one of 57 pro prospects on hand for the 49ers' local pro day April 17. He's had a roundabout college career that took him from Notre Dame to Pasadena City College to Montana and finally to Division II West Virginia Wesleyan, where he played last season.
While the 49ers took Joe Montana in the third round of the 1979 draft, Nate Montana -- he wore No. 13 at the recent pro day -- said he hoped to join an NFL team as an undrafted free agent and was eyeing the Canadian Football League or the Arena League if there are no NFL offers.
"Coming back here where my dad played, you've just got to put your head down and make your own name," he said April 17. "It's like a blessing and a curse. You just try to ignore the, 'Oh, that's Joe Montana's son. That's Joe Montana's son.' You just go work and show them that you're a different player from your dad."
The 49ers have three quarterbacks on their roster, Colin Kaepernick, Colt McCoy and Scott Tolzien.They drafted another, B.J. Daniels, in the seventh round Sunday. Daniels will start out as a quarterback but may get practice repetitions at running back, receiver and punt returner as well.
-- Matt Barrows
April 27, 2013
Jim Harbaugh is impressed that Marcus Lattimore had the drive and determination to get himself drafted after experiencing such a devastating injury just six months ago.
But now he wants Lattimore to slow down, and he told the South Carolina running back as much today. "We're going to slow the aggressive, physical (rehabilitation) down and make sure that Marcus is going to be 100 percent healthy before he's out there on the field," Harbaugh said. "I've told him that, shared that with him, shared that with his mother, and if he doesn't play this year, he doesn't play this year."
Lattimore seemingly is a candidate for the non-football injury list. That would allow him to continue to rehabilitate his right knee with the 49ers without having him count toward the 53-man roster. Another running back, Jewel Hampton, spent most of the 2012 season on the NFI list last year.
Hampton is another reason why the 49ers can afford to take their time with Lattimore. They have depth at the position, including him, Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James and Anthony Dixon. Hunter should be back for training camp after tearing his Achilles tendon Nov. 25.
Lattimore, meanwhile, tore three ligaments in his right knee late in the second quarter in October. He said he has been sprinting for the last two weeks and has vowed to be ready for the 2013 season.
Harbaugh, however, says there's no rush and that Lattimore would not be on the practice field anytime soon.
In fact, he said he's concerned that some draft-eligible players coming off of injuries push themselves too hard in the run-up to the draft to impress teams. Second-round pick Tank Carradine, for example, went through a gauntlet of drills this month just 135 days after ACL surgery.
"These guys are competitive and (they have) the opportunity to show what they can do, all the people coming in to work you out - as a competitor you want to take it to the limit," Harbaugh said. "Yes, that does worry me."
-- Matt Barrows
April 27, 2013
British discus thrower Lawrence Okoye, who visited the 49ers before the draft, will sign with the team as an undrafted free agent, he announced on Twitter. The 49ers also signed 6-8 offensive tackle Luke Marquardt, who played at Azusa Pacific, according to a league source.
Okoye, 21, turned heads at the super regional combine in Dallas this month with his combination of size -- 6-6, 305 pounds -- and speed. However, he's never played American football in his life and it will be up to defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, who has a background in coaching European players, to teach him his new craft. He will start out as a defensive end for the 49ers.
Asked what he thought of Okoye, Jim Harbaugh said, "Inadequate -- that was my first impression standing next to him." Harbaugh called Okoye "an Adonis, a great physical specimen of a man" and said, "Our creator created a beautiful man."
Harbaugh noted that Okoye didn't start throwing the discus until he was 18, and two years later was in the Olympics. " ... That he's taking on football in this time of his life, I can see this guy doing it."
To read more about Okoye, click here.
The 49ers also have signed:
TE-HB Marqueis Gray, Minnesota (played QB at Minnesota)
G Patrick Omameh, Michigan.
LS Kevin McDermott, UCLA (Scout.com)
OL Sherman Carter, Tennessee State
DT Mike Purcell ,Wyoming
CB Darryl Morris, Texas State
WR, Chuck Jacobs, Utah State
LB, Alex Debniak, Stanford
CB Lowell Rose, Tulsa
RB DJ Harper, Boise State
-- Matt Barrows
The 49ers rounded out their 11-man draft draft by finding a swing tackle, Iowa State's Carter Bykowski, and a cornerback, Marcus Cooper from Rutgers.
The 49ers have plenty of depth on the interior of their offensive line after drafting Daniel Kilgore and Joe Looney the last two years. Tackle, however, is thinner. Starting guard Alex Boone would have had to move to tackle if there were any long-term injuries last year.
Like left tackle Joe Staley, Bykowski began his college career as a tight end and weighed 245 pounds when he played the position. He now weighs about 305 pounds and can play on either side of the line. He was a right tackle as a junior and played left tackle this past season.
Cooper, meanwhile, only was a part-time starter for Rutgers last season, and because of that he didn't expect to be drafted. "My agent said to come in with the mindset as a free agent, and if you get drafted take it as a blessing."
Still, he had an excellent showing at Rutgers' pro day last month, running the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds and adding a vertical leap of 39 inches and a broad jump of 10 feet, nine inches.
His size - 6-2, 192 - caught the attention of the 49ers, who have been sniffing around tall cornerbacks all offseason and who signed 6-2 Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency. "With the bigger receivers coming in these days, you have to have bigger cornerbacks," Cooper said. " And that worked to my advantage."
-- Matt Barrows
April 27, 2013
Some observers figured the 49ers might select a mobile quarterback who, one day at least, might be able to substitute for Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco's diverse offense. Few thought it might be B.J. Daniels.
The former University of South Florida product has worked out for teams at wide receiver and running back, but he said Jim Harbaugh today told him he'd be given a chance to compete at quarterback for the 49ers. He'll likely vie with Scott Tolzien for the role of third quarterback, and his athleticism would seem to give him value on the practice squad as well. He certainly would offer a good show-team look for Seattle's Russell Wilson.
Daniels (5-11, 222 pounds) rushed for 426 rushing yards and five touchdowns in 2012 before a broken ankle ended his season in November. He has recovered from the injury and was running for scouts before the draft. He had 601 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns in 2011.
Daniels said he's familiar with Kaepernick and thinks he can do some of the things that allowed Kaepernick to take the league by storm last season. "Very comfortable," he said when asked about the read-option offense. "It's something I've done dating back to my freshman year in high school."
He's also very familiar with 49ers linebackers coach Jim Leavitt, who was the head coach at USF until 2011. Leavitt recruited Daniels. "He's a really good friend and a close friend of the family, and I have a lot of respect for him," Daniels said.
-- Matt Barrows
April 27, 2013
The 49ers drafted a potential special teams ace in the sixth round in Nick Moody, a safety-turned-linebacker from Florida State. "I expect to contribute immediately on special teams," said Moody (6-1, 237). "I knew that coming into the draft."
After a steller 2011 season, the 49ers' coverage units declined last season, and they gave up a Super Bowl record 108-yard kickoff return to open the second half against the Ravens. The 49ers began addressing that area in free agency by signing Dan Skuta, a linebacker, and Marlon Moore, a wide receiver.
Moody, meanwhile, played three seasons as a safety at Florida State before switching to inside linebacker last season. He said that because of the recent conversion he feels he's got plenty of room to grow and that he looked forward to learning from Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman. Willis, in fact, was his inspiration when he learned he would become a linebacker.
Moody started 10 games at linebacker in 2012, finishing with 20 tackles. He had three tackles and his first sack in the Orange Bowl against Northern Illinois.
The Florida State product, of course, is very familiar with Tank Carradine, whom the 49ers selected in the second round. He said he and Carradine became close in part because they both love pitbulls.
"They're getting an animal, to be frank," Moody said of Carradine. "He's an extremely hard worker. ... he's strong as an ox, he loves the game."
-- Matt Barrows
April 27, 2013
The 49ers, who had not drafted a defensive linemen since 2009, have taken two in the last two days. The latest came in the fifth round with Alabama's Quinton Dial, who at 6-5, 318 pounds has the prototypical size to play defensive end in San Francisco's 3-4 scheme.
Dial, however, said he played all over the defensive line for the Crimson Tide and figures the 49ers will use him in multiple spots, including at nose tackle. "I'm a versatile defensive lineman that can play multiple positions," Dial said.
Dial also received plenty on unwanted attention following a vicious blindside hit on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray following an interception in the SEC championship game.
"Well, the quarterback threw an interception and the guy that intercepted the ball was running down the sideline and the quarterback was running toward the play," Dial said. "So, I just threw a block and hit the quarterback, and everybody made a big deal about it. That was what I was taught to do, is take out anybody I can see. So, I saw the opportunity and took it."
Dial visited Santa Clara earlier this month, the only one of the team's picks so far who visited the team in the month before the draft. In the second round,. The 49ers took defensive lineman Tank Carradine out of Florida State. It's unknown when Carradine, who suffered an ACL tear Nov. 24, will be able to return to full practices.
-- Matt Barrows
The advantage of having an already-loaded roster on draft day is that a team can take gambles needier opponents can't afford to make.
The 49ers did that in the fourth round Saturday, selecting one of the most talented running backs in the nation but one who suffered perhaps the most gruesome injury of 2012.
South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore already had scored a touchdown and gained 65 yards in the second quarter on Oct. 27 when he was submarined by a Tennessee defender and immediately began clutching his right knee. The hit left him with three torn knee ligaments, a dislocated knee cap and six months of intense rehabilitation.
The injury was doubly painful considering that he suffered a torn ACL in the other knee the previous season. "Right after it happened I doubted myself," Lattimore said Saturday when asked if he ever gave up on making it to the NFL. "I did do that, and I lost hope."
April 26, 2013
While some teams that scouted Tank Carradine envisioned the 273-pounder as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, the 49ers see him putting on weight and putting his hand on the ground as a defensive end. General manager Trent Baalke said Carradine could play a range of positions - defensive end (like Justin Smith and Ray McDonald) in the team's base defense or any of the four defensive-line spots in the sub package.
"He's going to play down," Baalke said. "He's not an outside linebacker. In our system - it's one of the things we really like is his versatility. He's a little bit bigger than Ray was when Ray came out."
McDonald was listed as 6-4, 276 pounds when he came out of college. He now weighs about 290 pounds. Smith, meanwhile, was a 267-pound defensive end out of Missouri. He now weighs closer to 300 pounds. Baalke said he thought Carradine could get into that range.
"We think he has the frame to do that," he said. "We definitely think there's room for growth, but you never know until you get your hand on him."
The bigger question, for the start of 2013 at least, is Carradine's surgically repaired knee. Baalke said the Florida State product was actually "a little cleaner" medically than McDonald, who also had knee issues coming out of college.
"That remains to be to seen," Baalke said. "We're very confident in what we know of the condition. Our medical staff has taken a close look at him, and we spent several hours yesterday reviewing his file and going through it with all the doctors up in Stanford. The time frame - that's really up to the medical staff."
One more note on Carradine: The Florida State web page lists his birthday as 2/18/1989, which would make him 24 and thus a bit older than most rookies. In fact, his birthday is actually 2/18/1990, which makes him 23.
- Matt Barrows
After taking Tank Carradine in the second round, the 49ers beefed up their pass rush a little further in the third round. They selected Corey Lemonier, who played defensive end at Auburn but who projects to outside linebacker in the 49ers' 3-4 defense.
Lemonier said he had no idea the 49ers were interested and that he's had little interaction with them in the run-up to the draft. "It's a great defense," he said. "And I'm humbled to be a part of it."
Lemonier certainly sounded surprised. During a breathless conference call with reporters, he said that John Harbaugh called to tell him he had been picked by the 49ers. "Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry!" he said when told of the error.
For the second time Friday, the 49ers made a deal with Green Bay to make the pick. They gave the Packers a third-round pick (No. 93) and seventh-round pick (No. 216) to move up five spots to No. 88.
Lemonier, listed at 6-4, 240 pounds, had 9 1/2 sacks for Auburn in 2011. Those numbers dipped a bit last year. He started three fewer games and finished with 5 1/2 sacks to go along with 34 tackles. Like Carradine, Vance McDonald and Eric Reid, Lemonier has very long arms -- 34 1/2 inches each.
The 49ers, who were short on outside linebackers a year ago, now have an abundance of them. They have Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Parys Haralson, Darius Fleming, Cam Johnson and Lemonier. Haralson, Fleming and Johnson all had surgery before the 2013 season; Smith had surgery after it.
-- Matt Barrows
April 26, 2013
The 49ers made their third trade of the draft, this time trading up six slots to grab Rice tight end Vance McDonald.
As was the case Thursday, the 49ers used a high pick to replace a player who departed via free agency. Delanie Walker was in on 57 percent of the team's offensive snaps last season before signing with the Titans in March. McDonald (6-4, 262 pounds) will be expected to fill Walker's role and perhaps become a red-zone threat the 49ers have been missing in recent seasons.
In fact, McDonald and Walker have similar backgrounds. Walker played wide receiver in college before the 49ers drafted him in the sixth round in 2006. McDonald, meanwhile, was used as a slot receiver as a junior at Rice. As a senior, he was used more as a traditional tight end. He had 36 catches for 458 yards and two touchdowns last season and is a good blocker.
Asked about his blocking, McDonald said it's a work in progress. "I know I'm very underdeveloped and I have a lot of raw potential," he said from his home Winnie, Texas. "And that's (blocking) is one area I put a lot of emphasis on."
That the 49ers used the No. 55 pick on a No. 2 tight end also shows how important two-tight end sets are to the team. In a league in which three-wide receiver formations are becoming standard, the 49ers are committed to a power-based formation from which they can both run and throw.
The 49ers dealt their remaining second-round pick, No. 61, and a sixth-round pick (No. 174) to the Packers so that they could take McDonald.
-- Matt Barrows
Sometimes draft crushes come true.
After trading down in the second round, the 49ers selected Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine, 6-5, 273 pounds, with the 40th overall pick. Carradine, who is recovering from a ACL tear suffered in late November, is expected to play outside linebacker initially in the 49ers' 3-4 scheme.
The 49ers sent defensive line coach Jim Tomsula to Cincinnati last week for Carradine's private workout, which occurred just 135 days after knee surgery. Tomsula and Carradine had dinner the night before the workout.
Carradine, 23, was a first-time starter last year, filling in when the regular starter went down with a foot injury. He had 80 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 11 sacks before going down with his own injury against Florida. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews cleared Carradine to begin running before his Saturday workout.
April 26, 2013
The 49ers now have 10 picks in the 2014 draft after a trade with the Titans early in the second round. The 49ers gave up the no. 34 pick for the Titans' no. 40 pick and no. 216 pick (7th round) this year as well as a third-round pick next year.
The 49ers already had two extra picks next year after trading Alex Smith to the Chiefs and safety Colin Jones to the Panthers. The Smith pick is a third-round selection that could improve to a second-round pick if Smith and the Chiefs excel next season.
The Titans ended up drafting Tennessee wideout Justin Hunter at pick no. 34. The Eagles selected Stanford tight end Zach Ertz at no. 35.
-- Matt Barrows
April 26, 2013
Hey, Donte Whitner. Eric Reid is looking for you.
No, the 49ers' first-round draft pick isn't gunning for the veteran's job. Instead he wants to pick Whitner's brain. Whitner, after all, has played seven years in the league and calls the plays for the 49ers' secondary. "I'm going to be a sponge, just learn as much as I can from him," Reid said at his introductory press conference today. "He's a vet, a guy that's going to show me how to get stuff done."
After trading up 13 spots, Reid is expected to take over the starting role opposite Whitner at some point this season. In fact, every safety taken in the first round in the last three years - Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, Mark Barron and Harrison Smith - started all 16 games their rookie seasons.
Safety, however, is more nuanced and demands more study than perhaps any other spot on defense. And Reid seems to recognize that a starting role won't be handed to him. The 49ers also signed Craig Dahl to a modest, three-year deal, and he is expected to be a placeholder for Reid while he learns the position.
April 26, 2013
The NFL draft is in full swing. Join Matt Barrows in a live chat at 11 a.m. today as he breaks down what it means for the team's future. Jason Jones follows with the Raiders at noon.
April 26, 2013
Unless he gets an offer he can't refuse, Trent Baalke says he's staying put with his next pick and he knows "absolutely" who he's taking. He won't have to wait long. The 49ers have the second pick in Round 2, No. 34. The Jaguars, who went with offensive tackle Luke Joeckel in the first round, pick first, and the expectation is that a quarterback will be taken in that slot.
Who do the 49ers take? Choices abound. They can go with a local player, Stanford tight end Zack Ertz or Cal receiver Keenan Allen. They can opt for a risk-reward pick in Florida State pass rusher Tank Carradine, who is recovering from an ACL tear. Or they could go with a mystery candidate who hasn't been linked very often with the 49ers such as cornerback Jamar Taylor or outside linebacker Corey Lemonier from Auburn. The 49ers also have pick No. 61 (2nd) and No. 93 (3rd) today.
I spoke with CBS Sports analyst Rob Rang who said the strength of the draft as Round 2 begins is at receiver. He highlighted Tennessee's Justin Hunter as someone who would be a nice fit for the 49ers. "Because Randy Moss at least presented you with the threat of a downfield receiver," Rang said. "And that's what Justin Hunter would provide early on. He's an excellent athlete."
April 26, 2013
Here's the post-Round 1 press conference with Trent Baalke, who talks about Eric Reid and about how the trade with the Cowboys came about.
How did the trade go down with Dallas? Is this something you had planned the last couple of days, figuring that might be the slot where you actually go and get S Eric Reid?
TB: "Yeah, it's something I was visiting with [Dallas Cowboys chief operation officer/director of player personnel] Stephen Jones about the last couple of days. We had worked out the details really this morning, as to if our guy was there and if they were still willing to move back, we had the parameters worked out. It was really an easy trade on the clock."
When you talked about that, do you tell him who you want?
TB: "No. We don't talk about who we want. If our player was there we would be willing to move up, if he wasn't then we would have stayed pat or maybe looked at a different option."
Did you have different spots in the draft and different conversations with teams like the ones you had with the Cowboys?
TB: "We had a lot of conversations. This was a busy week. There were a lot of teams that were looking to do different things. Obviously in our case, teams wanting to move back and other teams calling us to see if we were willing to move up. There was a lot of talk. Probably thought there was going to be a few more trades that happened than really did, but it was an active week."
April 25, 2013
The 49ers on Thursday offered an example of how they'll conduct business in coming years.
In March, they allowed a pricey veteran, safety Dashon Goldson, to sign elsewhere in free agency. In April, they replaced him in the draft.
San Francisco traded up 13 slots in the first round for LSU safety Eric Reid, who at 6-2, 210 pounds will be expected to take over Goldson's long-time role as the team's enforcer out of the secondary.
"We feel good about his ability to insert and play a physical brand of football," said general manager Trent Baalke. "Heady ball player. He triggers fast on the run, he reacts well to the pass. It's about learning the angles to the pro game and learning the speed of the pro game. But we feel very confident he's going to be able to do that and do it quickly."
A bonus for the 49ers - Reid, 21, already was very familiar to coach Jim Harbaugh, who recruited him heavily to play at Stanford. Harbaugh said he figured he'd have a hard time convincing Eric Reid, Sr., a three-time All-American hurdler at LSU, that his son should go to school in California. But he thought he had an in with the player's mother, Sharon, who stressed academics to her son and who exchanged a number of emails with Harbaugh four years ago.
The younger Reid, who was was born in Baton Rouge and who was rated the state's top defensive player in high school, said he "bled purple and gold" and ultimately chose his hometown university. Still, he noted that Stanford was the only team that recruited him as energetically as LSU.
"The story comes full circle that he ended up drafting me," said a jubilant Reid, via phone, from New York.
Said Harbaugh: "This time Eric had no choice in the matter, and it feels good to have him."
April 25, 2013
Eric Reid did not visit Santa Clara in the run-up to the draft. But he did have a long conversation with Jim Harbaugh at the scouting combine in February. The topic: Why Reid, whom Harbaugh and Stanford energetically recruited, decided to play at LSU instead.
"The story comes full circle that he ended up drafting me," Reid said, via phone, from New York.
The reason he chose the Tigers over the Cardinal, Reid said, is because he is from Louisiana. He was born in Baton Rouge and "bled purple and gold." Still, he noted that Stanford was the only team that recruited him as heavily as LSU. Reid was rated as the top defensive player in Louisiana by Rivals.com. Asked to describe his style of play, the first word Reid used was "cerebral." Indeed, he was named to the SEC academic honor roll the last two seasons, and his high school transcript passed muster for Stanford.
Reid also said that his mother, Sharon, hoped he was picked by the 49ers. Why? Because Sharon Reid is a traveling nurse who makes regular trips to San Jose. The 49ers' practice facility is just a few miles away in Santa Clara, and the team will begin playing its home games there in 2014.
"She's been going back and forth to California since I was in middle school," he said.
Reid also said he looked forward to playing for assistant secondary coach Greg Jackson, who played safety at LSU from 1985-88.
-- Matt Barrows
April 25, 2013
The 49ers sprung ahead for Dashon Goldson's replacement today, moving up 13 spots for LSU safety Eric Reid. Like Goldson, who departed via free agency, Reid stands out for his size, 6-2, 210, and his reputation as a big hitter. Free-agent pickup Craig Dahl may start the season opposite Donte Whitner but Reid, 21, will be expected to take over at some point, especially since the 49ers gave up extra picks to get him.
San Francisco traded its 31st overall pick and its first of two third-round picks, No. 74 overall, to Dallas at pick No. 18 to get Reid, who left school after his junior season. A two-year starter who called the defensive plays for the Tigers, Reid finished the 2012 season with 91 tackles, seven pass break ups and two interceptions.
"It really stands out," coach Jim Harbaugh told the team's web site. "He believes that he's a winner all the way and champion kind of guy and football player. I can't wait to have him here in our home in Santa Clara. I'm sure he's excited to have the process start and know the team that wanted him the most."
General manager Trent Baalke prefers players from big schools, and Reid fits that criterion. The 49ers reportedly spent a lot of time scouting Reid this season and one of their top scouts, Justin Chabot, attended Reid's pro day. In selecting Reid, the 49ers passed over Florida defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd, who is falling farther than prognosticators predicted.
The 49ers have an abundance of safeties on the roster, though only Whitner and Dahl have any real experience. In addition, they have C.J. Spillman, Darcel McBath, Trenton Robinson and Michael Thomas.
Reid is attending the draft in New York and is scheduled to speak with Bay Area reporters around 7:45 p.m.
-- Matt Barrows
A 49ers squad that has been flummoxed by small, shifty slot receivers will have to deal with another one - twice a year, once on turf - starting in 2013. The Rams traded up eight slots to take West Virginia receiver/running back Tavon Austin, who presumably will replace Danny Amendola as Sam Bradford's top third-down weapon. The 49ers did not beat the Rams last season. Both games went to overtime; the teams tied once and the Rams won the other.
Austin, who weighs just 173 pounds, was one of the players who visited the 49ers before the draft, and there was some speculation that San Francisco could trade up to select him. Instead the rams made the move. Austin had 1,289 receiving yards last season and scored 12 touchdowns. St. Louis gave up the No. 16 and No. 46 overall picks to Buffalo, and the teams swapped picks in the third round.
Starting cornerback Carlos Rogers has played very well against outside receivers in two seasons in San Francisco. However, he's had trouble with slot receivers like Victor Cruz, Amendola and Percy Harvin, who is now with the division-rival Seahawks.
The 49ers currently have five cornerbacks on the roster and are expected to take at least one in the next three days. They have shown a lot of interest in former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, who likely will be taken in the third round.
Meanwhile, the pass-protection-challenged Cardinals selected a guard, UNC's Jonathan Cooper, with the No. 7 overall pick. That likely means that ex-49er Chilo Rachal, obtained via free agency, is not pegged to start for Arizona.
-- Matt Barrows
April 25, 2013
There's an increasing amount of chatter this morning that the 49ers will trade up in the first round into the top 15, presumably for a defensive linemen. The most plausible spot is No. 13, which is currently held by the Jets. Why does this make sense? First, the Jets have a lot of holes to fill and could use the extra picks from a trade. Second, the 49ers would need to get ahead of the Panthers at pick No. 14 because they also could use a defensive linemen.
Who's the target? My guess - as it's been for nearly a month - is Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. He's very athletic for his size - 6-3, 290 - has long arms (Trent Baalke loooooves long arms) and played in the best conference, the SEC, last year. Richardson could be a situational pass rusher this year while spelling starters Ray McDonald and Justin Smith. Next year he could perhaps take over Smith's starting role at right defensive end.
Another possibility is Utah's Star Loutoleile, another big but light-footed lineman who could play all three defensive line spots for the 49ers. A safety - Kenny Vacarro from Texas - would address the team's biggest immediate need. The 49ers probably would have to get ahead of the Rams at No. 16 for a shot at Vaccaro. My sense is that another possible target, West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin, will be gone before the 49ers are ready to pounce.
Let's say the 49ers trade with the Jets for No. 13. What would the 49ers have to give up? According to the draft trade chart, the 13th overall pick is worth 1,150 points. San Francisco's 31st pick is worth 600 points and its 34th pick is worth 560, so the team's first two picks are possible compensation. But there are plenty of other combinations. A package of 31, 61 and 74 and so on would get the 49ers close.
(1st round) 31; ( 2nd) 34, 61; (3rd) 74, 93; (4th) 128, 131; (5th) 157; (6th) 173, 180; (7th) 237, 242, 252.
-- Matt Barrows
April 24, 2013
One idea on which everyone seems to agree when it comes to the 49ers' draft: Despite having 13 picks today, they will not have 13 prospects by the end of Saturday. The team has moved up, moved back and traded into future drafts in recent years, and they are expected to do each of those things - perhaps more than once - this week. With that in mind, there's no sense in a 1-13 prediction of whom they'll take. Instead, let's go round by round.
First (No. 31): There's now a lot a chatter that the 49ers will move up, and if they do, it's easy to see them targeting a defensive lineman. Stay put, and a safety or cornerback or maybe even a wide receiver makes sense.
Targets: Sheldon Richardson, DL, Missouri; Star Lotuleile, DL Utah; Tank Carradine, DE/OLB Florida State; Datone Jone, DL, UCLA, Sylvester Williams, DL, North Carolina; Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International; D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston; Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State; Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia; Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee.
This is the video from Tank Carradine's recent workout. He's obviously not 100 percent recovered from ACL surgery 4 1/2 months ago (Notice he dips well on his left knee but not his injured right). Also notice the guy filming in the background. It's 49ers DL coach Jim Tomsula. Nice red shoes, Jim.
Second (Nos. 34, 61): It's quite possible the 49ers also could trade down at No. 31 or No. 34 with a team seeking a quarterback. If they stay put, this seems like a spot for safety, cornerback or tight end.
Targets: Cyprien; Eric Reid, S, LSU; D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina; Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut; David Amerson, CB, N.C. State; Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford; Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati; Kawann Short, DL, Purdue; John Jenkins, DL, Georgia; Jesse Williams, DL, Alabama.
The NFL draft takes place April 25 and the 49ers have 13 picks, including two in the second, third and fourth rounds. This year's draft is thought to be lacking in sure-fire stars at the top but crowded with good players in the middle rounds. Join Matthew Barrows for a live chat on the draft and the 49ers at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Jason Jones follows with the Oakland Raiders at noon.
April 23, 2013
Not only did the 49ers attend the Monday workout of Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden, they sent one of their top assistant coaches, Ed Donatell. This according to NFL.com's Gil Brandt, who wrote that 15 teams were on hand to watch Hayden (5-11 Â½, 192 pounds).
Hayden is considered one of the top two or three cornerbacks in the draft. Indeed, NFL.com's Mike Mayock recently moved him ahead of Alabama's Dee Milliner as his No. 1-rated cornerback. The reason Hayden could drop as far as No. 31 and the 49ers is because some teams might be concerned about his medical background.
Hayden was rushed to the hospital in November after suffering a hit in practice that tore a major vein - the inferior vena cava - that feeds his heart. The injury normally is associated with car crashes, and Hayden spent six days in the hospital, initially in critical condition, before he was released.
Most teams have cleared Hayden medically during the pre-draft process. He was unable to finish his workout at Houston's pro day last month not because of his heart, but because of a pulled hamstring. Hayden broke up 11 passes and made two interceptions in 2011. He had eight pass break ups and four interceptions in nine games a year ago.
April 22, 2013
You had me at 'Tank Carradine.'
I mean, the name alone is out of central casting for a defensive lineman.
Idea for movie: Long-armed defensive end comes out of nowhere to lead college team in sacks, goes down with devastating injury only to bounce back and become a first-round NFL pick. Main character's name should be something masculine. Maybe Rock Stockton? Or Rhino McSwett? R.J. Hammerheart? I know - Tank Carradine!
Ah, but the armor-plated nickname is not the only reason Cornelius "Tank" Carradine gets my draft-crush rose this year. Finding a crush at pick No. 31 is no easy task. There are no obvious choices that deep in the first round. The winner has to have the rare mix of specialness, which secures him the title, and flaws that would send him nearly out of the first round.
Carradine has that blend. He's a one-year starter who only got his starting role at Florida State when Brandon Jenkins went down with a Lisfranc injury in the season opener. Most of Carradine's college experience came at Butler (Kansas) Community College. That alone should give teams pause.
More than that, however, is the elephant in the room: Carradine isn't even five months removed from ACL surgery. He tore his right ACL Nov. 24. Carradine will sign a four-year deal with any team that drafts him, and a reasonable question is, how effective can he be his rookie season? If a quarter of his first-contract production is spent rehabilitating, is he worth a first-round pick?
April 20, 2013
Just 135 days since surgery to repair a torn ACL, Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine ran a 40-yard dash reprtedly in 4.75 to 4.85 seconds. To put that in perspective, 4.75 seconds would have been one of the better 40 times posted by a defensive end at the scouting combine in February. Fellow Florida State defensive lineman Bjoern Werner, for example, ran his 40-yard dash in 4.83 seconds at the combine.
Carradine worked out in his native Cincinnati, and the session was attended by scouts from a dozen teams, including the 49ers. In fact, San Francisco sent defensive line coach Jim Tomsula to the workout, and he and Carradine had dinner on Friday night, according to a league source. The Chiefs, Lions, Browns, Saints, Bengals, Vikings, Colts, Broncos, Patriots, Falcons and Ravens also attended the workout.
Carradine, who measures 6-5, 273 pounds, played right defensive end for the Seminoles and was the team's leader in sacks (11) and tackles before he went down with an ACL tear in November. He had surgery in early December, and now teams must figure out how to rate him in the draft.
April 19, 2013
Larry Grant, who showed he was a starting-caliber linebacker when he filled in well for injured Patrick Willis in 2011, has only received tepid interest as a free agent. On Friday, the league revealed why.
Grant has been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances. Grant (Foothill High) has made free-agent visits to the Chiefs and Patriots but has not signed with any teams. Despite the suspension, Grant is able to take part in offseason practices and preseason games once he signs with a team.
Grant started three games at the end of 2011 and finished with 39 tackles and a forced fumble that preserved a win in Seattle. He mostly played special teams for the 49ers in 2012, recording a blocked punt in a blowout win over the Jets.
Grant's agent declined comment.
-- Matt Barrows
For the second time in two and a half months, the 49ers have issued a statement about cornerback Chris Culliver and insensitive remarks.
This time Culliver is in the spotlight for posting an Instagram conversation in which women are referred to as "bitch" and "hoes." The San Francisco Chronicle has a screen grab of the conversation here. The 49ers issued a statement from general manager Trent Baalke saying, "We are aware of the matter, and it is being handled internally."
Culliver made national headlines before the Super Bowl when, during Media Day, he told a Los Angeles-based shock jock that gays would not be welcomed in the 49ers locker room. Culliver quickly apologized, has taken sensitivity training and recently became involved with the Trevor Project, a group that provides crisis and suicide intervention to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.
Culliver played well at cornerback during the 2012 regular season. But his comments about gays in the locker room were followed by the worst game of his professional career in the Super Bowl, one that included a blown coverage and a mistackle on a 56-yard touchdown catch by Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones.
The 49ers have a more crowded secondary than they did a year ago. All five cornerbacks from 2012 are back, and the team also signed free agent Nnamdi Asomugha earlier this month. The 49ers also could use one of their 13 draft picks on a cornerback. They have hosted at least two this month - Houston's D.J. Hayden and LSU's Tyrann Matthieu.
- Matt Barrows
April 18, 2013
The 49ers will open their last season at venerable Candlestick Park with a game against the Packers and they will play the final regular-season game there against the Falcons. (Obviously, the 49ers are hoping for another game -- or two -- there in the postseason). Below is a week-by-week look at the team's 2013 schedule.
There are five games in prime time, including two on Monday Night Football and one -- in Week 4 against St. Louis -- on Thursday. There are two 10 a.m. starts, including the Oct. 27 game in London. Four of the first five games are against playoff teams. but to me the toughest stretch is between Weeks 11 and 15 when they will travel more than 13,000 miles in a little more than a month.
Week 1 vs. Green Bay. Sunday, Sept. 8, 1:25 p.m.
Mike McCarthy and his staff went back to school this offseason to figure out how to stop the read-option. Professor Colin Kaepernick will administer their final exam.
Week 2 @ Seattle. Sunday, Sept. 15, 5:30 p.m.
Rumor has it that the Seahawks pump in artificial noise to raise the volume at their home stadium. Of course, Richard Sherman's mouth also could account for the increased decibel level.
Week 3 vs. Indianapolis. Sunday, Sept. 22, 1:25 p.m
Jim Harbaugh's most famous protege returns to the Bay Area to take on his old coach. Yup, tight end Coby Fleener and the Colts will be in town. Andrew Luck, too.
Week 4 @ St. Louis. Thursday, Sept. 26, 5:25 p.m.
The 49ers did not beat the Rams in 2012 but San Francisco has a big advantage this year - David Akers no longer is on the squad.
Week 5 vs. Houston. Sunday, Oct. 6, 5:30 p.m.
Has the 49ers pass defense improved since the playoffs? Matt Shaub, Andre Johnson and the Texans will give it a good test. (There is nothing funny to say about this game).
April 18, 2013
For the second straight year, the 49ers will open the season against Green Bay, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The game will be at Candlestick Park on Sept. 8 with the kickoff at 1:25 p.m.
The teams met in Green Bay in Week 1 in 2012, a game in which Alex Smith outdueled Aaron Rodgers and one that the 49ers won 30-22. The Packers and 49ers played again in the divisional round of the playoffs, and this time Colin Kaepernick was the quarterback.
He rushed for 181 yards -- an NFL record for a quarterback -- and the San Francisco offense racked up 579 yards overall. That's been an offseason rallying cry for the Packers, whose coaching staff turned to the college ranks to figure out how to stop the read-option offense that Kaepernick ran to such devastating effect against them.
-- Matt Barrows
April 17, 2013
Former Seahawks tight end Cameron Morrah will join Vernon Davis, Garrett Celek and, more than likely, a draft pick in Santa Clara this offseason after agreeing to a deal with the 49ers, a source confirmed.
Morrah, who played at Cal, was a seventh-round pick by the Seahawks in 2009. He has good size -- 6-3 251 pounds -- but an injury history. Seattle released him before the start of the 2012 season after he struggled with a toe injury. Morrah did not play last season.
Morrah, 26, never had more than nine catches in any of the three seasons he spent in Seattle, and he never has scored an NFL touchdown. News of his imminent signing first was reported by CBS Sports.
The 49ers had two draft-able tight ends, Stanford's Zach Ertz and San Jose State's Ryan Otten, at their facility today. They also have hosted Cincinnati's Travis Kelce, who like Ertz is considered one of the top 5 tight ends in the draft, and they have spent time with other would-be draft picks at the position.
That is, the team is widely expected to draft a tight end next week, and Morrah's addition is unlikely to alter those plans.
-- Matt Barrows
April 17, 2013
One of the biggest stories in the upcoming draft is that the 49ers have more picks - 13 - than any other team in the draft. They're already looking at a nice haul for next year as well.
"We've already got, I believe, it's nine or 10 (picks) for next year," general manager Trent Baalke said today.
In addition to having one pick each in the first seven rounds, the 49ers have an extra pick, believed to be a seventh rounder, from the trade that sent backup safety Colin Jones to the Panthers a year ago. Another is from the March trade that sent quarterback Alex Smith to the Chiefs. As of now, it's a third-round pick, but it could improve to a second rounder if certain parameters are met.
Presumably the possible 10th pick Baalke referred to would come if the team were awarded a compensatory pick for the free agents it lost this year.
It's impossible for good teams to keep all of their top players for the long haul. Indeed, several prominent 49ers, including quarterback Colin Kaepernick, receiver Michael Crabtree, guard Mike Iupati and linebacker Aldon Smith will be eligible for free agency in two years, and the team is not expected to keep all of them.
General manager Trent Baalke today said that defensive lineman Justin Smith has "no restrictions, no limitations" following February surgery to repair his triceps tendon and that both Smith and Aldon Smith will "be fine" for the upcoming season.
Aldon Smith had surgery to repair a labrum tear in late February.
"They might be a little conservative with it at this stage, which you'd expect them to be," Baalke said of Justin Smith. "Aldon's coming along as well. He's probably not as far along (as Justin Smith), but he's certainly getting back."
Asked if Justin Smith has returned to the weight room, a smile came across Baalke's face. "Oh yeah," he said. "Oh yeah."
Baalke said that he and Nnamdi Asomugha had three meetings, including an Easter lunch, before the 49ers signed the veteran cornerback to a one-year deal. The purpose, Baalke said, was transparency.
The 49ers will attend the Saturday workout of Florida State defensive lineman Tank Carradine, a legitimate possibility for the team in the first round. Carradine was leading the Seminoles in sacks (11) when he suffered an ACL injury that ended his season. He had surgery Dec. 6 and has not been able to run for scouts until now.
It's not known whether Carradine is one of the 30 players who have visited the 49ers over the last month. (Wednesday is the last day prospects can visit). However, he fits the parameters of someone the team might bring in so that officials can gather more information. That is, he is coming off an injury, he was only a one-year starter at Florida State after beginning his college career at Butler (Kansas) Community College and he plays defensive line, a position the 49ers could stand to bolster in the coming years.
Starting defensive lineman Justin Smith is recovering nicely from triceps tendon surgery, and he should be at full strength for the start of the season if not training camp. However, he's entering the final year of his contract, turns 34 this season, and the 49ers would be wise to find an heir who can pair with Aldon Smith on the defensive front and help protect two other long-term 49ers investments, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, in the running game.
Perhaps as many as 10 players who either grew up in the Bay Area or played here in college will be drafted next week. All of them at least are eligible to attend the 49ers' so-called "local" pro day on Wednesday.
The player in that group who could be drafted the highest, Cal receiver, Keenan Allen, will not be on hand, his agent said this week. Allen, who still is recovering from an October knee injury, is making several pre-draft visits this week. His brother, Cal quarterback Zach Maynard, will be on hand.
Citing league sources, ESPN's Adam Schefter today reported that Allen was red-flagged after taking a drug test at the combine and was re-tested this month. His agent told ESPN that the receiver did not fail a drug test and that the reexamination was due to his knee injury. Allen is expecting to be taken some time in the first round.
The other local player with first-round potential is Stanford tight end Zack Ertz. He will attend Wednesday's session but will not work out, his agent said. There was a heavy 49ers presence at Stanford's pro day last month.
The 49ers have not released a list of attendees. However, here are the draft-eligible players from the three major local universities:
Cal: RB C.J. Anderson, CB Marc Anthony, DB Josh Hill, QB Zach Maynard, DL Kendrick Payne, C Brian Schwenke, RB Isi Sofele, FB Eric Stevens, G Matt Summers-Gavin, DT Aaron Tipoti, CB Steve Williams
April 15, 2013
*****UPDATED***** The 49ers announced that Brock did in fact sign his one-year tender.
Restricted free agent Tramaine Brock will sign his $1.323 million tender today, setting up one of the 49ers' better offseason battles. With the addition of Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency, the 49ers now have six cornerbacks with NFL game experience - Asomugha, Brock, Tarell Brown, Perrish Cox, Chris Culliver and Carlos Rogers.
At first blush, Brock would seem to be the odd man out. After all, he was the team's no. 5 cornerback last season and rarely - 21 snaps - stepped onto the field to play defense. However, he was active for all 19 games and was a regular on special teams (63 percent of the snaps), which is a very nice ability to have when a team must reduce its roster in late August.
You could argue that another returning player, Michael Thomas, also is part of this mix. Thomas is listed as a safety, but he also can play the nickel cornerback position that Rogers and Cox play, and he also would be a factor on special teams.
In addition, the 49ers could use one or more of their 13 picks on a cornerback. Along with the Patriots, they have shown the most interest in troubled LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, who visited the team this month. Also, Adam Caplan of XM radio reported today that Houston cornerback D.J Hayden is visiting the 49ers. Hayden is one of the top prospects at the position. However, he nearly died after suffering a torn blood vessel in November, and teams must evaluate him medically before they can consider drafting him.
By signing his tender, Brock will become an unrestricted free agent next season.
Brock is one of many 49ers who will be on hand for the start of the team's offseason workout program today. Per the collective bargaining agreement, the first part of the program is limited to strength, conditioning and injury rehabilitation. Strength and conditioning coaches are allowed on the field, but position coaches, coordinators, Jim Harbaugh, etc. are not.
The 49ers will be weekend hosts to Travis Kelce, perhaps the best blocking tight end in the upcoming draft. The younger brother of Eagles center Jason Kelce, Travis only recently recovered from a sports hernia that kept him out of the combine and The University of Cincinnati's pro day.
Kelce (6-5, 255 pounds) had a private workout on Monday in which he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds. Even then he wasn't fully healthy. He was battling a viral infection at the time and couldn't complete the workout.
The 49ers are looking for another tight end after losing Delanie Walker to the Titans in free agency this year. Jim Harbaugh's power-based offense calls for plenty of two-tight-end sets, and the team ostensibly is looking for someone with Walker's versatility to play along with No. 1 tight end Vernon Davis. Walker played 57 percent of the 49ers' offensive snaps last year.
Kelce is considered one of the more complete tight ends in the draft, and he was athletic enough to get snaps as a Wildcat quarterback at Cincinnati.The 49ers also showed interest in him at the scouting combine. Kelce missed the Bearcats' 2010 season due to a violation of team rules. That and his recent medical history likely prompted the 49ers to bring him in for a visit. Kelce is expected to be drafted in the second round.
-- Matt Barrows
April 12, 2013
Perhaps the closest 'sure-thing' when it comes to the 49ers' upcoming draft: At some point, they will take a safety. After all, the team lost one of its starters at the position, Dashon Goldson, to free agency while the other, Donte Whitner, is scheduled to be a free agent next year.
Meanwhile, this year's draft is considered very solid solid from top to bottom, and the 49ers have taken close looks at prospects who likely will be taken both early and late in the draft. One of the safeties who has gotten a lot of attention from San Francisco: Josh Evans, who played opposite the more heralded Matt Elam for the Gators. Here's the list:
* John Boyett, Oregon. The 49ers sent a scout and an assistant coach to Boyett's workout at Napa High on Wednesday. Boyett still is a month away from full recovery from patella surgeries in September and October but still ran his 40-yard dash in the 4.5- and 4.6-second range, which bodes well for his recovery. How the 49ers and other teams view Boyett, who had an impressive 276 tackles and nine interceptions in three seasons in Eugene, will boil down to their medical evaluation of his knees.
* Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International. He is a distinct possibility to the 49ers at either pick No. 31 or pick No. 34. Cyprien played at a small school and has been climbing draft boards since an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl. The 49ers probably did not have as extensive a scouting report on Cyprien as they did, say, Elam, which would explain his visit.
April 11, 2013
A 6-6, 304-pound mountain of muscle who ran his 40-yard dash in 4.78 seconds and who can broad-jump nearly 10 Â½ feet? Yes, it's safe to say the 49ers are intrigued by Lawrence Okoye, who visited Santa Clara Wednesday, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Okoye's rather prominent blemish - he's never played American football before. Instead he is a British Olympic discus thrower who has a rugby background and who says he's a long-time NFL fan. Okoye's combination of size and speed caught the NFL's attention at the super regional Combine in Dallas this week, and teams - presumably including the 49ers - are looking at him as a defensive end.
"I came over to the States for warm-weather training for my discus," Okoye told theÂ London Daily MailÂ last month. "But when I saw that there was an American football regional combine taking place in Atlanta, I applied online. And when I passed, I went along.
"At the combine, I really stood out because of my size, strength and speed. I don't want to sound arrogant, but I was good on the day -- to the point that a lot of NFL clubs began talking to me immediately on the back of it. They all see me as a defensive end, which suits me just fine."
April 11, 2013
What should the 49ers do with their 13 draft picks? Matt Barrows discussed that and all issues surrounding the NFL draft coming up April 25.
April 11, 2013
The 49ers have selected two offensive linemen in each of the last three drafts, and they are eying big-bodied blockers again this year. The interior of the offensive line seems to be set with Joe Looney and Daniel Kilgore both able to play guard and center.
It's offensive tackle where the 49ers are a bit light. Veteran Leonard Davis, who could have played tackle in a pinch last year, has not been pursued in free agency. The team's only backup is Kenny Wiggins (Elk Grove High) who spent last season on injured reserve. Of course, guard Alex Boone could play either of the tackle spots in case of injury to a starter, but doing so would cause disruptions to two positions -- tackle and Boone's original spot, right guard.
The 49ers have been looking at tackles in the upcoming draft, albeit ones who will be available after round 1.
* David Quessenberry. The 6-5, 294 San Jose State offensive linemen is being looked at as someone who can play all five spots on the offensive line. He met with Jim Harbaugh when the 49ers coach visited San Jose State last month, and is invited to visit Santa Clara, presumably for the 49ers' local pro day on Wednesday. Like 49ers left tackle Joe Staley, Quessenberry began his college career as a tight end. He never missed a game at San Jose State.
Don't worry, Jim Harbaugh. Colin Kaepernick hasn't spent the entire offseason bulking up and becoming muscle-bound in the weight room.
He's been working on his speed, too.
The 49ers quarterback spent the last two weeks training with track athletes in Atlanta, including former all-American Monica Hargrove, a specialist in the 200 and 400 meters. Kaepernick, of course, ran for more than 1,000 yards in three straight seasons at Nevada and he rushed for 679 yards in just 10 starts last year for the 49ers, scoring eight touchdowns on the ground and averaging a gaudy 7.7 yards a carry.
Kaepernick's most prominent victim this past season, the Packers, turned to the college ranks this offseason for a tutorial on how to stop the read-option offense. Kaepernick ran for 181 yards - an NFL record for a quarterback - and two touchdowns in a 45-31 divisional playoff win over the Packers. The Falcons, who are scheduled to face Kaepernick and the 49ers this year, also went back to college to better learn the read-option.
But Kaepernick is trying to stay one step ahead. He believes he can get faster and more efficient with his stride, and he spent his time on the track doing just that. Stamina apparently isn't an issue for Kaepernick. At one point, he ran nine consecutive 150-meter sprints in 18 seconds or less, impressing Hargrove and the other track athletes in the process.
When he played at Napa High School, Oregon safety John Boyett never took a snap off.
He was the quarterback and starting safety. He was the holder on field goals and extra points, and he also served as the team's punter. When Napa High won the 2007 Sac-Joaquin Division I sectional championship, Boyett led the way, and he was named The Bee's player of the year for that reason.
Which helps explain why 2012 was so grueling for Boyett. The guy who never went to the sideline in high school missed virtually his entire senior season at Oregon with injuries to both knees. Boyett also had to sit back and watch while the rest of this year's safety class showed off their skills at the scouting combine in February.
On Wednesday he finally gets his day in the sun.
He'll work out at noon at Napa High School in front of a dozen or so teams, including the 49ers and Raiders. Boyett said he's not quite 100 percent but that he's pain-free for first time since before the 2011 season and is eager to prove his mettle to future employers.
"Whatever team drafts me, I can't wait to get out there and compete for a job," he said by phone Tuesday. "I love football. I'm ready to go."
April 9, 2013
Two questions: Is Keenan Allen falling in the draft, and are the 49ers the team that would catch him if he were?
The Cal wideout finally ran for scouts today following his late October posterior cruciate ligament injury, and the results weren't great. According to NFL Network's Mike Mayock, Allen ran in the 4.7-second range, which would be ok for a tight end but slow to very slow for a wideout, especially one that's expected to be taken in the first round.
The time was not a surprise to Allen, who told me last week that he was 85 percent recovered from his pesky PCL injury. Allen said he is continuing to regain strength and that he would be 100 percent in "a couple of weeks." Of course, the draft will be held in a couple of weeks, and the question now is whether teams picking in the first half of the first round would gamble on someone who hasn't been healthy for five and a half months. Mayock estimated that Allen could go anywhere from pick 25 to 45 in the draft. The 49ers have picks No. 31 and No. 34.
April 5, 2013
Signed through 2013
CB Nnamdi Asomugha
WR Anquan Boldin
CB Tramaine Brock (should he sign his RFA tender)
CB Tarell Brown
CB Perrish Cox (RFA)
K Phil Dawson
RB Anthony Dixon
DL Demarcus Dobbs (RFA)
C Jonathan Goodwin
WR Chad Hall
OLB Parys Haralson
WR Joe Hastings
WR Mario Manningham
S Darcel McBath
QB Colt McCoy
WR Marlon Moore
DL Justin Smith
QB Scott Tolzien (RFA)
DL Will Tukuafu
S Donte Whitner
LB Michael Wilhoite
WR Kyle Williams
April 5, 2013
At the scouting combine in February, general manager Trent Baalke hinted that the 49ers were exploring contract extensions with some of their young players. It turns out that one of them was right tackle Anthony Davis, who agreed to a five-year deal that keeps him under contract in San Francisco though 2019.
The contract, first reported by Pro Football Talk, is worth $37.295 million with $17 million guaranteed. Davis' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, helped broker a long-term deal with another young 49ers star, linebacker NaVorro Bowman, last season.
Davis, 23, was one of two 49ers' first-round picks in 2010 (The 49ers traded up to take him No. 11 overall), and he has made big strides at right tackle since his rookie campaign. Davis is one of two offensive lineman -- Alex Boone is the other -- who played every snap in 2012. Davis is scheduled to earn $1.3 million in base salary for the upcoming season.
He also is one of several young players whose initial contract was set to end after the 2014 season. That group includes fellow 2010 first-round pick Mike Iupati as well as receiver Michael Crabtree and 2011 draft stars Colin Kaepernick, and Aldon Smith. The 49ers can't begin working on new deals for Kaepernick and Smith until after the upcoming season.
Still, those deals are looming, especially Kaepernick's, and they are why the 49ers have not signed any big, long-term deals for free agents this year. Most have been modest one- or two-year contracts.
The 49ers are believed to have just under $4 million in salary-cap space; enough for signing their draft class.
-- Matt Barrows
What should the 49ers do with their 13 picks? Daniel Jeremiah had a well-thought-out plan and some specific targets.
After all, that's his job. The former Eagles, Browns and Ravens scouts now is a regular on NFLN's "Path to the Draft." The show's "inside the war room" segments -- on which Jeremiah is a regular -- are particularly worthwhile because they not only break down prospects but also every team's needs and how the players fit.
Jeremiah told me he 10 minutes to talk 49ers. We ended up talking for 12. Here's what he had to say:
Q: What are the chances the 49ers use their 13 picks to move up in the draft?
DJ: Well, I think they have all sorts flexibility to do a couple of things. One is to trade up and target someone they really, really like. If there was a safety they were in love with, they could move up a little bit and get him. Also if there was a defensive lineman they like ... If they had a huge grade on someone like, say, Star Lotulelei and he slid down a little bit, maybe they move up to get someone like him.
I think more likely than that -- where they're positioned they can address their needs with the way the draft shakes out. And I think they can even spin off some of these extra picks for picks next year because there's no way -- 13 or 14 picks, whatever they have left -- there's no way all those kids are going to make their roster. So I think they can make some moves and accumulate picks in next year's draft.
Q: Well, knowing what they need, who do you think they could go with at picks 31 and 34 if they stayed put?
April 4, 2013
No, the situation isn't exactly the same and the personalties involved are entirely different. But the 49ers acquisition of Nnamdi Asomugha this weeks feels a lot like their signing of Randy Moss a year ago.
Both players are former stars in their 30s who had all sorts of questions swirling about them and who felt like they had something to prove. "I've had a chip on my shoulder every year that I've played," Asomugha said Wednesday. "It's obviously bigger this year because of the adversity I went through in Philadelphia, but it's always been a part of my game."
More to the point, the 49ers have become the team players like Moss and Asomugha want to join, and that gives the 49ers leverage. Moss last year signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal. Asomugha's is even more low risk. He'll make $1.35 million in base salary if he makes the team. If he doesn't, the 49ers won't owe him anything.
We can argue about Moss' impact last season. He caught 28 passes for 434 yards and three touchdowns. What's beyond debate is that the 49ers ended up needing him. Injuries to Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams, as well as A.J. Jenkins' slow development, thrust Moss into the starting lineup late in the season and throughout the playoffs.
The NFL knows a juicy preseason game when it sees one.
The 49ers' second warm-up game in August will be in Kansas City against former quarterback Alex Smith, the league announced today. After eight seasons in San Francisco, the 49ers traded Smith to Kansas City for a second-round draft pick (no. 34 overall) this year and a conditional pick in 2014.
Smith is now the Chiefs' starter. First-string players typically don't play for very long in exhibition games. However, the Chiefs have a new quarterback, a new head coach and a new offense, and Smith's time under center against the 49ers likely will be significant.
The 49ers made Smith the No. 1 overall pick in the draft in 2005. He was in the midst of his best season in 2012 when a concussion set forth a series of event that ended with Colin Kaepernick as the starter and Smith on the bench. Receiver Michael Crabtree spoke last week about a divide in the 49ers locker room immediately after that decision was made. Oddly, the 49ers-Chiefs preseason game will not be televised nationally. Instead, the following week's game, on Aug. 25, will be nationally televised at 5 p.m. on NBC.
For the second straight season, the 49ers will not play the Raiders after violence in the stands and parking lot in 2011 put a hiatus on the rivalry. The dates of the games will be announced at a later date.
at Kansas City
vs. Minnesota (Aug. 25)
at San Diego
The regular-season schedule will be released later this month. The 49ers already know they will play the Jaguars in London on Oct. 27, and the game preceding that one likely will be in the eastern time zone (at Redskins?) as well.
Home: vs. Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks, Colts, Texans, Packers, Falcons, Panthers
Away: at Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks, Redskins, Jaguars, Titans, Buccaneers, Saints
-- Matt Barrows
Colt McCoy says he has experience running the read option out of the shotgun, and he has the numbers to back him up. In four years at the University of Texas, McCoy rushed for 1,589 yards and scored 20 rushing touchdowns, and he finished second toÂ Sam Bradford inÂ Heisman Trophy voting in 2008.
Still, it's hard to imagine that McCoy (6-1, 220) would get the same play calls as Colin Kaepernick if he ever entered a game in Kaepernick's place. McCoy, who ran a very respectable 4.73-second 40-yard dash at the combine in 2010, hasn't had nearly the same success rushing in the NFL, albeit in offenses that didn't emphasize a rushing quarterback. He's run 93 times, averaging 3.9 yards and scoring one rushing touchdown. He's also fumbled 12 times, losing two of them.
Instead, the play calls likely would be similar to what Alex Smith received over the last two seasons. Smith also was a very good rusher in college - 1,072 yards, 15 rushing touchdowns in just two seasons - who wasn't nearly as prolific in the NFL. He has 761 rushing yards, four touchdowns and a 3.6-yard average over his career.
Said McCoy when asked about running with the 49ers: "The read option and the pistol - they've obviously done a great job with that with Colin (Kaepernick) and his skills, being able to run and pass, a dual threat. We did a lot of that when I was in in college. I feel capable of doing that. But, again, I need to spend some time in the playbook and get familiar with it first of all before we ever get out on the field."
- Matt Barrows
April 2, 2013
Appearing on NFL Total Access today, 49ers safety Donte Whitner estimated that the 49ers used man-to-man coverage 70 percent of the time last season. That's what makes Nnamdi Asomugha a "pretty good pickup" for San Francisco, Whitner said.
"In Philly, they played a lot of zone coverage," Whitner said. "When Nnamdi was in Oakland, they played a lot of press, man-to-man; let him get up there, use his long body, length and size to cover those wide receivers. If you look at our scheme, that's what we do. We play a lot of man - probably 70 percent man. He'll get up in a lot of wide receivers' faces and have an opportunity to use our pass rush, and let those guys work for him. I believe he'll come out and have a great year with us."
The question now is how Asomugha will be worked into the 49ers defense, which struggled during the playoffs but was one of the league's best in the regular season. The secondary finished tied for third in passing yards allowed per game and mostly snuffed out long pass plays by opponents. The 49ers gave up 19 passing touchdowns during the regular season. Only six teams allowed fewer.
"We have a young corner in Chris Culliver, veteran guys in Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers, and a great defensive coordinator in Vic Fangio," Whitner said. " If (Asomugha) comes in and really learns our defense, Vic will do everything that is possible to put all of those guys on the field to make plays at the same time."
April 2, 2013
The 49ers have struck a deal with veteran cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, a league source confirmed this afternoon. Asomugha, who played at Cal, who had his best NFL seasons while with the Raiders and who makes his offseason home in the Bay Area, will sign a no-risk, one-year deal with the 49ers.
He will have the most recognizable name of any of the 49ers' cornerbacks in 2013. However, his spot on the roster, and certainly the starting lineup, is not guaranteed. The contract is worth $1.35 million in base salary with no guaranteed money, meaning the 49ers could cut him with no future entanglements if they so desired. The deal is worth as much as $3 million if Asomugha meets specific incentives. The 49ers had a little more than $3 million in salary-cap space before Asomugha's signing. The team still has enough space to sign its draft class.
That modest salary is fine with Asomugha, who struck a five-year, $60 million deal with the Eagles two years ago and still is owed $4 million by Philadelphia this year. Money is not an issue for him.
Instead, Asomugha, 31, is eager to prove that he is not washed up and that his two painful seasons in Philadelphia were an aberration. According to those who know him, he wanted to join the 49ers to return to the Bay Area and because he felt the 49ers had an excellent shot at returning to the Super Bowl.
April 2, 2013
If Nnamdi Asomugha joined the 49ers, the cornerback is confident Jim Harbaugh and his staff would utilize his strengths and put him in a position to succeed.
This, according to Asomugha's good friend, Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, who was on the same Raiders team as Asomugha and then assistant coach Harbaugh a decade ago. Even though Harbaugh coached offense at the time, Gbaja-Biamila said he was accessible to all players and that he struck up a good relationship with him and Asomugha.
"I know one thing is true - he can connect to players," said Gbaja-Biamila, who now works for the NFL Network. "Not every player may like his style, but I think you respect the fact that he's a former player and he gets it. He's not one of those guys who will have one of those coaching egos, saying, 'This is my way.' Players fit like puzzles, and I think he would know how to use Nnamdi like a puzzle piece, just to be the perfect fit. ... I think Nnamdi was just out of place in Philly."
Now a free agent, Asomugha currently has two offers - from San Francisco and New Orleans. He has been mulling them for more than two weeks. His decision appears to be this: Return to the Bay Area on a 49ers team that has an excellent shot at a Super Bowl but that doesn't have an opening already carved out for him, Or) Play for ex-Raiders coach Rob Ryan in New Orleans.
April 1, 2013
The 49ers added depth to what had been a shallow quarterback corps today by dealing two late-round picks to Cleveland for Browns quarterback Colt McCoy and a sixth-round pick, a league source confirmed. McCoy started 21 games in Cleveland in 2010 and 2011 but lost his starting job to first-round pick Brandon Weeden last year.
He was due to earn $1.5 million -- too much for the Browns, who also acquired quarterback Jason Campbell in free agency last week. The trade first was reported by CBS Sports.com.
McCoy now will battle Scott Tolzien for the right to back up Colin Kaepernick in the upcoming season. While Tolzien has yet to throw a pass in a regular-season game, McCoy, 26, has thrown 702 passes, completing 58.3 percent of them with 21 touchdowns against 20 interceptions. He has a career 74.8 passer rating.
Tolzien is a little taller than McCoy -- 6-3 vs. 6-1 -- but McCoy has more mobility. He rushed for 1,589 yards and scored 20 rushing touchdowns at the University of Texas and finished second to Sam Bradford for the Heisman Trophy in 2008. Tolzien, meanwhile, rushed for -9 yards overall at Wisconsin. Both players do not have strong arms and fall under the "game manager" category for quarterbacks.
McCoy was a third-round pick by the Browns in 2010. He missed three games that season with an ankle injury and the final three games of the 2011 after sustaining a concussion in a game against Pittsburgh. He is the second Texas-by-way-of-Cleveland product the 49ers have acquired this offseason. The team signed ex-Browns kicker Phil Dawson last month.
The 49ers dealt their fifth-round pick (no. 164 overall) as well as the earliest of four seventh-round picks (No. 227) to Cleveland. In return, the 49ers got McCoy and the Browns' sixth-round pick (No. 173 overall). The 49ers now have 13 total picks in this month's draft, and they still could take a quarterback. The only other passer they have looked at is free agent Pat White, who worked out for the team last week but left without a contract.
-- Matt Barrows
April 1, 2013
1. OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
Dear Kansas City: Alex Smith needs a comfortable and spacious pocket to be effective. Good luck with that - San Francisco.
2. OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
The last first-round tackle from Central Michigan turned out alright. But can Fisher sing Adele?
3. DT Sharrif Floyd.
Good news for Raiders fans: The 2014 draft should be loaded with quarterbacks: Taj Boyd, Teddy Bridgewater, David Fales, Johnny Football. Take your pick.
4. DE/OLB Dion Jordan
Tall, lithe and explosive, this guy could be the second coming of Jason Taylor. Or he could be Manny Lawson.
5. DE Ezekial Ansah, BYU
I know what you're thinking: Ansah probably will be the first "Ezekial" drafted by the NFL. Well, you're dead wrong. Have you already forgotten about DB Ezekial Gadson, selected by the Bills in the fifth round in 1988?
6. CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
If not for Texas A&M running back Christine Michael, Milliner would have the most effeminate name in the draft. (Most masculine: Bacarri Rambo. It sounds like something you drink the night before waking up in a dumpster somewhere outside of Manteca.)
7. QB Geno Smith, West Virginia.
The Cardinals desperately need a quarterback who can
run for his life from a rapidly crumbling pocket use his legs.