Jalen Hurd Jersey

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Jalen Hurd transferred from Tennessee to Baylor two years ago with a dream of making himself an NFL receiver.

Hurd will get his chance as the San Francisco 49ers picked him in the third round of the NFL draft Friday night with the 67th overall pick.

Most draft predictions pegged Hurd as a fourth or fifth-round pick, but the 49ers took the 6-4, 217-pound fifth-year senior earlier than expected.

After rushing for 2,660 yards and 20 touchdowns in three seasons at Tennessee, Hurd could have tested the draft waters in 2017. But Hurd felt his best chance to make the NFL was as a receiver, so he transferred to Baylor to learn how to play that position in Matt Rhule’s pro-style offense.

Hurd began learning Rhule’s system as a redshirt in 2017. The transfer year paid off as Hurd led the Bears with 69 catches for 946 yards and four touchdowns in 2018 while also still contributing in the backfield by rushing for 209 yards and three scores.

“I think I’ve shown I can be a receiver and do it very well,” said Hurd on Baylor’s Pro Day on April 2. “I showed I can be a pretty dominant and elite receiver. So I think I’ll be able to for sure do that at the next level. My biggest strength is my speed, my versatility and just being able to cut. I’m very big and I can move a lot better than most big people. I’m glad I have a year under my belt (at receiver).”

Hurd missed Baylor’s 45-38 win over Vanderbilt in the Texas Bowl and the Senior Bowl after undergoing minor knee surgery.

Hurd was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February before working out at Baylor’s Pro Day.

The NFL draft will be completed Saturday with rounds four through seven beginning at 11 a.m.

Deebo Samuel Jersey

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I love when players show their personality. Just in these questions from San Francisco 49ers second round pick Deebo Samuel, you can see his confidence and how authentic he is. Check it out:

Did you have any expectation that you would be going to the 49ers at all?

“Throughout this process, I feel like we became a lot closer. It’s more than football with the conversations that I had with them.”

How have the last 24 hours been for you?

“The last 24 hours have been pretty hectic to be honest with you. It’s a lot of excitement and just to hear my name called today was kind of like a blessing.”

When you were in Mobile, the 49ers had not had wide receivers coach Wes Welker join the team yet. What was it like meeting him when you came out to Santa Clara and what did you guys discuss?

“It was great, knowing what type of player he was and how good he was when he played. Hearing about that was like a blessing because he’s been there and done it before. The conversations I had with him was the things I need to work on and where I fit in the offense.”

Having been in this offense now for a week in Mobile, how do you fit into the offense?

“I feel like being able to move all over the place is going to help me a lot and also playing special teams.”

Did you play the Z-receiver spot in Mobile?

“I think so.”

Okay. Did you play all the spots?

“No, sir. I was just the Z that week because we didn’t have enough time to put a whole lot in, so we just kind of focused on one position.”

What kind of rapport did you develop with head coach Kyle Shanahan starting there in Mobile? What was your impression of him?

“I think he’s a great guy. Just talking to him, the first day I got there, without even like really hitting the field yet, and after hitting the field, we had a pretty good bit of conversations after that, just how I could go about my business.”

What kind of mentality do you have to have as a receiver to be as good as you are after the catch?

“Me personally, I just feel like you’ve got to have that dog in you. Having that mindset, not one person is going to bring you down, and you’re going to make every catch that’s thrown your way.”

Was that an attribute that the 49ers expressed that they liked about your game?

“Yes, sir. Yards after catch, that’s one of the main things that we talked about.”

Nick Bosa Jersey

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The San Francisco 49ers have wrapped up their 2019 NFL Draft, which aside from first-round EDGE Nick Bosa, is largely highlighted by offensive pass catchers.

For those wondering whether or not the San Francisco 49ers would upgrade their wide receiver corps in the 2019 NFL Draft, you have the answer.

The Niners picked up two wideouts on day two of the draft: South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel in Round 2, backed up by the 6-foot-5 Jalen Hurd from Baylor in Round 3. These two additions should help overcome what was a receiving corps which failed to produce a single 500-yard wideout in 2018.

Pass catchers highlighted the 2019 draft efforts from general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan, although the 49ers’ top get, Ohio State EDGE Nick Bosa, will be the vanguard of the class.

Here’s the breakdown of San Francisco’s eight total picks this year:Hurd, however, is a bit more interesting. A converted running back from the University of Tennessee, Hurd had to sit out nearly an entire season after transferring to Baylor to become a pass catcher.

“Yeah, definitely,” Shanahan said when asked if Hurd could be used as an H-back player. “I see him, he’s got that type of body. I think he can do a little bit more things.”

Smith, meanwhile, could push No. 2 tight end Garrett Celek for a roster spot as soon as training camp, especially considering the soon-to-be 31-year-old Celek had only five receptions in 2018, yet was penalized six times.

Still, San Francisco’s biggest prize is Bosa. Arguably the draft’s top prospect, he managed to find his way to the 49ers after the top-drafting Arizona Cardinals took Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick.

“I think it’s pretty awesome that I’m joining a team that’s already assembled a pretty darn good squad,” Bosa told reporters after being drafted. “Just playing here, seeing the Super Bowl trophies around, it’s definitely pretty cool.”

An Interesting Choice for Selecting a Punter

In 2015, then-general manager Trent Baalke used a fifth-round pick to take Clemson punter Bradley Pinion.

Reaction wasn’t particularly good, especially considering the turmoil the 49ers went through in the months preceding that year’s NFL Draft. Pinion was the 2015 NFL Draft’s first specialist taken, and he stayed with the Niners until finally departing via free agency in 2019.

Influenced by that, Lynch grabbed former Utah punter Mitch Wishnowsky, not in Round 5, but in the fourth round.

K’Waun Williams Jersey

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Niner Noise edges closer to the conclusion of our 2018 “Who Is?” series, taking a look at veteran San Francisco 49ers cornerback K’Waun Williams and his role this upcoming season.

Early on in 2017, nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams was having some notable issues during his first year with the San Francisco 49ers.

Williams, of course, was one of general manager John Lynch’s first pickups after taking over duties that season. The former Cleveland Browns corner had some upside despite missing all of 2016 with an ankle injury.

The positive traits are certainly what drew Lynch to target Williams on a one-year deal in 2017. And despite his early struggles, Williams ended up appearing in 14 regular-season games with San Francisco last season, emerging as one of the more reliable defensive backs on the team’s roster.

The 5-foot-9, 183-pound Williams played his college ball at Pittsburgh, going undrafted in 2014 before signing on with the Browns that season.

His smallish frame certainly influenced his UDFA status. Despite that, Williams earned a reputation for playing bigger than his actual size indicated. And as a nickel corner lining up over the slot, Williams managed to carve out a nice niche for himself at the pro level.

He’ll be pressured in training camp, though. Despite inking a three-year extension with the Niners earlier, the 49ers’ selection of Kansas State nickel back D.J. Reed in this year’s NFL Draft should create a nice little competition.

It’s one Williams could easily win out of camp, but he’ll have to show some serious effort to do so.

Earl Mitchell Jersey

MOBILE, Ala. — The San Francisco 49ers are parting with one of the first free-agent signings of the Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch era.

The Niners confirmed Wednesday that they have informed defensive tackle Earl Mitchell they won’t be exercising his option for the 2019 season. The 49ers made the move now in part to give Mitchell a head start on looking for a new team before free agency begins in March.

“Earl has been a fantastic asset to this entire organization,” defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “… It’s an opportunity for other guys to try to step up and it will not be easy to try to replace him, for sure.”

Mitchell was scheduled to count $4.45 million against the salary cap had he been on the roster next season. The 49ers are open to bringing Mitchell back at a lesser price should the opportunity arise.

In the meantime, the Niners move forward with multiple in-house options to replace Mitchell. Third-year nose tackle D.J. Jones is the best bet to step in for Mitchell. Mitchell was a healthy scratch for the last two games of the season, with Jones starting in his stead over the final four contests.

Jones, who joined the Niners as a sixth-round pick out of Ole Miss, had 17 tackles on the season with 13 coming in those last four games. But Jones isn’t the only option, as the Niners also toyed with different looks that included end Arik Armstead playing the nose tackle spot in nickel packages. Armstead’s play there could pave the way for more of that look in 2019.

“I thought [Jones] did a good job,” Saleh said. “Obviously, he still needs to get better. There’s still going to be a lot of competition for him. I thought Arik Armstead stepped in at the nose in nickel and showed some things that created versatility for that entire room, so his competition is not just at nose, it’s can he be one of the best 10 defensive linemen? And that goes for everyone.”

The Niners signed Mitchell on Feb. 28, 2017, less than a month after officially hiring Shanahan as head coach and Lynch as general manager. Miami had released Mitchell in a scenario similar to the one that played out with the Niners, as a means to give him an early bite at free agency.

In two seasons in San Francisco, Mitchell had 61 tackles, a sack, a fumble recovery and three batted passes.

Mitchell, 31, could be one of multiple high-priced veterans the Niners part ways with before free agency. Receiver Pierre Garcon and linebacker Malcolm Smith, both of whom have had injury-plagued tenures since signing as free agents in 2017, are scheduled to count $8.275 million and $5.45 million, respectively, against the salary cap in 2019.

Shanahan said Tuesday he has already had some open discussions with veterans like Garcon and while nothing has been made official, he’s expecting those decisions to be made in the near future.

“We’ve got to see what our roster is like, how the salary cap plays out through free agency and everything, and we’re not there yet with our whole plan,” Shanahan said. “There’s a lot of things that are fluid and we’re working through those things.

“I think we’ll have it resolved sooner than later.”

Marquise Goodwin Jersey

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Remember when George Kittle tweeted at Antonio Brown and started that whole mess? That was fun, wasn’t it? Well it’s always funny, until someone from the team you’re covering does something similar.

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement via instagram and the result was an outcry from fans and the league, celebrating what is a decorated career. It goes without saying Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his own Instagram post on the subject and then someone stopped by: For those who can’t read the text, that highlight is from San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and it reads: “I play TE, FWM”

Uh-oh.

This is probably nothing other than Goodwin showing up and paying respects. He was signed to an extension in the 2018 offseason and there hasn’t been a rumor, peep, or thread of info suggesting he won’t be with the team in 2019 or is unhappy in Santa Clara. The responses would say something else, because Patriots fans loved the idea of him coming to New England and 49ers fans were in shock or rage at what he said.

Finding this single quote took the better half of two hours (try finding stuff buried in Instagram…it’s a pain) and I looked to see if there was anything else dropped, but was unable due to my computer running out of memory.

Goodwin was a monster in 2017 with the 49ers, which was what got him the aforementioned extension. 2018 was another story as he fought injuries and also the pain of his wife’s second miscarriage, a personal detail the 49ers kept under wraps—and Goodwin off the field—while Goodwin and his wife grieved over the traumatic event.

What do you make of this statement? Is there something more or is there nothing to see here?

Laken Tomlinson Jersey

Left guard Laken Tomlinson has been a notable exception in the 49ers’ injury-plagued season.

After 10 games, Tomlinson is the only player to not miss a snap and he also has yet to appear on the team’s injury report for the second straight season. Tomlinson, who has played all 666 offensive snaps, was asked if he took pride in his durability.

“Yeah, you want to be there for your team every chance you get,” Tomlinson said. “What do they say — availability is your best ability, or whatever? So I try to be there for the team.”

Tomlinson, a 2015 first-round pick of the Lions, has flourished since he was dealt to the 49ers last year for a fifth-round selection. Since signing a three-year extension in June, he has played a major role in an offense that ranks third in the NFL in rushing yards per game (133.6).

He can become the first member of the 49ers to play every snap since offensive linemen Trent Brown and Zane Beadles did so in 2016.

“I still think I’m growing,” Tomlinson said. “I still think there’s another platform I can reach.”

SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Laken Tomlinson #75 of the San Francisco 49ers walks off the field after defeating the Oakland Raiders 34-3 in their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on November 1, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) Photo: Daniel Shirey / Getty Images

Photo: Daniel Shirey / Getty Images

Wide receiver Pierre Garcon remained sidelined in practice because of a knee injury that has plagued him since early October. Garcon has missed two of the past three games after making his first two starts after the injury.

Meanwhile, backup guard Joshua Garnett did not practice. He recently had surgery to repair a tendon in his thumb. Head coach Kyle Shanahan indicated Garnett could be available Sunday when the 49ers visit Tampa Bay.

“Just need to give it a couple more days to heal,” Shanahan said.

Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin was at practice after he was excused from Monday’s session for personal reasons. Linebacker Reuben Foster (hamstring) and center Weston Richburg (knee) were limited.

Kyle Juszczyk Jersey

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Fullbacks are going extinct. You know it. I know it. Kyle Juszczyk knows it.

It’s no secret that the NFL has been steadily devaluing fullbacks for years now. But is that because the position has become obsolete in today’s pass-first, high-scoring game? Or is it because there’s a deficiency of fullbacks who possess an invaluable skill set for a modern offense?

According to Pro Football Focus, only five fullbacks have played at least 100 snaps this season and only two have reached the 200 mark. Juszczyk is far and away the leader at 379 while playing a career high 64 percent of snaps for the San Francisco 49ers in 2018. He’s posted 21 receptions for 255 yards and a touchdown and has more receiving yards than Kenyan Drake, LeSean McCoy and Ezekiel Elliott. That’s big time usage, even in an offense like Kyle Shanahan’s that is predicated on the presence of a fullback.

“Every game, if the other team has a fullback, he’ll come up to me, and it’s usually the exact same conversation,” Juszczyk said. “It’s, ‘Damn, man, they’ve got you doing everything. You’ve got it good.’ Literally every single time. There’s not much I can say. I just grin.”

But Shanahan isn’t a conservationist striving to protect football’s equivalent to the Bengal tiger. Juszczyk provides a legitimate mismatch, and Shanahan utilizes him as such. That’s why Juszczyk is far more of a unicorn than the last of a dying breed.

“Kyle is a great player,” Shanahan said. “He’s as good of a fullback as there is or probably has been.”

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Juszczyk’s aptitude at the position stems from a robust résumé as a high school football player. He earned all-state honors in Ohio at linebacker. He also played tight end while dabbling at wide receiver, quarterback and running back for good measure. Most colleges recruited Juszczyk as a linebacker, but he preferred to play offense. Harvard gave him that opportunity, and he signed with the Crimson to play tight end.

Weston Richburg Jersey

Center Weston Richburg (left) hopes to be healthy and ready to participate in training camp this summer with the 49ers. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The 49ers’ official offseason program begins Monday. For the first two weeks, players will participate only in strength and conditioning programs.

Players who are coming off injuries will only do rehabilitation work. It’s still a while until players and coaches will run drills and scrimmages.

Several 49ers are still a long way from participating fully.

One is center Weston Richburg, 27, who was signed a year ago to a pricey five-year contract that could pay him as much as $47.5 million. He played his first four seasons in the NFL with the New York Giants.

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Richburg suffered a knee injury early in the 2018 season. Though he continued to play – he started 15 games – his mobility and effectiveness were limited. Richburg had surgery in January on his knee and quadriceps and is not expected to be ready to participate fully until training camp in July.

During his time in New York, Richburg was considered by many to be terrific, smart and mobile center who was a leader and standout in both run- and pass-blocking. His ability to come back fully off rehabilitation will be a key for the 49ers offense in 2019.

Richburg was among the lowest-graded centers of 2018 by the analytic website Pro Football Focus, but 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said in December that he’s “happy” with Richburg in his lineup based on what he saw from him in his first season in the Bay Area and how he fought through his injury to contribute.

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“I think we’ve got a very good center who is only going to get better,” Shanahan said.

For his part, Richburg is working to be ready for training camp. He believes that he, tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey and guards Laken Tomlinson and Mike Person – who signed a three-year extension in March – will be much better after playing together for the first time last season.

“I think we’ll have a better grasp of the system,” Richburg told a reporter. “I’ll be able to understand it better after going through a whole year of games. I think we’ll be able to be a little more creative and be more player-run because we’ll have more experience in it. I am excited about that aspect of it.”

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But first, he’ll need to go through a complete rehabilitation and strengthening schedule. Then he’ll get the chance to show the 49ers what he can do when fully healthy.

Richard Sherman Jersey

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A case could be made that the most susceptible area of the 49ers’ defense is in the secondary.

However, there is reason to believe it should perform better than last year, and that’s even before adding reinforcements in the upcoming NFL draft.

That’s because Richard Sherman — far and away the 49ers’ best cornerback last season — is healthier now than he was then, according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.

“I’m told that Richard Sherman was at no better than 80% last year, and he only got there after significant improvement in early November, right around when the Niners played the Giants,” Breer wrote in his Monday Morning Quarterback column.

“As such, San Francisco expects a much-improved version of the former All-Pro, which would give the roster a boost at a position where Ahkello Witherspoon struggled last year and Jason Verrett was added last month,” Breer continued. “Another thing that should help: Sherman had surgery to have sutures, initially put in as part of the rehab process, removed from his heel after the season, and he’s felt a lot better since.”

Despite recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, Sherman was able to perform at a similar level to his All-Pro years in Seattle this past season. He didn’t record an interception, but he only allowed one reception every 20.2 coverage snaps according to Pro Football Focus, the third-best mark among all cornerbacks in the NFL.

Simply put, opposing quarterbacks didn’t want to risk throwing at Sherman.

In addition to his value on the field, Sherman also served as an important veteran voice in the 49ers’ locker room and an extension of the coaching staff. With a defensive backfield that features young players such as Witherspoon, Tarvarius Moore, Adrian Colbert, D.J. Reed and others, Sherman will continue to have a role as an elder statesman.

The 49ers already have made some significant additions on defense this offseason with the trade for edge rusher Dee Ford and signing of linebacker Kwon Alexander. They’re expected to further bolster the defense with the second overall pick in the upcoming draft, and suddenly San Francisco could have the makings of one of the league’s better front-seven alignments.

[RELATED: 49ers want their defensive line to be a ‘dominant force’]

If Sherman is considerably healthier than he was last year, though? Well, that could help transform the 49ers’ biggest weakness into a strength.

And, given the additions to the front seven, perhaps a few more interceptions should be expected.