49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

April 30, 2014
2014 draft crush: And the winner is ...

Host: May I first say that you look fantastic?

Me: Thanks. You know, drinking plenty of water, getting eight hours of sack time. Trying to hit the gym as much as possible.

Host: Whatever you're doing, it's working. Bravo. Am I right, ladies?

Studio audience enthusiastically applauds.

Host: Of course, we're here today for your annual draft crush. Carl Nicks, Percy Harvin, Von Miller, Tank Carradine - you've hit on some interesting names in the past. Who wins it this year? Who gets the rose?

Me: Well, picking at No. 30 is not easy, Oprah. There are no obvious choices that far down the draft. The player has to have enough question marks to slip 30 spots but must be special enough to warrant the selection. That player this year is ....

Host: ... drum roll, please ...

April 30, 2014
Target practice: Who would the 49ers be after in a trade-up scenario?

The 49ers and Ravens have a good working relationship. I think I read that somewhere. After all, these are the teams that agreed to a trade of Anquan Boldin last year. They're scrimmaging against one another following a preseason game in Baltimore in August. And, oh yeah, head coaches Jim and John Harbaugh are related in some way. I forget exactly how.

Which makes them potential trade partners next week in the first round of the draft. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome today said he's already received calls from teams looking to trade into his No. 17 spot in the first round. While I'm sure that his counterpart with the 49ers, Trent Baalke, made one of those calls, I'm also sure that Baalke has made numerous calls exploring both trade-up and trade-down scenarios. That's what general managers do before any draft and they probably make more calls in a year in which the draft is two weeks later than normal.

But let's assume the 49ers did move up from pick No. 30 to pick No. 17, a very plausible scenario considering they jumped up 13 spots last year to get Eric Reid. My guess is that they'd be targeting, in order, one of these players:

1. WR Odell Beckham, Jr., LSU
2. CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech
3. CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

Beckham seems to check all of the boxes when it comes to what the 49ers were seeking in free agency this offseason and what they need to round out their offense. He's a downfield receiver with very good, but not elite, speed. He's feisty and fights for the ball in the air. He's a very good route runner. He played in the toughest conference in the nation (and the 49ers moved up for an LSU product last year). And he also returns punts and kickoffs, and is especially good at the latter.

Fuller, meanwhile, has good toughness and experience and would be a fit both on the outside and in the slot cornerback role the 49ers must solve this offseason. Gilbert is perhaps the most athletically gifted of all the cornerbacks. It's doubtful, however, that he would be on the board at pick No. 17.

-- Matt Barrows

April 29, 2014
No resolution in Aldon Smith case; new court date set

The 49ers likely will have to decide on Aldon Smith's fifth-year option without a resolution in the DUI and gun-possession charges he is facing. The two sides did not reach a plea-bargain deal -- something the team thought was a possibility, albeit an unlikely one -- at a hearing today. A new hearing date is scheduled for May 12 in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

It's possible the case could be resolved at some point before then. But that probably won't occur before Saturday, the deadline for triggering the fifth-year option on Smith's contract. The team's single-season sack record holder is entering the final year of the contract he signed as a rookie in 2011, one that will pay him $2.336 this season.

The fifth-year option, which has been triggered for a number of players in Smith's talent-laden 2011 draft class, would give him $9.754 million in 2015. The 49ers, however, are looking into other options that would allow them to keep Smith for a lesser amount. The team also wants to send a signal to Smith that he must change his behavior, a message that could be undermined by giving him nearly $10 million next season.

Some of the 49ers' options regarding Smith can be read here.

-- Matt Barrows

April 29, 2014
49ers fits: Looking at pass rushers in the upcoming draft

The 49ers hope that Aldon Smith is with them for the long term. The short term? That's a lot fuzzier, and it may prompt them to look at a pass rusher early in the draft. Trent Baalke on Friday said that the team was ready to count on Corey Lemonier, who is expected to improve upon a promising rookie campaign, as well as veteran Dan Skuta. After all, the 49ers went 5-0 in the games that Smith missed last season.

But if they did look for a pass rusher, the following players would be intriguing. All of them are listed as defensive ends - as were Smith and Lemonier - but have the athleticism to play outside linebacker in the 49ers' scheme. All also are similar to Smith in that they are tall, long-armed prospects. They are expected to be drafted anywhere from the end of the first round through the third round.

Kony Ealy, Missouri. (6-4, 273) 34 ¼-inch arms, 9 ½-inch hands.
This should be an easy projection for the 49ers because Ealy essentially played the same spot in the Tigers defense that Smith did in 2010. Ealy is bigger and not quite as long as Smith. He mostly played with his hand on the ground but, like Smith at Missouri, also dropped into coverage from time to time. He had eight sacks and knocked down six passes. He also had an interception for a touchdown return. Most teams likely are looking at Ealy as 4-3 defensive end. That was the book on Smith when he was coming out in the draft, too.

Dee Ford, Auburn (6-2, 252, 32 7/8, 10 ¼).
Ford is not as long as the pass rushers Baalke has preferred in the past. But he was a relentless defender for Auburn who has the traits of a team leader, something the 49ers could use considering their spate of off-the-field issues. The 49ers likely got a long look at him when they were examining Lemonier last year. Ford last season had 14 ½ tackles for loss and 10 ½ sacks, including two in the national championship game. He also excelled against top competition at the Senior Bowl. He missed the first two games of his senior season with an MCL issue, and Ford has been nicked at various times in his career.

April 29, 2014
49ers hoping for clarity in Aldon Smith's court case


Aldon Smith has his day in court today at 2:30 p.m. The hearing was described to me by the district attorney's office as a "status conference," a perfunctory meeting between the two sides as they exchange information and sort out both the DUI and gun possession charges levied against the 49ers linebacker

However, any time the two sides get together, there's the possibility of a plea agreement. That's why the 49ers are intently watching what happens today. A plea deal would bring some clarity to Smith's situation. As far as NFL discipline, the league will wait to dispense it until the case has been resolved in court. A plea will give the NFL a better idea of how to discipline Smith, which will give the 49ers a better idea how to proceed with him as far the fifth-year option on his contract.

The deadline for triggering that option is on Saturday. The 49ers haven't decided whether to use it but are leaning against it. As I wrote earlier this month, the team is leery of sending mixed signals to Smith. Exercising the option means Smith would earn, if he's still on the team in March, $9.754 million in 2015. The message the 49ers want to send to the linebacker is that he needs help, not that he will be rewarded with nearly $10 million.

There's also a possibility the 49ers could retain him in 2015 for far less money. If the NFL decides to suspend Smith for the full season, his 2014 salary would toll. That is, the $2.336 million he is set to earn this year would roll over to next year. In that scenario, however, there would be no fifth-year option for the 2016 season.

The 49ers also could put Smith on the non-football injury list for 2014. In that scenario, he'd earn the $2.336 million for 2014 but they'd also have him for the 2015 season at that rate. In other words, there are a number of scenarios the 49ers are sorting through, another reason why the team has not yet decided on the fifth-year option.

The bottom line is that the 49ers want to retain Smith for the long term but that they feel he needs help now. They are willing to see him miss a chunk, perhaps all, of this year's season, if it means he gets on top of his issues and can play for them, say, for the next decade.

One additional item: The Los Angeles City Attorney's office has yet to decide whether to file misdemeanor charges against Smith for the alleged bomb threat he made at LAX this month. It may take a week or two for that decision to be made. The airport incident is unlikely to be a factor in today's hearing.

Former agent Joel Corry wrote about this topic recently in the National Football Post. It includes a couple of precedents as far as league discipline, Tank Johnson and Adam "Pac Man" Jones, and is worth a read.

-- Matt Barrows

April 28, 2014
Baalke's list: Analyzing the 49ers' pre-draft visitors


NFL teams are allowed to host up to 30 draft prospects, and Sunday was the final day NFL teams could have such a visit. Here's a partial list of the players who have visited with a bit of analysis below each position group.

Wide receivers:
Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State
Martavis Bryant, Clemson
Paul Richardson, Colorado
Albert Wilson, Georgia State

The common thread here is that each of these players can make plays downfield, a high priority given that the 49ers' starters, Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree, aren't exactly speedsters. The team also has spent time with LSU's Odell Beckham, Jr. and Indiana's Cody Latimer, who fit the above description as well, especially Beckham. The most intriguing name on this list is Benjamin, who has almost tight end-like size, including the long, powerful arms that Trent Baalke desires. But he's also a 23-year-old, redshirt sophomore, who comes with red flags, including showing up at the combine heavier than expected at 240 pounds. His visit is doubly intriguing because Baalke already had attended FSU's pro day. Wilson has return-man abilities. So does Beckham.

Running backs:
RB Terrance Cobb, University of the Cumberlands
RB Storm Johnson, Central Florida
RB Terrance West, Towson University

April 27, 2014
49ers spend 90 minutes with Indiana's Cody Latimer. What that means...


Wide receivers coach John Morton not only flew to Indiana to watch Cody Latimer's Friday workout, he spent an hour and half with Latimer diagramming plays and otherwise trying to figure out how the big-bodied wideout would adapt to an NFL film room, meeting room, locker room.

What does that mean? Well, in 2010 offensive line coach Mike Solari met with both Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati to chart plays on a white board and otherwise discuss the type of schemes they'd be expected to process with the 49ers. The 49ers took each in the first round that year. Last year, defensive line coach Jim Tomsula attended Tank Carradine's pre-draft workout and also spent time with him afterward. The 49ers took him in the second round, 40th overall.

So that means it's a slam dunk that the 49ers will take Latimer? No, not exactly. The only reason we know that Solari met with Davis and Iupati is because they ended up on the squad and Solari talked about their visit afterward. What we don't have is the list of players Solari, Tomsula, Morton, et. al. have met with in previous years that the 49ers ultimately passed over.

In 2012, for example, Solari met with, and went over plays with, offensive lineman Amini Silatolu (prompting me, in my mock draft that year, to project Silatolu to the 49ers at pick No. 30.). San Francisco instead took A.J. Jenkins - who visited Santa Clara before the draft and presumably charted plays - in the first round while the Panthers took Silatolu 10 picks later.

Did Solari have a bad session with Silatolu? Were the 49ers trying to throw a smoke screen? Did they really like Silatolu but just not as much as Jenkins? These are all unknowns. There are plenty of clues in the run-up to the draft. The trick is figuring out which clues are the most important. The 49ers also have met with receivers Martavis Bryant, Paul Richardson and, according to CSN Bay Area, Kelvin Benjamin this month, and they presumably charted plays them as well.

Do 49ers' first-round picks usually pay the team a pre-draft visit? Yes, but not always. Here's the list since Trent Baalke started running the draft in 2010.

Pre-draft visit?
2010: Anthony Davis - yes
2010: Mike Iupati - yes
2011: Aldon Smith - yes
2012: A.J. Jenkins - yes
2013: Eric Reid - no.

- Matt Barrows

April 26, 2014
Harbaugh calls San Jose State's Fales a Top 5 quarterback


The top 5 quarterbacks in next month's draft? Gather up all the rankings available and Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr and Jimmy Garrapolo likely are on that list in one order or another.

But Jim Harbaugh, whose reputation for choosing and developing passers - some of them obscure at the time -- is well-earned, believes a local, less-heralded product deserves Top-5 ranking: San Jose State's David Fales. "I'm a big fan," Harbaugh said after watching Fales work out on Friday. "My personal evaluation of this (draft) class has David in the top five."

Fales completed 64 percent of his passes last season for nearly 4,200 yards. He had a memorable game in a shootout against Fresno State in which he completed 37 of 45 passes for 547 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. It turns out 49ers general manager Trent Baalke attended that game, which was held only 11 miles south of the 49ers headquarters and its new stadium.

"I like a lot of things about David," Baalke said Friday. "He's very composed. He's a very smart football player. You look at him statistically. He's won a lot of games. He won a shootout against Fresno, which I happened to be at. He's got good arm talent. He can make all the throws. He's very accurate, especially in the short to intermediate game. There's a lot to like about him."

The biggest question about Fales has been his athleticism and his ability to throw the deep ball. Harbaugh, however, did not seem to be concerned.

"You see a very compact throwing motion today, more compact than I saw during his career," he said. "But he was still throwing the ball 50, 55 yards down field, throwing the deep comebacks, the outside lanes like he threw in college, easily, accurately and on a line. We talked a little after the workout. I don't see any deficiencies that way."

Harbaugh famously graded little-known quarterbacks like Tony Romo and David Garrard higher than the consensus top picks at the position, such as Joey Harrington, when he was a low-level assistant with the Raiders. He has seen Eastern Illinois' Garrapolo - another quarterback with a compact throwing motion - in person this year and also attended the workout for Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas. Fales and Thomas are expected to be taken in the middle rounds of the draft, which is where the 49ers are most likely to pounce on one as well.

Fales wasn't the only quarterback at the 49ers' "local" pro day on Friday. Vanderbilt's Austyn Carta-Samuels (Saratoga) and Delaware State's Cory Murphy (Santa Clara) also took part.

-- Matt Barrows

April 25, 2014
Harbaugh on Kaepernick: 'The only victim is Colin's reputation'


Jim Harbaugh today said he's heard Colin Kaepernick's version of what happened in Miami earlier this month and that he's confident the ongoing case there will have a good resolution for the 49ers' quarterback. "The only victim in Colin's case is Colin's reputation," he said.

Harbaugh noted that until this point, the only side of the story that has made its way into the media is that of the 25-year-old woman who told police April 3 that she blacked out and wound up in a hospital after a night of drinking with Kaepernick, 49ers receiver Quinton Patton and Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette. The case has been handled by the Miami Police Department's special victims unit, which handles sex crimes.

No charges have been filed and the three players involved have not been interviewed. Police have since said that Lockette twice called police early on April 2 to try to get the woman in question out of their hotel suite.

The police told The Bee and The Miami Herald last week that Kaepernick was not at the suite when police arrived following those calls. According to a source, Kaepernick was on hand earlier in the evening but left shortly after the woman arrived. Police are reviewing hotel video to see when Kaepernick left. Police had said they planned to release two 911 calls -- one from Lockette and one from hotel security -- but they have not done so this week.

Said Harbaugh: "Remember this, there's sometimes two sides to the story and I often see the one side that's reported in the media and it gains speed and attention. The other side still remains to be told. Looking at the Colin Kaepernick situation, at some point there needs to be a resolution to some of this jump-the-gun, witch-hunt scenario that we're seeing."

He included a quote from his favorite historical figure, Winston Churchill: "A lie will get halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put on its pants."*

* The quote, "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes," usually is attributed to humorist and novelist Mark Twain.

Related stories:

Miami police don't believe Kaepernick was in hotel suite at time of 911 calls

Kaepernick says reports are 'completely wrong'

April 25, 2014
49ers notes: Baalke insists team not trying to trade LaMichael James

Trent Baalke today said he may have come across a few tweets that suggest LaMichael James is unhappy with his role with the 49ers but that he isn't interested in trading the running back. Baalke explained James' absence from offseason training at the same facility by saying that James recently had his first baby and that he is remaining in Texas to "settle into life" with the new child.

"If a guy's not here, I'm not on the phone asking why he's not here," said Baalke, noting that the current sessions in Santa Clara are voluntary.

The Bee reported this month that the 49ers are very much aware of James' dissatisfaction with his role and that the team is actively trying to trade him. Baalke said he'd be more disappointed in James if he was content with his role on offense, which amounted to 12 carries last regular season. "I'd be disappointed if he wasn't disappointed that he wasn't getting on the field as much as he wanted to," Baalke said. "I'd much more concerned about that than his frustration of not playing."

Of course, Baalke wouldn't let on that he is trying to trade James, just as he refused to say he was trying to trade quarterback Alex Smith just before completing a deal with the Chiefs last year. Players who express discontent on the 49ers - such as receiver Braylon Edwards or running back Brandon Jacobs - typically have not remained on the team for very long.

James, meanwhile, has been open about his dissatisfaction in San Francisco. Immediately after The Bee's report was published, he wrote on Twitter, "When old news becomes new news." He also retweeted a message from a fan that read, "I was really hoping they would use ur talent instead of give it away. It's just stupid."

Et cetera - Baalke said he didn't expect that the Miami police investigation that includes Colin Kaepernick would alter the team's ongoing contract negotiations with the quarterback. But he said the nature of those negotiations is that they can take a long time. "They're long, they're drawn out, they can be tedious," he said.

* Mike Iupati is making good progress from a broken leg suffered in the NFC Championship, Baalke said, but it hasn't been determined when he will return to the practice field. Joe Looney could fill in at left guard if Iupati is not ready for OTAs and minicamps.

* Said Baalke of his relationship with Jim Harbaugh: "It couldn't be better right now." But don't expect to see the two men hugging. "If you want us to hug and mug for the camera ... you're looking at the wrong two guys," said the famously gruff general manager.

* Defensive end Demarcus Dobbs signed his one-year restricted free-agent tender Friday. Dobbs backed up Justin Smith the last two years.

-- Matt Barrows

April 25, 2014
Baalke: 49ers won't give up on Aldon Smith


In the first public appearance by any 49ers official since Aldon Smith's airport arrest on April 13, general manager Trent Baalke today said he and the organization are disappointed by the pattern of bad behavior by the linebacker but not discouraged by it.

Baalke made it clear the team would stand by Smith, who holds the franchise record for sacks in a season but who also has been arrested three times since 2012. "We're a family," he said. "You don't just open a door and toss people out of it."

Smith has been working out at the team facility since the start of the offseason program April 21.

Baalke, however, was vague about how the team would handle the fast-approaching May 3 deadline for picking up a fifth-year option on Smith's contract that would pay Smith nearly $10 million in 2015. He said that's still being discussed internally. According to a league source, the 49ers are leaning against picking up that option.

Smith, 24, has a court date next week in relation to a September DUI arrest as well as gun charges stemming from a party at Smith's home that grew out of control in June 2012. In addition, the Los Angeles City Attorney's office is considering whether to file misdemeanor charges against Smith for allegedly saying he had a bomb as he went through Los Angeles International Airport's security line earlier this month.

During a nearly hour-long session with reporters, Baalke walked a line between saying he was disappointed with Smith's actions and those of several other 49ers in recent years and defending his players.

April 25, 2014
Wideouts Davante Adams, Jerry Rice Jr. highlight 49ers' "local" pro day


A year ago, Nate Montana was one of the draft hopefuls who performed for 49ers coaches at the team's "local" pro day. This year, Jerry Rice Jr. will run routes and catch passes on the same practice field on which his famous father performed two decades ago.

Rice Jr. transferred to UNLV after four years with UCLA. He had 11 catches and one touchdown last year. While he might have a famous name, another wideout on hand today, Davante Adams of Fresno State, figures to be one of the first receivers drafted next month, perhaps in the first round. He led the nation with 131 catches last season, and the big-bodied leaper -- Adams also was a high school basketball star -- had 24 touchdowns.

Adams is from Palo Alto, which makes him eligible to attend today's event. In fact, he and Jim Harbaugh both played at Palo Alto High and had the same high school coach, Earl Hansen.

Others on hand either grew up in the Bay Area or went to one of the schools here. That list includes Stanford products like linebacker Shayne Skov and defensive end Ben Gardner, whom the 49ers likely would use as an outside linebacker. San Jose State's David Fales also will attend as will a couple of Sacramento State players, wideout Morris Norrisse and guard Tyler Worthley.

Local pro day participants

April 25, 2014
Swingers: Anthony Davis' injury will give backups more exposure


Anthony Davis' recent shoulder surgery likely will keep the 49ers' right tackle out of most or all of the team's spring drills. The silver lining? It will give coaches a better opportunity to evaluate the intriguing mix of players vying to be the team's so-called "swing" tackle this season.

In recent years, the top backup at the position has been the starting right guard, Alex Boone. If there was an injury to either left tackle Joe Staley or Davis, Boone was tapped to fill in, meaning that someone else had to step into his guard spot and that two positions were disrupted. This year, the 49ers will look at newcomer Jonathan Martin as the possible backup tackle with former seventh-round draft pick Carter Bykowski and undrafted Luke Marquardt also in the running.

At 6-8, 315, Marquardt is perhaps the most physically impressive member of the offense (Lawrence Okoye gets the nod on defense), and he got plenty of buzz before last year's draft. But he was recovering from a foot injury last season and did not get drafted. He never was placed on the active roster by the 49ers.

Martin, meanwhile, started 23 games over the last two seasons in Miami and has played both right and left tackle. Jim Harbaugh last month said there was some interest in seeing if Martin could play guard where in 2015 the 49ers may be without starter Mike Iupati, who is entering the final year of his contract.

Davis, meanwhile, said he suffered tears to his labrum and bicep in Week 3 last year and played through the pain. He has not missed a start since being drafted in the first round in 2010.

"I recently had surgery for the first time ever," Davis wrote on Instagram. "Played the majority of the season with a (messed) up shoulder ... Never made excuses just got the job done. This game has a way of seeing what you're really made of. One of the reasons I love it. Next season I get to use both arms. lol it's on."

Last year both Staley (knee) and Iupati (shoulder) had minor offseason surgery and missed the spring sessions. The list of injured players in the 2013 offseason included defensive end Justin Smith (arm) and outside linebacker Aldon Smith (shoulder).

-- Matt Barrows

April 24, 2014
49ers taking closer look at Indiana WR Cody Latimer

For the second straight season, the 49ers are sending a position coaches to check out a promising draft prospect who is coming off an injury. This time it's receivers coach John Morton, who will be among the contingent watching Indiana receiver Cody Latimer run and catch passes today in Indiana. A year ago, defensive line coach Jim Tomsula was on hand for Tank Carradine's workout. The 49ers ended up taking Carradine, who did not play any snaps last season, early in the second round, No. 40 overall.

Latimer's injury is not nearly as serious as the ACL tear Carradine suffered in November 2012. A broken bone in the receiver's foot prevented him from fully working at at the scouting combine in February, although he did lead all receivers with 23 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press. At Indiana's pro day a month ago, Latimer reportedly ran his 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds, and he had a 39-inch vertical leap.

He is considered a raw talent, but his size (6-2, 215), speed, leaping ability (he's a former basketball standout) and rugged, physical style likely are intriguing to the 49ers, who traditionally have preferred big-bodied receivers in their power-running, ball-control offense. Latimer caught 72 passes for 1,096 yards last season while playing against some of the best cornerbacks in the nation - Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard and Ohio State's Bradley Roby, for example - and while playing on a less-than-stellar Indiana squad. He also played special teams. At least 23 teams are expected at Latimer's workout today.

April 23, 2014
Thanksgiving gravy: Thoughts on the 49ers' schedule


* The 49ers schedule is out, and the highlight? It has to be the Thanksgiving nightcap against the Seahawks. A Seahawks-49ers game is big enough. The first one ever in Levi's Stadium makes it huge. But a nationally televised game on the most American of holidays? This is going to be Turkeygeddon.

The game is part of a triple header of division rivalries. The Lions will host the Bears and the Cowboys will host the Eagles before the west coast finale, which will serve as the apple and almond pie of the day. What's more, the 49ers will travel to Seattle two weeks later for a game that could be even bigger. Sandwiched between those games is a bus trip to play the Raiders. The Sunday prior to their Thanksgiving game, the 49ers play at home vs. Washington while the Seahawks host the Cardinals.

* One item of note when it comes to the arch-rival Seahawks: If, as expected, star inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman returns from his ACL injury at midseason, it means he would be on hand for both showdowns with the defending NFC West and Super Bowl champs. The same would go for Aldon Smith if, say, he is given an eight-game suspension. That, of course, is pure speculation, but he is expected to sit out at least some games in 2014.

* Many suspected that the first-ever regular season game at Levi's Stadium would feature a marquee opponent like the Seahawks or the Alex Smith-led Chiefs. Others guessed that the home opener would be an event in and of itself and that the opponent would not matter. The second camp wins. The 49ers will christen their new stadium in Week 2 vs. the Bears, who are certainly an interesting opponent but not an arch rival. The Chiefs arrive in Week 5, which is scheduled as a regular 1:25 p.m. start on CBS. This year, however, games can be flexed to Sunday night beginning Week 5. So there's a still a prime-time possibility for this matchup.

April 22, 2014
49ers checking out tight ends; list of pre-draft visits


The 49ers are checking out tight ends in the upcoming draft, including McNeese State's Nic Jacobs, who began is college career at LSU. The 6-5, 265-pound Jacobs will visit the Cardinals and 49ers, according to NFL.com's Gil Brandt. He had 32 catches for 453 yards and four touchdowns last season.

The team also hosted this week Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, who mostly was used as a blocker in the Hawkeye's offense. The 6-5, 265-pound Fiedorowicz looked good at the Senior Bowl this year and bench pressed 225 pounds 25 times at the scouting combine.

The 49ers used a second-round pick last year on tight end Vance McDonald, who is expeced to pair with Vernon Davis in two-tight end sets this season. Their blocking tight end has been Garrett Celek. Derek Carrier also filled in at the position last season. The 49ers are eying him as an H-back.

49ers pre-draft visits
WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State (CSN Bay Area)
ILB/OLB Carl Bradford, Arizona State
ILB Preston Brown, Louisville
WR Martavis Bryant, Clemson
RB Terrance Cobb, University of the Cumberlands
CB Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma
OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, McGill University (Canada)
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa (National Football Post)
OT Sentreal Henderson, Miami (CSN Bay Area)
TE Nic Jacobs, McNeese State (NFL.com)
RB Storm Johnson, Central Florida
OLB Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State
DE Aaron Lynch, South Florida (SiriusXM)
OL Matt Patchan, Boston College
WR Paul Richardson, Colorado
CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State (Scout.com)
DT Kona Schwenke, Notre Dame (Draft Insider)
DT Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame (SiriusXM)
RB Terrance West, Towson University
WR Albert Wilson, Georgia State

-- Matt Barrows

April 21, 2014
Michael Wilhoite, a possible starter at linebacker, signs tender

Michael Wilhoite, who is perhaps the leading candidate to take NaVorro Bowman's spot in the 49ers defense at the start of the season, signed a one-year contract on Monday. Wilhoite was a so-called "exclusive rights free agent" which gave him little leeway to shop himself on the open market. The deal will pay him $570,000.

Wilhoite started two games last season while Patrick Willis was out with a groin injury This year, Bowman could miss the first half of the season while he contines to recover from the ACL tear he suffered in January.

Other candidates for the job include second-year player Nick Moody and Darius Fleming, who is coming off his own ACL injury. The 49ers also could draft an inside linebacker. Hard-hitting Louisville product Preston Brown visited the team last week.

-- Matt Barrows

April 21, 2014
49ers travel schedule: Easy compared to last year

Last year the 49ers travelled 33,000 air miles in the regular season -- by far the most of any NFL team -- then tacked on another 9,500 miles in the playoffs. This year? It will seem like a puddle jump by comparison.

The longest trip on the team's regular-season schedule, which is due to be released this week, is a 5,132-mile round-trip trek to play the Giants. That, however, is their only game in the eastern time zone. What's more, they will visit the Raiders, a game that requires a 35-minute bus ride instead of a trip to the airport.

The bottom line: The 49ers will travel approximately 19,700 miles (give or take a couple hundred miles depending on whether they return to SFO or SJC). It still likely will be one of the highest counts in the NFL but will pale next to last year's itinerary.

Arizona Cardinals
Kansas City Chiefs
Philadelphia Eagles
San Diego Chargers
Seattle Seahawks
St. Louis Rams
Chicago Bears

Arizona Cardinals
Dallas Cowboys
Denver Broncos
New York Giants
Oakland Raiders
Seattle Seahawks
St. Louis Rams
New Orleans Saints

-- Matt Barrows

April 18, 2014
Miami police: Kaepernick wasn't there when we arrived


Miami police do not believe 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was present when they responded to two 911 calls about an upset naked woman refusing to leave a downtown Miami hotel room.

But they are waiting for the Viceroy Hotel to turn over additional surveillance tape to see if they can determine whether Kaepernick had been in the suite earlier with two other players and, if so, what time he left.

Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa said that, so far, police have not confirmed the woman's report that Kaepernick had been among a trio of men in the hotel room on the night of April 1. She named him in a report she filed with police two days after the incident.

Police already have one surveillance tape from the Brickell-area hotel that only shows Miami Fire Rescue transporting the woman from the room just after midnight, a source familiar with the investigation said this week. The Bee has reported that the suite was Kaepernick's.

Last week, police confirmed that Kaepernick, 49ers wide receiver Quinton Patton and Seattle Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette, a friend and former roommate of Kaepernick, were under investigation in connection with the incident.

The woman reported that she had blacked out while naked in the hotel room after a night of drinking shots and smoking marijuana in room 4710 in the posh Viceroy. She reported that she mixed drinks for herself and the three men and that they coaxed her into smoking marijuana before she passed out.

Kaepernick lashed out at TMZ, the entertainment and gossip website, and other outlets on Twitter last week, saying he did nothing wrong. His agent Scott Smith declined to comment Friday.

No charges have been filed, but a police incident report given by the woman on April 3 shows the case is being investigated by the department's Special Victims Unit, which looks into sex crimes.

April 17, 2014
Troubled client? Agent advises quick public apology

My colleague Ed Fletcher caught up with agent Leigh Steinberg, who spoke at UC Davis on Wednesday, and he asked Steinberg how he'd deal with a troubled client like Aldon Smith, who was arrested for the third time in two years on Sunday. Steinberg is making a comeback after dealing with alcohol abuse and has been open about his struggle.

-- Matt Barrows

April 17, 2014
Running story: 49ers bring in third tailback for pre-draft visit

Add one more running back to the list of college players the 49ers hosted this week. The team also met with Terrance Cobb, a 5-10, 218 tailback from the University of the Cumberlands (Ky) who ran for 1,991 yards and scored 26 touchdowns in 2012. Cobb was injured this past season, finishing with 540 yards and six touchdowns in three starts.

The 49ers have some insider information on Cobb. He is the younger brother of regional scout Reggie Cobb, who was a good running back in his own right and who played for the Buccaneers, Packers, Jaguars and Jets. The elder Cobb serves as the 49ers' Western region scout.

The 49ers also will bring in Towson tailback Terrance West and already met with Central Florida runner Storm Johnson, suggesting that they will take a running back in the mid to late rounds in the draft. All of the tailbacks above are big-bodied, every-down type of runners.

The team's long-time workhorse, Frank Gore, is entering the final year on his contract and his future is uncertain. Furthermore, the 49ers are trying to trade tailback/returner LaMichael James, who has been frustrated by his limited role in the team's offense.

Minutes after The Bee on Wednesday reported that the team is shopping James, the former Oregon star Tweeted out a seeming response: "When old news becomes new news."

49ers pre-draft visits
ILB/OLB Carl Bradford, Arizona State
ILB Preston Brown, Louisville
WR Martavis Bryant, Clemson
RB Terrance Cobb, University of the Cumberlands
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa (National Football Post)
RB Storm Johnson, Central Florida
OLB Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State
OL Matt Patchan, Boston College
WR Paul Richardson, Colorado
RB Terrance West, Towson University
WR Albert Wilson, Georgia State

-- Matt Barrows

April 16, 2014
Source: 49ers shopping running back LaMichael James


If the 49ers want to maneuver higher in next month's draft, they could offer another team multiple draft picks in return or they could offer a team picks and a player. That player? According to a league source, the 49ers have been shopping running back LaMichael James, a second-round pick in the 2012 draft.

James ran for 5,082 yards and scored 53 rushing touchdowns while at Oregon. However, he has had only scant work as a runner with the 49ers and finds himself behind Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and perhaps Marcus Lattimore on the depth chart at running back this season.

James served as the team's primary returner last year and played well in that role, averaging nearly 11 yards a punt return. But the source said he has made it clear to the team he wants a bigger role as running back as well. He carried the ball only 12 times in the 2013 regular season and just once in the playoffs. He missed the first three games with a knee injury.

It's also worth noting that the 49ers spent a long time looking at possible return men in free agency. The team considered a number of then-free agents - including Julian Edelman, Dexter McCluster, Golden Tate and DeSean Jackson, for example - who have experience as punt returners.

Asked in February if he was shopping James, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said, "No discussions. LaMichael is a 49er. He'll continue to be a 49er."

"It's tough," Baalke said at the time of James' role on offense. "There are certain game plans where LaMichael was meant to play a little bit bigger role than he ended up playing, but that's the game. Every game you go in with a plan and sometimes that plan changes based on what you're seeing and what the other team is doing. So you've got to be flexible. It's up to LaMichael and it's up to every player. We tell every one of our players this: 'It's up to you to earn time on the field.' So it's not as much about what he hasn't been doing, it's as much about what Frank has been doing."

Meanwhile, the 49ers are bringing in at least three running backs for pre-draft visits. Towson's Terrance West is one of the busiest players in the run-up to the draft, and his itinerary will take him to Santa Clara on Monday. West has a total of 11 visits this month, including the Seahawks this week.

West was the CAA offensive player of the year, and he led the FCS in rushing with 2,519 yards and 41 touchdowns. At 5-9, 225 pounds, he also is the second workhorse-style running back the 49ers will have brought in for a pre-draft visit. They also met with Central Florida running back Storm Johnson and Terrance Cobb of The University of the Cumberlands (KY) on Monday and Tuesday.

As for possible trade partners for James, the Eagles at one point seemed like a realistic destination considering head coach Chip Kelly was James' coach at Oregon and that the man who scouted James for the 49ers, Tom Gamble, is now with the Eagles organization. Philadelphia, however, traded for another running back, Darren Sproles, last month.

-- Matt Barrows

April 16, 2014
No Bowman? No Aldon? Is 3-4 still best defense for 49ers?


The 49ers are a 3-4 defensive team whose top two defensive players, NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith, may not be around when the season starts. Both are linebackers. Which raises the question: Is a three-lineman, four-linebacker defense still the best scheme for San Francisco?

One could argue that with Bowman's injury and Smith's troubles, the strength of the defense has switched from the linebacking corps to the defensive line. There, you have stalwarts Justin Smith and Ray McDonald. But there is also Glenn Dorsey and Ian Williams at nose tackle, as well as Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial, Demarcus Dobbs and everyone's favorite experiment, Lawrence Okoye.

Considering that the nose tackle currently comes off the field when the 49ers are in their nickel defense - more than 50 percent of the time - it's hard to imagine some of these players, especially Dorsey and Williams, getting significant playing time in the 49ers' current scheme.

If they switched to a 4-3 or otherwise tinkered with the scheme, the trick would be finding the right combination of linebackers. Patrick Willis, of course, played middle linebacker in a 4-3 scheme at Ole Miss and would be the natural "Mike" linebacker. Ahmad Brooks could line up at outside linebacker in a spot similar to the one Bruce Irvin plays in Seattle's 4-3 scheme. The 49ers would have to find a third linebacker from the remaining group of players.

Would the 49ers consider this? Probably not. For one, Bowman is making good progress from his ACL. And while he won't be on hand at the beginning of the season, the expectation is that he's back at the midpoint. And while Aldon Smith could miss all of the 2014 season, as The Merc's Tim Kawakami detailed Tuesday, the 49ers have interesting backups in Dan Skuta, Corey Lemonier and perhaps a draft pick. They are bringing in Boise State's Demarcus Lawrence, a possibility in the first round or early in the second round, next week.

Furthermore, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio prefers 3-4 defenses and has used that scheme for the bulk of his career. Fangio has said he likes the versatility of having an extra linebacker on the field and that the pass-rush angles are more favorable.

Still, in a scenario in which both Bowman and Smith are not available, you have to wonder if a 3-4 defense puts the 49ers' best defenders on the field.

One additional note. Skuta was the top backup at outside linebacker last season. He battled a foot injury for most of the year, and there was a possibility he could have surgery this offseason. It looks as if he will avoid that. Skuta saw the league's top foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Robert Anderson, earlier this year who diagnosed and treated him for plantar fasciitis in the foot.

-- Matt Barrows

April 15, 2014
49ers sign WR Brandon Lloyd to one-year deal


Veteran receiver Brandon Lloyd, who spent his first three seasons with the 49ers, is back after signing a one-year deal with the team today. Lloyd, 32, had 74 catches for 911 yards with New England in 2012 but sat out last season.

The 49ers took Lloyd with a fourth-round pick in the 2003 draft. He led the 49ers in receiving yards in 2005, but during the following offseason the new personnel chief, Scot McCloughan, eagerly traded Lloyd to the Redskins for a third-round pick in 2006 (the 49ers used it on WR Brandon Williams) and a fourth-round pick in 2007 (OLB Jay Moore).

Lloyd was brash as a young player, wanted to be a rap star and clashed with some of the veterans on the team. One of the players who disliked Lloyd was fullback Fred Beasley who famously complained that, following a grueling road loss, he had to listen to Lloyd talk about the length of his braids on the otherwise quiet plane ride back to San Jose.

The Redskins also grew weary of Lloyd, and he only spent two seasons there. He's been on six different teams over his career.

Still, he has proven to be a very smart and savvy player on the field, and he led the league in receiving yards while with the Broncos in 2010. While with the Patriots in 2012, he had a career-high 190 yards in a loss to the 49ers. In another loss to San Francisco -- this one in London when he was with Denver -- Lloyd caught seven passes for 169 yards.

The 11-year veteran, however, does not play special teams like another longtime veteran at the position, Kassim Osgood. And the 49ers are expected to draft a receiver - or perhaps two - next month.

That, plus the fact that Lloyd signed a one-year deal, suggests that a spot on the roster is not assured in 2014. The 49ers top three receivers currently are Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Quinton Patton. Lloyd joins a group that includes Jon Baldwin, Osgood, Chuck Jacobs, Devon Wylie, DeMarco Sampson and David Reed.

-- Matt Barrows

April 15, 2014
Charges dismissed in case against 49ers center Daniel Kilgore

The public intoxication case in Tennessee against 49ers center Daniel Kilgore has been dismissed, according to the Kingsport General Session clerk's office. Kilgore and a friend were stopped by an officer who saw them walking home from a Kingsport, Tenn. bar Jan. 25. They were arrested "for their safety and the welfare of the public," according to the police report.

Those charges were dismissed on Friday. The court clerk said Kilgore can file to have the charges expunged from his record.

A month after the incident, the 49ers extended Kilgore's contract by three years. He is the leading candidate to take over the starting center spot that Jonathan Goodwin manned the last three seasons. Adam Snyder, Joe Looney and Ryan Seymour also will compete at the spot.

-- Matt Barrows

April 15, 2014
Need for speed: 49ers meet with Colorado WR Paul Richardson

Speedy receivers definitely appear to be on the draft menu for the 49ers who are meeting with one of the fastest, Colorado's Paul Richardson, today. Richardson is one of 15 or so draft prospects in town to meet with coaches and take physicals this week. As far as receivers go, the list also includes Clemson's Martavis Bryant and Georgia State's Albert Wilson, both of whom stand out for their down-field ability.

Richardson seems to be similar in some ways to Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson, in whom the 49ers reportedly showed some interest earlier this offseason. The Colorado receiver is 6-0, 175 pounds with 32 5/8-inch arms. His 4.4-second time in the 40-yard dash in February was the third-fastest for a receiver this year. (Bryant was clocked at 4.42 seconds, Wilson at 4.43 seconds).

In 2013, Richardson stood out on a bad Colorado squad. He led the team with 83 catches, 1,343 receiving yards and 10 touchdown catches. He averaged 16.2 yards a catch one year after sitting out the 2012 season with a torn ACL. Significantly - in light of the 49ers' recent off-the-field troubles - he also was a team captain last season.

Richardson is considered a second- to early third-round pick. He has five other visits in addition to the 49ers.

The 49ers have not brought in Indiana wideout Cody Latimer for a visit, but a league source says they are looking closely at the receiver. Latimer, too, has good speed. Unlike the other receivers listed above, he also has excellent size at 6-2, 215 pounds. Some prognosticators think Latimer could go as high as the end of the first round.

-- Matt Barrows

April 14, 2014
Police report: Lockette called police to have woman removed from suite

Ricardo Lockette twice called 911 in Miami early in the morning of April 2 to report that a naked woman was on his friend's bed and refused to leave, according to incident reports, one of which was obtained today by radio station 940 A.M. That bed presumably was Colin Kaepernick's -- after all, it was his hotel suite -- who along with fellow NFL players Lockette and Quinton Patton was named in a "suspicious incident" investigation earlier this month. The first call was made at 12:03 a.m. from Lockette's cell phone. He called 911 again 17 minutes later.

In addition, a source familiar with the case said that Kaepernick was not at the suite during the disturbance or when police arrived. A police spokesman could not verify who was at the suite when police arrived.

That report fits what The Bee learned Friday - that it was one of the players who called authorities, who in turn called Miami Fire Rescue at 12:32 a.m. Paramedics transported the unidentified woman to Jackson Memorial Hospital in that city shortly thereafter.

Until now, the only document that had been released was the incident report the woman filed on April 3 that said she blacked out after drinking with Lockette, a former 49ers receiver who now plays for the Seaahwks, Kaepernick and Patton and woke up in the hospital.

The incident report obtained today says that a Crisis Intervention Team was summoned to the players' suite at the Viceroy Hotel. The unit's web site says that the Crisis Intervention Team "is an effective police response program designed for first responders who handle crisis calls involving people with mental illness including those with co-occurring substance use disorders."

On Friday, Kaepernick maintained his innocence via Twitter, slamming the initial report that claimed he was being investigated for sexual assault.

"The charges made in the TMZ story and other stories I've seen are completely wrong," Kaepernick wrote "They make things up about me that never happened. I take great pride in who I am and what I do, but I guess sometimes you have to deal with someone who makes things up .... I assure you that your faith is not misplaced."

No charges have been filed in the case and the players have not been interviewed. Kaepernick, in fact, is believed to be back in Santa Clara in advance of the 49ers' strength and conditioning program, which begins next week.

-- Matt Barrows

April 14, 2014
First-round pass-rush prospect Demarcus Lawrence to visit 49ers

One day after Aldon Smith was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport comes news that the team will host one of the more talented pass rushers in the upcoming draft. Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, who had 10 ½ sacks last season and is considered a late first-round pick, will visit next week.

A league source said the travel arrangements were made a week ago, before Smith was arrested at LAX for allegedly telling security personnel he had a bomb. Smith posted $20,000 bond and was released Sunday. Still, Smith's third arrest since 2012 must elevate pass rusher on the 49ers' list of draft needs. It's not known whether the NFL or the 49ers will suspend Smith and it's certainly possible that the team could release him.

Smith, who holds the franchise's single-season sack record, is entering the final year of his contract. The 49ers must decide by May 3 to pick up a fifth-year option on that deal. If they did, Smith would be in line to earn nearly $10 million in 2015 if he is still on the roster at the start of the new league year in early March.

In the last several years, the 49ers have felt that the strength of their locker room - led by hard-working players like Justin Smith and Patrick Willis - could accommodate younger players with so-called character concerns. However, that notion has been damaged by seven separate arrests since January 2012 when Aldon Smith was pulled over for DUI in Miami Beach. There have been additional police-blotter incidents involving three other players that have not led to arrests.

Lawrence then becomes an interesting prospect. The underclassman is 6-3, 251 pounds, and has the long arms (33 ¾ inches) and big hands (11 inches) that general manager Trent Baalke loves. He is a two-time first-team All-Mountain West selection who, in addition to his sack total last season, also had 20 ½ tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

However, he also was suspended on three different occasions for violation of team rules. That's likely a big reason why the 49ers want to meet him in person prior to the draft.

-- Matt Barrows

April 14, 2014
Linebacker Preston Brown among those visiting 49ers today

The 49ers and every other NFL are allowed to host up to 30 college players in the run-up to the draft. A big chunk of those visits are taking place today and Tuesday at the team's facility.

One of the visitors is Louisville inside linebacker Preston Brown, who led the Cardinals in tackles last season. At 6-1, 251 pounds, Brown is slightly bigger than the 49ers' starting inside linebackers, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, were coming out of college, but he's been highly productive and has the long arms - 33 ½ inches - and aggressive style general manager Trent Baalke likes to see in prospects.

Brown had 14 tackles for loss last season and five sacks. He also returned a fumble 48 yards for a touchdown against Memphis.

Bowman, of course, is not expected to be on the field for the first half of the season due to his Jan. 19 ACL injury. The 49ers are seeking a replacement. They could turn to veteran Michael Wilhoite, who started two games for Willis in 2013. They could tap Nick Moody, a sixth-round pick in 2013. Or they could find an understudy in the draft in which the 49ers have 11 picks. Brown is considered a third-day option.

The 49ers had wanted Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin to visit today and tomorrow but he had a previous visit scheduled and will make the trip later this week.

Visiting today:
ILB Preston Brown
WR Martavis Bryant, Clemson
RB Storm Johnson, Central Florida
OLB Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State (next week)
OL Matt Patchan, Boston College
WR Albert Wilson, Georgia State

-- Matt Barrows

April 14, 2014
All ACL team: 49ers will host injured cornerback Aaron Colvin

The 49ers will host Aaron Colvin, an Oklahoma cornerback who tore his ACL in January and who spent the first part of the year in Florida rehabilitating alongside a slightly more famous ACL patient, NaVorro Bowman. Colvin tore his ACL Jan. 21 during a practice at the Senior Bowl. Bowman suffered his injury Jan. 19. The surgeries were performed by famed orthopedic surgeon James Andrews, and both players rehabilitated at Andrews' clinic in Pensacola, Fla.

The 49ers, of course, drafted two players with ACL injuries last year, defensive end Tank Carradine and running back Marcus Lattimore. Neither played in 2013. Because Lattimore never appeared on the 53-man roster, his contract tolled. That is, he still has four years on his initial contract.

In that way, adding injured players to a loaded roster has become a draft strategy for the 49ers. They are able to obtain a player in a lower round because he is injured and perhaps allow him to "redshirt" his initial year with the team.

Colvin's injury, however, is not nearly as severe as Lattimore's, which involved several ligament tears and a dislocated kneecap. Colvin's agent said Sunday that the rehabilitation has gone very well and that the 6-0, 186-pound, two-time All-Big 12 cornerback will start running later this month. Colvin's injured occurred in Mobile, Ala. The next morning, he was in Dr. Andrews' office - a short drive away - in Pensacola. The surgery occurred the following week.

Team ACL: Other draft prospects with ACL injuries

DL Dominique Easley, Fla.: Easley was a first-round talent before tearing his ACL in September. He also suffered an ACL injury as a sophomore. Easley will have a private workout on Thursday. The 49ers are expected to attend.

G Brandon Thomas, Clemson. He was considered one of the better interior linemen in the draft before tearing an ACL during a workout with the Saints earlier this month.

CB Antone Exum, Virginia Tech. Exum tore his ACL in January 2013 and missed seven games that season. He missed another three with an ankle injury. He is fully healed but the injuries could cause him to slip in the draft. At 6-0, 213 pounds, he has very good size and also experience at safety.

G Spencer Long, Nebraska. Big interior lineman suffered an ACL injury in October.

QB Zach Mettenberger, LSU. He suffered an ACL tear Nov. 29 but was able to throw at LSU's pro day last week. At 6-5, Mettenberger has good size but not the athleticism Jim Harbaugh typically likes in quarterbacks.

QB Aaron Murray, Georgia. He suffered an ACL tear Nov. 25. He is expected to throw at Georgia's pro day this week.

FB Trey Millard, Oklahoma. He suffered an ACL tear on Oct. 26. The 49ers just signed Bruce Miller to a contract extension, and fullback is not a priority. Still, Millard has excellent size (6-2, 247) and runs with power and could entice with a late-round pick.

S Vinnie Sunseri, Alabama. The strong safety prospect suffered an ACL tear on Oct. 19. He went through all of the drills at school's pro day earlier this month.

-- Matt Barrows

April 13, 2014
Police: Aldon Smith taken into custody after claiming to have bomb at LAX


This story was updated from an earlier version to show the charges on which Aldon Smith has been booked.

Troubled 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was taken into custody Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport and booked on charges of making a false bomb threat. According to airport police, the incident occurred at 2 p.m. when Smith, 24, was going through security screening and said he had a bomb.

A statement from airport police reads: "At approximately 1400 hrs, a 24 year-old Aldon Jacarus Ramon Smith, a resident of San Jose, California, was going through Terminal 1 screening where he made a comment indicating that he was in possession of a bomb. Los Angeles Airport Police made contact with him in the gate area where he became uncooperative. After conducting their investigation, LA Airport Police took suspect into custody and transported him to LAPD-Pacific division where he was booked for California Penal Code 148.1(a) - False report of a bomb threat."

According to airport police Sgt. Karla Ortiz, it appeared that Smith had been drinking earlier in the day. Police, however, did not check Smith's blood-alcohol content, Ortiz said, because "it was not an issue that would affect the detention or the arrest." Still, whether Smith had been drinking is likely to be a major question for the 49ers. Smith is facing a DUI charge stemming from an incident in September. He had a hearing on Friday, and his next court date is April 29.

A witness told The Bee that trouble began brewing earlier at the Southwest Airlines ticket counter. Following an argument there, a ticket agent said that Smith would not be allowed on the plane. After going through security, the witness said Smith was approached by TSA personnel. He advanced toward his gate where he was taken into custody by five officers. A video of the incident shows an officer bringing a police dog into the vicinity of the gate as Smith is being led away in handcuffs.

The 49ers issued a statement from general manager Trent Baalke: "We are disappointed to learn of the incident today involving Aldon Smith. As this is a pending legal matter and we are still gathering the pertinent facts, we will have no further comment."

April 13, 2014
49ers to host Clemson WR Martavis Bryant on Monday

The 49ers, who are searching for a wide receiver who can make plays deep down field, will host one with those capabilities. Clemson's Martavis Bryant, who ran his 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds in February, is among the players who will visit with coaches and personnel department officials on Monday.

Bryant is different than some of the other speedy receivers in this year's draft class in that he also has size. He stands 6-4, weighs 211 pounds, and he leaped 39 inches in the vertical jump. He also had 16 bench-press repetitions of 225 pounds at the combine, not bad for an underclassman with longish (32 5/8 inches) arms.

Bryant lined up opposite the draft's top wide receiver, Sammy Watkins, last season at Clemson, and he was definitely the team's deep threat. He averaged 19.7 yards a catch, finished with 828 yards overall and scored seven touchdowns. He caught two passes in the Orange Bowl against Ohio State, two of them for touchdowns.

A year earlier, he caught 10 passes and averaged 30.5 yards a reception, tops in the nation for a player with double-digit catches. Last year, however, was his first extensive season in the offense and he is entering the draft after his junior season. That's likely why the 49ers are interested in bringing him in - they want to learn more about him.

The 49ers also are hosting Georgia State wideout Albert Wilson, Central Florida running back Storm Johnson and Boston College offensive lineman Matt Patchan on Monday. Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin will visit later in the week.

Bryant, meanwhile, has a busy pre-draft schedule. He's visiting 12 teams, including the Ravens this week, and has almost as many workouts scheduled. The 49ers have 11 picks overall and six in the first three rounds. They are expected to take at least one receiver early. Bryant is expected to be a second-day pick. San Francisco general manager Trent Baalke attended Clemson's pro day last month at which time he had dinner with Tigers cornerback Bashaud Breeland.

- Matt Barrows

April 12, 2014
Questions, clarifications in case involving NFL players


There has been no additional information today on the case involving Colin Kaepernick, Ricardo Lockette and Quinton Patton. Instead this post is meant to answer questions and to clarify other aspects of what is known so far.

* Is Kaepernick being investigated for sexual assault? That, after all, was the headline from TMZ on Thursday that started everything. The short answer: No. For one, no charges have been filed. In fact, neither he nor Lockette nor Patton has been interviewed by police. Instead, the case is being referred to as a "suspicious incident," one in which Lockette and Patton are mentioned just as equally as Kaepernick.

The longer answer is that the Miami Police Department is in the process of determining whether a crime of a sexual nature occurred. The case is being investigated by the department's Special Victims Unit, which handles sex crimes. The Miami Herald reported Friday that the unnamed woman underwent a rape test. The police also are waiting on toxicology tests that presumably will show if any drugs were in her system.

* If police were called to the players' suite at Viceroy hotel, which led to the woman being taken to the hospital, why is there no report of that incident or why hasn't it been released? Great question. Is it due to the sensitive nature of the case that some information can't be released? I asked Mary Anne Franks, an associate professor of law at the University of Miami School of Law, if there were rules or laws in Florida regarding the release of information that the department had to follow because it potentially is a sex crime. Said she was unaware of any specific protocol the police must follow when it comes to releasing information. "They know that any move they make is going to be met with a lot of scrutiny," she said. "My guess is that they want to err on the side of caution."

* The incident report, which was written April 3 when the unidentified woman went to police, is the only report released by the police thus far. It contains the woman's version of events and should not be taken as gospel. For instance, she told police that the incident began when she went to Lockette's apartment at the Viceroy hotel complex. Nearly every media account written about the incident has listed the location as Lockette's apartment.

In fact it's Kaepernick's hotel suite, at which he'd been staying since February. Lockette and Patton recently began staying there with Kaepernick. My understanding is that Lockette may have invited the woman in question up to the suite but that it's being paid for by Kaepernick. The bottom line: Even though the incident report is a document released by the police, it hasn't been vetted by the police or any other official source.

-- Matt Barrows

April 11, 2014
Kaepernick denies wrongdoing; details start to emerge in Miami investigation


This is the unedited version of the story set to appear in Saturday's Bee.

A day after he was linked to a police investigation in Miami, Colin Kaepernick on Friday tweeted that media reports linking him to sexual assault are "completely wrong" and that "sometimes you have to deal with someone who makes things up."

The last quote referred to the unnamed woman at the center of the investigation who told police she blacked out after a night of drinking with Kaepernick, 49ers receiver Quinton Patton and Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette and ended up in a hospital room the next day.

It turns out that Miami Fire Rescue personnel transported the 25-year-old woman from the players' suite at the Viceroy hotel to a downtown Miami hospital. Lt. Ignatius Carroll said emergency responders were dispatched at 12:32 a.m on April 2 and that they were summoned by police, who were already at the hotel suite.

Sources familiar with the incident said it was one of the players who placed the original calls - two of them - to hotel security or the police. When police arrived they became concerned with the woman's frame of mind, and they called Miami Fire Rescue, which handles EMT service in that city.

The police investigation began April 3 when the woman arrived at the Miami Police Department at 9:40 p.m. She told police that approximately 48 hours earlier she arrived at a suite at the upscale Viceroy hotel, made drinks for the players and that they told her in order to drink with them "she had to 'hit' the bong, which contained marijuana."

April 11, 2014
Police, emergency personnel were called to players' hotel suite

The woman at the center of an ongoing police investigation involving Colin Kaepernick and two other NFL players was taken from the players' hotel suite to the hospital by Miami Fire Rescue personnel, who were summoned to the suite by police. Multiple sources said it was one of the players who placed calls -- two of them -- to police.

"At 12:32 (a.m.), Miami Fire Rescue was dispatched to the Viceroy (hotel) and transported a 25-year-old female from the Viceroy to the Jackson Memorial Hospital emergency room," Miami Fire Lt. Ignatius Carroll told The Miami Herald. Carroll later told The Bee that the Miami Police Department summoned emergency responders to the hotel.

Kaepernick, 49ers receiver Quinton Patton and Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette are named in the incident report involving a 25-year-old, unnamed woman who claims to have blacked out and woken up in a hospital room after drinking with the men. Earlier today Kaepernick took to Twitter to say that media reports, specifically the original report by TMZ, linking him to sexual assault are "completely wrong" and that "sometimes you have to deal with someone who makes things up."

Kaepernick's agency, XAM Sports, also released a statement: "We stand by Colin 100% and are fully confident that the truth will be evident once the facts come to light regarding this matter."

Miami police are examining evidence and waiting on toxicology reports in the case, according to The Herald.

"We have to examine evidence and wait for some tests to come back, including toxicology reports," Police Chief Manuel Orosa told the newspaper on Friday. "We can present it to the state attorney and they can decide whether to continue." Orosa added: "It's too early to determine what the evidence indicates."

The case is being handled by the Miami Police Department's Special Victims Unit, which investigates sexual battery and other serious crimes. Citing sources, the Herald reported that the unidentified woman underwent a rape test but that the results are not public. Kaepernick, Patton and Lockette have not been interviewed by police.

The police department would not answer questions relating to the case, such as why the woman was admitted to a hospital and how she was transported there. Police have said the only item they are authorized to release is the incident report.

-- Matt Barrows

April 11, 2014
Running back Storm Johnson among prospects visiting 49ers Monday

The 49ers will host a number of draft prospects on Monday, including Central Florida running back Storm Johnson. The 6-0, 210-pound Johnson ran for 1,139 yards, averaged 5.3 yards a carry and scored 14 rushing touchdowns and another three receiving touchdowns for the Knights in 2013. He had 117 yards in the game against Penn State (below).

Johnson transferred from Miami in 2010 and he spent only one season as Central Florida's featured runner. He is entering the draft as a junior, which is likely why the 49ers wanted to use one of the 30 visits they are allotted on him. That is, they are looking for more information. Johnson is expected to be a third-day draft pick.

The 49ers also are hosting Georgia State wideout Albert Wilson on Monday as well as Boston College offensive lineman Matt Patchan, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The 49ers waived former USC receiver Brandon Carswell. Carswell signed with the 49ers on June 12, 2013. He missed the entire 2013 season after being placed on injured reserve June 19 with an ACL tear.

-- Matt Barrows

April 11, 2014
Kaepernick: Stories about Miami investigation 'completely wrong'

A day after he was linked to a police investigation in Miami, Colin Kaepernick today tweeted that the stories written about him were "completely wrong." To followers that have written him messages of encouragement, the 49ers quarterback wrote, "I assure you your faith is not misplaced."

Kaepernick, 49ers receiver Quinton Patton and Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette - a close friend of Kaepernick's and a former 49ers receiver - are named in an incident report involving a woman who claims to have blacked out at their hotel suite April 1 and woken up in a hospital. No charges have been filed in the case and it's unclear whether any crimes have been committed.

Kaepernick's agent, Scott Smith of XAM Sports, also released a statement today: "We stand by Colin 100% and are fully confident that the truth will be evident once the facts come to light regarding this matter. Thank you for supporting Colin."

The first media outlet to write about the case, TMZ, said that Kaepernick was being investigated for possible sexual assault. The Miami Police Department has tried to distance itself from that report, however. A police spokeswoman on Thursday said it was incorrect.

Wrote Kaepernick in a three-part tweet:

One thing to keep in mind: The incident report released by police on Thursday contains only the woman's version of events. Her name has been redacted to protect her identity. Police have refused to provide further details from the night of April 1, including why the woman was in the hospital and how she got there. The police will not release that information, they said, because it's part of an ongoing investigation.

-- Matt Barrows

April 10, 2014
Kaepernick, two other players, investigated in "suspicious incident" in Miami


Miami police are looking into what they termed a "suspicious incident" in Miami involving 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, receiver Quinton Patton and Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette, who once played for the 49ers and is a close friend of Kaepernick's. Police cautioned that the investigation is in its early stages and that no charges have been filed. In fact, the incident report makes no mention that a crime has occurred.

According to the report, the incident occurred April 1 when a woman went to Lockette's apartment at 485 Brickell Ave. in Miami at 9 p.m. Lockette, Kaepernick and Patton were there, and the woman made drinks and served shots to the players. She was also told that in order "to drink the shots she had to 'hit' the bong which contained marijuana," the report said.

The group then watched a basketball game on television. The report continues to say that the woman felt light headed and went to a bedroom where she was later joined by Kaepernick, 26, with whom she had a sexual relationship in the past. Kaepernick then left the bedroom. The two did not have sex, she said in the report. The report says that Patton, 23, and Lockette, 27, peeked inside the bedroom and that the woman yelled, "What are you doing? Where is Colin? Get out!"

According to the report, the woman does not remember anything about the night after that. She woke up in a hospital bed the following morning not knowing how she got there. The woman, whose name is redacted, reported the incident to police on April 3.

The 49ers released a statement from general manager Trent Baalke: "The 49ers organization is aware of the recent media report regarding Colin Kaepernick and is in the process of gathering the pertinent facts."

Kaepernick last year trained with Lockette in the Atlanta area and they lived together in Santa Clara until Lockette was released. They are training in South Florida this year. The 49ers and Kaepernick currently are negotiating a multi-year contract extension that, if completed, will make Kaepernick the highest-paid 49er and one of the highest paid players in the league.

Kaepernick and Patton were scheduled to be part of a large contingent of 49ers on hand for teammate Anquan Boldin's "Q Fest" festivities in South Florida this weekend that benefit his home town of Pahokee, Fla. Head coach Jim Harbaugh also is scheduled to attend. Also scheduled to attend -- receiver Michael Crabtree, who was interviewed in connection to an alleged sexual assault in San Francisco early in 2013. Charges never were filed in that case.

-- Matt Barrows

April 9, 2014
Chris Culliver faces three charges; threatening witness isn't one of them


Cornerback Chris Culliver is facing one felony charge and two misdemeanor charges after last month's hit-and-run incident involving a bicyclist in San Jose.

Culliver, 25, was charged with felony possession of metal knuckles, which carries up to a three-year prison sentence. He also was charged with misdemeanor hit and run with injury as well as misdemeanor hit and run, which have one-year maximum sentences.

The Santa Clara District Attorney's office today said it was unaware of any criminal activity in Culliver's past, which likely means he will not serve a maximum sentence and could avoid jail time altogether. The bicyclist, who was knocked down while crossing an intersection on March 28, was treated and released on the day of the incident.

Notably, Culliver was not charged for threatening the witness who followed Culliver in his vehicle after the encounter with the bicyclist. The initial media reports said that after the witness tried to block Culliver's white Ford Mustang to prevent him from leaving, Culliver got out of his car, threatened the witness with brass knuckles and then got back in the car and fled. A situation like that typically would result in a charge of "criminal threats," but that did not happen in this case.

Brass knuckles later were discovered in Culliver's car by San Jose Police. Deputy District Attorney Jaron Shipp said that the district attorney's office will continue to investigate the case.

If the NFL decides to punish the fourth-year cornerback, it likely would not do so until the legal process runs its course. Culliver is due to appear in court for an arraignment hearing on Friday.

He and Tramaine Brock are the frontrunners to start at cornerback in 2014. General manager Trent Baalke also said that Culliver - as well as Brock, Eric Wright and Perrish Cox - is a candidate to slip inside to slot cornerback when opponents bring out three or more receivers. The 49ers also are expected to draft a cornerback next month, perhaps in the first round.

- Matt Barrows

April 9, 2014
Preseason schedule: Broncos to help 49ers break in new stadium


Which NFL opponent gets to break in Levi's Stadium?

The honor goes to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, who will visit the 49ers in the second week of the exhibition season (Aug. 14-18). The 49ers will open the summer schedule on the road against the Ravens (Aug. 7-10) before testing out their new home against the Broncos and then the Chargers on Aug. 24 at 1 p.m. They will finish the preseason on the road on Aug. 28 against the Texans. The start times for three of the four games have yet to be determined.

The 49ers' game in Baltimore means that Jim Harbaugh will have faced his brother, John, in the regular season, the postseason and now the exhibition season. Preseason games held three time zones away are rare but not unprecedented. The 49ers traveled to Indianapolis in 2010. This year's game is the first time they've played the Ravens in the preseason.

This will be the third straight year the 49ers and Raiders will not face each other in the preseason. Violence during and after the teams' game in 2011 at Candlestick Park suspended what had been an annual summer meeting. The 49ers will visit the Raiders during the regular season. They also will visit the Broncos and host the Chargers during the regular season.

The first game played at $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium will be a soccer match between the San Jose Earthquakes and the Seattle Sounders on Aug. 2. That match will be used as a test run to make sure all of the stadium's operations - from parking to concessions to the video boards - work properly.

The regular-season schedule is expected to be released later this month. Team officials have said they will be on the road in Week 1 before hosting their first real game at Levi's Stadium in Week 2 on Sept. 14. The City of Santa Clara has asked that the 49ers not host any weekday games in the first year of the stadium. A percentage of the parking spaces that will be used on game days belong to nearby businesses, which ostensibly will be occupied on weekdays.

That means the team will not host any games on Monday or non-holiday games on Thursday in the inaugural season at the new stadium. However, it's possible they could host the last of the three games played on Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, the NFL today announced that next year's Pro Bowl will be played in Glendale Ariz., the site of the Super Bowl, which will be played a week later. Santa Clara will host the following year's Super Bowl, but the Pro Bowl game is expected to return to its usual location, Honolulu, that year.

-- Matt Barrows

April 9, 2014
49ers inconspicuous at LSU pro day ... just like last year


***UPDATE*** Following the pro day, Odell Beckham told SiriusXM radio that he met with a 49ers scout, believed to be regional scout Bob Morris, before the session began.

While other teams sent their head coach or general manager to Baton Rouge, La for LSU's pro day today, the 49ers have only one scout on hand. Of course, the team also sent the same scout to the same event last year before trading ahead 13 spots to take safety Eric Reid in the first round.

The Tigers' draft class abounds with intriguing talent again this year, including a wide receiver, Odell Beckham, Jr., who seems to check off all the boxes - speed, toughness, long arms, excelled in SEC - the 49ers are looking for in a wideout. Beckham (5-11, 198) ran his 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds at the scouting combine, and he was one of the event's top performers in the 20-yard and 60-yard shuttles. Beckham did not re-run the 40 today.

Beckham has seemed to create some draft-day separation with teammate and fellow wideout Jarvis Landry, who is believed to be a second-day pick. Another intriguing prospect is quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who tore his ACL on Nov. 29 but who was able to throw at today's pro day. Mettenberger also is considered a second- or third-round draft pick.

LSU pro day participants
LB Lamin Barrow
WR Odell Beckham Jr.
RB Alfred Blue
WR Kadron Boone
FB J.C. Copeland
DT Ego Ferguson
LB Seth Fruge
LB Jarett Hardnett
DT Anthony Johnson
RB Jeremy Hill
LB Tahj Jones
WR Jarvis Landry 
S Craig Loston
QB Zach Mettenberger
OG Trai Turner 
OL Josh Williford           
WR James Wright 

-- Matt Barrows

April 8, 2014
Snap count: 49ers will have options, competition at center


The 49ers' have exactly one unrestricted free agent who has yet to sign with any team - center Jonathan Goodwin, who has handled virtually every snap for the team for the last three season. The frontrunner to replace him, of course, is fourth-year player Daniel Kilgore, who was Goodwin's backup last season and who recently signed a three-year contract extension.

The bigger question is, who will compete with and push Kilgore during the offseason and who will serve as his backup during the regular season?

The 49ers have options. Adam Snyder has started three games at center and was the team's backup there in 2011. Joe Looney has been taking practice snaps at center beginning with the draft process in 2010. Ryan Seymour, acquired off the Seahawks' practice squad last season, played some center his senior season at Vanderbilt.

"I feel good about that group competing for that spot," general manager Trent Baalke said when asked about the team's prospects at center last month.

And if he doesn't feel good, the team always can bring back Goodwin or perhaps draft a center. The 49ers have shown interest in one of the top players at the position, Colorado State's Weston Richburg, according to a league source. Richburg is either considered the top or second-best center (to Arkansas' Travis Swanson) in the draft, depending on which publication you read. He is expected to be taken in the second round.

-- Matt Barrows

April 7, 2014
Single high? New CB Cook suggests changes in store for 49ers defense

Last month Jim Harbaugh hinted about changes to the 49ers offense. Could the team's defense also be in for a tweak or two?

Newly-signed cornerback Chris Cook suggested as much when he spoke about being used in a "single-high" defensive scheme. That's the formation with which the Seahawks have had so much success, one that often uses a single safety, Earl Thomas, in coverage so that the other safety, Kam Chancellor is free to crowd the line of scrimmage. It also is used in conjunction with Seattle's big, physical cornerbacks playing press coverage.

"They want me to be the press guy," the 6-2, 212-pound Cook said last month of the 49ers' plans for him. "And that's what I like to do. I feel like I'll fit in well with the one-high (safety) scheme that they like to run. I came from a two-high scheme. And I feel like a one-high scheme and a man-to-man scheme fits me well."

The Seahawks' style of defense, of course, is all the rage after a 2013 season in which they finished first in total defense, first in pass defense and annihilated Denver's offense in the Super Bowl. Chancellor in particular has been effective against the 49ers' only true down-field threat, tight end Vernon Davis. His receiving statistics in three meetings last season: 3 catches for 20 yards, 2 catches for 21 yards and 2 catches for 16 yards.

The 49ers' interest in tall, press cornerbacks also makes a one-high scheme seem like a possibility. In addition to signing Cook, the team has looked closely at Clemson cornerback Bashaud Breeland, one of several press-style cornerbacks who could be taken in the second round of this year's draft. (More on that below).

April 4, 2014
49ers to host small but speedy Georgia State WR

The 49ers will host Albert Wilson, a small but speedy wideout from Georgia State to their facility on April 14, according to a league source. Wilson, who goes 5-9, 202 pounds and who was invited to the combine, is the first known pre-draft visitor for the 49ers. I'm told, however, that the team will host about 10 prospects that day. They'll get physicals, meet the position coaches and tour the facility.

Wilson is intriguing because he seems to fit the mold the 49ers were seeking during free agency when they showed interest in players like Dexter McCluster and Julian Edelman. He has plenty of experience with both punt and kickoff returns, including a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Alabama in 2011.

At 202 pounds, he is sturdy for his size, and teams are looking at him as a possible slot receiver. Wilson led Georgia State during their recent 0-12 season with 71 catches for 1,177 yards and eight touchdowns. He had seven grabs for 153 yards and two touchdowns in the game against Troy (below). Wilson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds at the combine. (His arms are 30 3/8 inches, slightly above average for someone who stands 5-9).

Wilson is thought to be a third-day draft pick. San Francisco is his only visit so far, but the Buccaneers coaches are flying to the Atlanta area to work him out.

- Matt Barrows

April 3, 2014
Great debate: WR or CB first for 49ers?
April 3, 2014
49ers notes: Baalke likes Clemson CB; Brandin Cooks as DeSean-like deep threat


Interesting quote from Oregon State receiver Brandin Cooks today. Of course, the 49ers aren't the only team looking for a wide receiver in the draft. The Eagles, picking at No. 22, could use one as well after parting ways with DeSean Jackson. Could Cooks fill that role?

"The man can blow the top off, catch the deep routes, catch the underneath routes, produce in the return game," Cooks told Philly.com. "He's just special. He's a freak. I definitely admire his game. Maybe Chip Kelly is looking to take another speedy receiver in that first round, and that could be me. Who knows? And if that's the case, a lot of people will wonder, 'Can he do it like DeSean Jackson?' In my opinion, I can do it like him and do it better."

It's interesting because the 49ers had at least some interest in Jackson and in another small but speedy wideout, Emmanuel Sanders, in free agency. I see Cooks as more of a catch-and-run receiver, but he certainly did a lot of damage on the outside as well with the Beavers. Do the 49ers look at Cooks that way? If so, he might be someone they're eying in the first round. (But I still think they like LSU's Odell Beckham and perhaps FSU's Kelvin Benjamin more).

Draft analyst Tony Pauline reported this week that 49ers GM Trent Baalke had dinner with Clemson cornerback Bashaud Breeland after his pro day last month. Pauline describes it as "heavy interest" from the 49ers. Breeland is seen as a second- or third-round pick. That's where the strength of the cornerback class lies. The 49ers, meanwhile, have five picks in those two rounds.

April 1, 2014
49ers show interest in DeSean Jackson, will proceed cautiously


****UPDATE**** The 49ers reportedly made a late push for DeSean Jackson, but he ultimately signed a three-year deal with the Redskins.

Trent Baalke last week adamantly denied contacting the Eagles about wide receiver DeSean Jackson. But he never denied having an interest in Jackson, who is now a free agent. Instead the 49ers general manager chose his words carefully: "As of this moment, there's been no discussions between us and the Philadelphia Eagles whatsoever," Baalke said at the owners' meeting in Orlando.

Now it seems as if reports linking the 49ers and Jackson, the former Cal star, have been accurate all along. Both NBC news in Washington, D.C. and ESPN's Adam Schefter report the 49ers are one of the teams interested in Jackson, who recently wrapped up a two-day visit with the Redskins. Other teams with interest include the Raiders, who can perhaps offer him more money than any other squad, the Browns and the Bills.

One thing to keep in mind when it comes to Jackson and San Francisco is the 49ers' strategy when it comes to free agents. If they have a high grade on a player, they'll typically show interest early only to back off later if the price tag does not fit their parameters. For example, they were one of the teams that inquired early about then-Vikings free agent Jared Allen but quickly fell out of the running when Allen made it known he wanted a top-dollar contract.

Their message seems to be: 'If you want to play for a winning team, this would be a great spot. But we're not going to break the bank for you.' In that way, the 49ers could offer Jackson a better chance at making it to a Super Bowl than his other suitors. But the other teams -- especially the Raiders and Browns -- could offer more money and realistically offer him more playing time.

April 1, 2014
Seeking safeties: 49ers looking at prospects in upcoming draft

The 49ers are looking at safeties. They were one of four teams who sent a scout to watch Central Arkansas' Jestin Love, a strong safety, go through his pro-day workout earlier this week. Love had a 38-inch vertical jump, leaped 10-foot, 3 inches in the broad jump and had 22 reps on the bench press. He is thought to be a third-day draft pick.

The 49ers also were on hand for Northern Illinois' safety Jimmie Ward's pro day and Trent Baalke himself attended Florida State's pro day, which for the second straight year was loaded with NFL prospects, including cornerback/safety LaMarcus Joyner.

Wide receiver and cornerback are by far the team's top needs heading into the draft. A strong argument could be made that safety is No. 3. The team is set at the starting spots with Eric Reid at free safety and Antoine Bethea at strong safety.

After that, Craig Dahl, who took a pay cut this offseason, is signed through the 2015 season and C.J. Spillman is signed through the upcoming season. The only other two players listed at safety on the roster are former Cal player D.J. Campbell, who started four games in 2012 for the Panthers, and Ray "Bubba" Ventrone, who is a special teams player.

Thanks to draft sleuth Franco Mazzoli for pointing out this video of the 49ers working out Colorado State-Pueblo defensive tackle Mike Pennel on Monday.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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