49ers TE George Kittle worked exclusively with the starting offense during Tuesday's minicamp practice, according to insider Grant Cohn. "For long stretches, Kittle was [QB Brian] Hoyer’s go-to guy," Cohn added. San Francisco's new brass isn't high on TE Vance McDonald, and the rest of the TE group reads Garrett Celek, Logan Paulsen and Blake Bell. Kittle didn't put up big numbers at Iowa but earned the top SPARQ score in this year's loaded TE class. He could certainly carve out a rookie-year role.
49ers RB Carlos Hyde is struggling in new HC Kyle Shanahan's offense, at least according to insider Grant Cohn. "Hyde is the slowest and most indecisive running back on the team," Cohn writes. "... He doesn’t seem to have the vision to succeed in Kyle Shanahan’s outside-zone running scheme." It's only June, of course, and this is just 1 beat writer's opinion. But it'll only add fuel to the Joe Williams fire. Shanahan reportedly banged the table for the rookie, who's one-cut-and-go style seems like a good fit for the offense. This will be a backfield to monitor closely when training camp opens.
49ers insider Eric Branch doesn't consider TE Vance McDonald a lock to make the final roster. Former GM Trent Baalke handed McDonald a 5-year, $35 million extension just last December, but the new regime evidently doesn't see him as a fit. GM John Lynch even admitted that McDonald was on the trade block during the draft. We'll see how this ends, but McDonald isn't worth even a late pick in fantasy drafts right now.
The 49ers selected Louisiana Tech WR Trent Taylor in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The small-school version of Ryan Switzer, Taylor goes 5’8 and 181 pounds with a 26th percentile SPARQ score. That obviously makes him a long shot for fantasy value, although he did put up huge numbers in a pass-happy college offense.
The 49ers snagged Iowa TE George Kittle in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The 6’4, 247-pounder surprised with a 97th percentile SPARQ score in the pre-draft process. He doesn’t play that athletically but did average 15.4 yards per catch across 4 college seasons. Kittle is also a more-than-willing blocker and comes from a pro-style offense. There’s some sleeper appeal here. Note that insider Michael Lombardi reported Friday that TE Vance McDonald is on the trade block.
The 49ers selected Utah RB Joe Williams in the 4th round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Williams has red flag character concerns in his past — he was suspended at UConn for credit card theft in 2013 and quit abruptly while with Utah in 2016. He returned to the Utes after 1 month after the team endured backfield injuries. On the field, Williams will need to improve his ball security and prove that he can threaten defenses out of the backfield. But he’s an impressive athlete from both a speed and agility perspective. The 23-year-old really displayed his talent this past season vs. UCLA, ripping off 332 yards on 29 carries. Now in San Francisco, he'll compete with Tim Hightower and others for a reserve role behind Carlos Hyde. Note that Hyde is entering a contract year.
The 49ers drafted Iowa QB C.J. Beathard in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Bobby Beathard’s grandson started his final 2 college seasons, completing just 59.3% of his passes with 34 TDs vs. 15 INTs. C.J. draws high marks for his mechanics, football IQ and leadership ability. But he has borderline NFL skills and might be nothing more than a long-term backup. We’ll see what HC Kyle Shanahan can get out of him, but Beathard isn’t a threat for the 2017 starting job.
USA Today's Tom Pelissero reports that new Niners LB Reuben Foster will need a 2nd shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. Assuming that proves true, the shoulder might have caused Foster's surprising 1st-round slide more than the other purported off-field concerns. Of course, a 2nd surgery would also likely affect his readiness for the 2017 season. We'll keep an eye on the situation for both Foster's 2017 outlook and dynasty rookie rankings purposes
The 49ers traded up to get a 2nd pick in Round 1 Thursday night and selected LB Reuben Foster. The Alabama alum slid a long way after a Combine that included a failed drug test and him getting sent home for mistreating an orderly. In San Francisco, Foster should win a starting job right away in the Niners' now 4-3 front. We'll see how the new coaching staff chooses to align him and NaVorro Bowman.
After moving down 1 spot, the Niners selected DL Solomon Thomas. That might have been the player most commonly mocked to them at #2. He could play any spot along San Francisco's new 4-3 base front after playing multiple roles at Stanford. We'd bet on him starting at DE. It's a nice addition to a D-line that already sports promise in young DTs DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead.
49ers GM John Lynch suggested that the team isn't sure RB Carlos Hyde is a good fit for new HC Kyle Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme. “You have these thoughts as to ‘Do these skills translate to what we do?’” Lynch said. That came in a response to a report from insider Tony Pauline that the 'Niners are "ready to give up" on Hyde. That seems much too strong -- Lynch added that he's "really high" on Hyde and thinks he can be a "highly productive player." San Francisco only added journeyman Tim Hightower in free agency. We'll see what they do in the draft. Our money is still on Hyde operating as the 49ers' lead back -- at least in 2017, the final year of his current deal.
The 49ers on Saturday agreed to terms with RB Tim Hightower. The veteran joins Mike Davis, Raheem Mostert and DuJuan Harris -- who re-signed earlier this week -- behind starter Carlos Hyde. If you're looking for a Hyde handcuff, Hightower looks like the current best bet. He carried 229 times and caught 34 passes as New Orleans' #2 back over the past 2 seasons. We'll see what the new coaching staff thinks of Davis and whether the Niners add another RB in the NFL Draft.
The 49ers have inked WR Aldrick Robinson. He follows HC Kyle Shanahan from Atlanta to San Francisco. Robinson set a career high in catches under Shanny last year, although the 20 grabs still left him off the fantasy radar. There's opportunity for him to earn a larger role in a much weaker 49ers WR group, but we wouldn't bet on him emerging as a reliable fantasy asset.
The 49ers have signed QB Matt Barkley. He saw his most extensive action as a pro with the Bears this past year, appearing in 7 games and making 6 starts. Barkley turned in a trio of 300-yard games and totaled 8 TDs. But he also tossed a whopping 14 INTs. He now sports the worst career INT rate (6.77%) among 71 active QBs who have attempted 250+ passes. Barkley joins Brian Hoyer in San Francisco to form 1 of the least inspiring QB rooms in the league. The 'Niners still figure to add a QB at some point during this spring's draft.
The 49ers have signed K Robbie Gould. He replaces Phil Dawson in this year's kicker carousel. Gould connected on all 10 of his FGs in 10 games for the Giants last year and owns a solid 85.9% career conversion rate. He's unlikely to be a viable fantasy option, though, in what figures to be a subpar 49ers offense.
The 49ers have inked WR Pierre Garcon to a 5-year deal. HC Kyle Shanahan reportedly pushed hard for this one. The duo worked together for 2 years in Washington, the 2nd of which produced a huge 113-1,346-5 line for Garcon. The 30-year-old has remained productive and is coming off his 2nd career 1,000-yard campaign this past year. He looks like the clear #1 target in San Francisco's passing game. We'll see who's chucking him the rock, but volume alone will give Garcon a chance for at least WR3 production.
The 49ers and WR Marquise Goodwin have agreed to a deal, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Goodwin goes just 5'9, 179 pounds and totaled only 49 catches in 4 seasons with the Bills. He boasts sub-4.3 speed, though, and has averaged 15.9 yards per catch. He'll team up with HC Kyle Shanahan, who made the small-but-speedy Taylor Gabriel a fantasy factor in Atlanta over the 2nd half of last season. We wouldn't bet on Goodwin being a significant fantasy asset, but he'll be worth monitoring this summer.
The 49ers have agreed to a 2-year deal with QB Brian Hoyer, a source tells NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Hoyer played reasonably well for Chicago last year, completing 67% of his passes with 6 TDs and 0 INTs in 6 appearances. He's also familiar with HC Kyle Shanahan's offense, having played in it in Cleveland back in 2013. Of course, the 31-year-old isn't San Francisco's long-term answer. This signing makes the 49ers a strong bet to draft a QB this spring. If it's a 1st-rounder, Hoyer might quickly fall to #2 on the depth chart.
To the surprise of no one, the 49ers on Monday officially named Kyle Shanahan their new HC. Shanahan, of course, remained Atlanta's OC until their Super Bowl loss to the Patriots, but his move had been rumored for the past few weeks. It also seems like a natural ascension for the son of longtime NFL HC Mike Shanahan who served as OC under Gary Kubiak back in Houston before filling the same role under his father in Washington and then with Cleveland and the Falcons. Kyle Shanahan's 2016 Atlanta offense led the league in scoring by 4.4 points per game and yards per play (6.7) while also tying for the league's fewest turnovers. The Falcons ranked 7th in yards but just 21st in scoring in 2015. Overall, 6 of the 9 offenses Shanahan has coordinated finished 9th or higher in total pass attempts. Just 2 finished higher than 12th in rushing attempts. We'll see how his Niners offense shapes up. The surest thing looks like RB Carlos Hyde. The starting QB might not even be on the roster yet. Colin Kaepernick's likely to get cut, as he faces a $19.3 million cap number, including a $14.5 million salary that becomes guaranteed if he's on the roster April 1. Blaine Gabbert's headed for unrestricted free agency.
The 49ers have fired HC Chip Kelly and GM Trent Baalke. Kelly went 2-14 in his lone season in San Francisco, with both of those wins coming against the Rams. He was working with 1 of the worst rosters in the league but certainly didn't elevate the talent. Kelly has now been fired in 2 straight years and might need to head back to the college game. The 'Niners, meanwhile, will now look for their 4th coach in as many years.
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