The 49ers have added Louisiana RB Elijah Mitchell to their backfield crowd in the 6th round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Mitchell sports impressive testing numbers, including a 4.35-second pro day 40, an 83rd-percentile vertical, a 94th-percentile broad jump and a 71st-percentile 3-cone drill. His production for the Ragin’ Cajuns was fine, but a strong O-line certainly helped his 6.2-yard rushing average. Mitchell also spent his whole college career splitting touches basically evenly with limited prospect Trey Ragas. Sophomore Chris Smith tied Mitchell for the backfield lead with 16 receptions in 2020. He'll face even stiffer competition in San Francisco, which returns Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson and JaMycal Hasty, added Wayne Gallman and already drafted Trey Sermon. We didn't like Mitchell as more than a late consideration in rookie drafts heading in. He doesn't look any more attractive now. Mitchell will need to fight for a spot on the 2021 roster.
The 49ers traded up to select Ohio State RB Trey Sermon with the 88th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Sermon opened his college career solidly at Oklahoma, averaging 5.9 yards per rush and scoring 20 total TDs over his 1st 2 seasons. But he fell out of favor with the coaching staff there before transferring to Ohio State for his final season. Sermon spent most of 2020 splitting touches with Master Teague but closed out the year with a 29-331-2 rushing line in the Big Ten championship game win over Northwestern and then a 31-193-1 outing in the semifinal win over Clemson. Sermon brings enough size (6’0, 215), tested well athletically and put a nice blend of running skills on his college tape. There’s 3-down upside to his game, though he’s more likely headed for some level of backfield share in San Francisco alongside Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson. It’s a strong running game under HC Kyle Shanahan, though, so this is a nice landing spot.
Trey Lance completed an improbable rise to the NFL by landing with the 49ers at Pick #3 in the 2021 NFL Draft. Lance spent just 1 season as a starting QB in high school and then chose North Dakota State at the FCS level after being lightly recruited. He followed NFL backup Easton Stick there and balled out in his lone starting campaign. Lance completed 66.9% of his throws at 9.7 yards per attempt with 28 TDs and nary an INT. He led that Bison team to a 16-0 record and the FCS national title, adding 1,100 yards and 14 TDs on the ground. Lance boasts the size and willingness to be Josh Allen-like as a goal-line rusher. Also like Allen, he sports a big throwing arm. Lance started just 17 college games and might be asked to sit for a year before getting his starting shot in the pros. (Even Jimmy Kepouros, an NDSU WR, calls Lance “really raw.”) But the rushing ability alone gives Lance immediate fantasy upside whenever he does hit the field. This is a nice landing spot with a bright offensive mind in HC Kyle Shanahan and a nice group of pass-catchers in George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel. We’ll see whether the Niners hang on to QB Jimmy Garoppolo -- and if he can hang on to the starting job for any or all of 2021. Bet on Lance hitting the field at some point this season.
The 49ers have signed RB Wayne Gallman to a 1-year deal. He joins a depth chart that also includes Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr., JaMycal Hasty and Austin Walter. With the Giants in 2020, Gallman actually outperformed both Wilson and Mostert in Football Outsiders' rushing DYAR and DVOA, ranking top-12 in each category. Gallman also earned a higher rushing grade than Wilson from Pro Football Focus and narrowly trailed Mostert in that category (77.0 to 76.4). Mostert is going in the middle of Round 7 in FFPC best-ball ADP as RB28; Wilson sits late in Round 9 at RB37. Neither is going early enough that you need to remove them from your drafting plans. But Gallman's 2020 performance makes him worth considering in a backfield that likes to spread touches around. For now, consider sprinkling in some late Gallman shares into your best-ball drafting. We'll see how things settle out through the summer.
The 49ers signed WR Mohamed Sanu to a 1-year deal. The 31-year-old totaled just 17 catches across 10 outings with San Francisco and Detroit this past season. But he'd tallied 59+ grabs in each of the previous 4 years -- and even cost the Patriots a 2nd-round pick in a trade back in 2019. We'll see how much gas is left in Sanu's tank this summer. The 'Niners are thin at WR behind Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, so there's a chance for Sanu to win the #3 WR job.
The 49ers swung a massive trade for the #3 overall pick in next month's draft, sending the #12 pick, a 2021 3rd-rounder and 1st-rounders in 2022 and 2023 to the Dolphins. The 'Niners clearly have their eyes on a QB. ESPN's Adam Schefter hears that the team doesn't have 1 specific rookie in mind but is "good with the options" that will be available. That'll be some combination of BYU's Zach Wilson, Ohio State's Justin Fields and North Dakota State's Trey Lance. Schefter also reports that San Francisco "has no plans" to trade QB Jimmy Garoppolo -- but his days as the starter are clearly numbered. The Dolphins, meanwhile, are reaffirming their commitment to QB Tua Tagovailoa with this trade.
The 49ers signed restricted free-agent RB Jeff Wilson to a 1-year deal, ESPN's Field Yates reports. Wilson set career highs across the board last season and finished strong, tallying 58 carries for 319 yards (5.5 YPC) and 2 scores over the final 3 games. He also saw 13 targets during that stretch -- although he caught just 4 of them. With both Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon set to hit free agency in March, it's Wilson and Raheem Mostert signed in San Francisco for 2021 right now.
The 49ers will go without DT Javon Kinlaw (knee), CB Richard Sherman (calf) and slot CB K'Waun Williams -- to go with the earlier report on LB Dre Greenlaw (calf) -- for Sunday's game against the Seahawks. In addition, S Tarvarius Moore and CB Emmanuel Moseley are questionable. We'll check on their statuses Sunday when the inactives come out (around 3 p.m. ET).
The 49ers have ruled LB Dre Greenlaw (calf) out for Sunday's game against the Seahawks. Azeez Al-Shaair looks like his playing-time replacement. No other Niners LB behind Al-Shaair, Greenlaw and Fred Warner has played more than 28 snaps on the season.
49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk suffered a high-ankle sprain in Saturday's win over the Cardinals and will miss the finale vs. the Seahawks. It ends an impressive rookie campaign that saw Aiyuk average 6.6 catches, 83 yards and .6 TDs over his final 7 games. Kendrick Bourne and Richie James will close out the season as San Francisco's top 2 WRs.
Niners HC Kyle Shanahan confirmed Thursday that TE George Kittle will play against the Cardinals on Saturday. According to multiple reports, Shanahan said Kittle might be the healthiest player on the team and that he has looked good in practice. The TE might see some limitation to his playing time, but we wouldn't bet they'd return the star to action unless they expected him to help. Kittle jumps right back in among the top TE plays for Week 16.
The San Jose Mercury News' Cam Inman believes TE George Kittle (foot) is on track to return for Saturday's game against the Cardinals. Both GM John Lynch and team doctors have given Kittle the green light. “Yes, you have to have discretion and all those things, but we’ve been very thoughtful about this, and if he plays, it’s only because he’s ready to play,” Lynch said. “He’s eager to play and we want him to play.” It sure sounds like Kittle would be returning to something close to his regular role. There might be some risk of re-injury, but Kittle would also boast as much upside as any TE outside of maybe Travis Kelce. It's worth noting that Kittle posted a 15-183-1 line in his 1st game back from injury -- albeit a different injury -- earlier this season.
49ers RB Jeff Wilson isn't listed on the Week 16 injury report. He appeared to tweak a hamstring in last week's loss to the Cowboys but is evidently good to go for Saturday's game vs. the Cardinals. With RB Raheem Mostert out with his ankle injury, Wilson is set up for a heavy workload.
Niners HC Kyle Shanahan announced Tuesday that WR Deebo Samuel will miss the rest of the season with his hamstring injury. That clears the way for Brandon Aiyuk to remain the #1 WR over the next 2 weeks, with Kendrick Bourne and Richie James as #2 and #3.
49ers HC Kyle Shanahan said there's a chance TE George Kittle (foot) returns for Saturday's game against the Cardinals. "f he’s good, I plan on him playing," Shanahan said. Kittle has been sidelined since Week 8 and would carry elevated risk in his 1st game back. But he'd certainly make sense for a lot of fantasy teams considering how ugly the TE position has been this season. We'll monitor Kittle's status throughout the week.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that 49ers QB Nick Mullens will need surgery on his right elbow after suffering an injury late in Sunday's loss to the Cowboys. Mullens reportedly lost feeling in the arm after having it hit on a 4th-quarter pass. C.J. Beathard will start Saturday's game against the Cardinals.
Update: Cam Inman reports that it's Tommy John (ligament replacement) surgery for Mullens.
The 49ers have designated QB Jimmy Garoppolo to return from IR. That doesn't necessarily mean he'll play again this season; it simply opens the 21-day practice window. With just 2 weeks remaining, that means the team could have Garoppolo practice the rest of the way without needing to decide on activating him. We wouldn't bet on Garoppolo taking the field in Week 16. C.J. Beathard appears in line to face the Cardinals on Saturday.
Update: Cam Inman reports that Garoppolo will practice but "won't play in games." With Nick Mullens set for elbow surgery, Beathard looks like the starter for the final 2 games.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that 49ers RB Raheem Mostert suffered another high-ankle sprain in Sunday's loss to the Cowboys and is "likely" done for the season. That leaves Jeff Wilson Jr. likely to lead the Week 16 backfield, assuming his own ankle issue doesn't get in the way. Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon sit behind Wilson on the depth chart.
Update: Tom Pelissero reports that the team is placing Mostert on IR.
49ers RB Jeff Wilson appeared to injure his right hamstring late in the loss to Dallas. We’ll update his status when we learn more. Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon are left as San Francisco’s healthy RBs.
49ers QB Nick Mullens injured his right (throwing) shoulder in the 4th quarter of Sunday's game against the Cowboys. We'll look for an update on the severity. QB C.J. Beathard replaced Mullens and will be under center for as long as Mullens is out. QB Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) isn't expected to return this season.
Update: The 49ers announced Mullens with an elbow injury.
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