49ers' Draughn rebounds from demotion to earn start in finale

49ers' Draughn rebounds from demotion to earn start in finale

SANTA CLARA – Throughout Shaun Draughn’s six-year NFL career, he has received a lot of bad news.

Draughn has been waived by seven different teams. Things did not get that bad with the 49ers earlier this season, but after opening the season as the team’s No. 2 running back, he was demoted.

DuJuan Harris and Mike Davis surpassed Draughn on the depth chart early in the regular season. But Draughn eventually regained his status as the top backup to Carlos Hyde.

Draughn is in line for his seventh career start on Sunday when the 49ers close out the regular season against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium. Hyde is out with a MCL sprain of his left knee. Draughn caught six passes for 48 yards in the 49ers' 22-21 comeback victory over the Los Angeles Rams last week to snap a 13-game losing streak.

“It’s one of those things where you have to keep working,” Draughn said. “I’ve been told, ‘No,’ a lot of times in my career but it never stopped me from preparing the way I prepare and coming to work the way I come to work. God allowed me another opportunity to be where I am now, so I’ll try to take advantage of it.”

After signing with the 49ers in November 2015, Draughn set career-highs with 78 carries for 273 yards rushing, and 27 catches for 176 yards.

Draughn already has a career-high with 195 receiving yards this season with 25 receptions. He is averaging just 2.9 yards a carry with 155 yards on 53 rushing attempts.

Coach Chip Kelly said Draughn has tightened up his pass protection as the season has progressed, and that has enabled him to climb up the depth chart.

“He’s worked really hard to get back to it,” Kelly said. “I think he missed some things early in some blitz pickups but has worked really hard with coach (Tom) Rathman on that. (He’s) a guy that we’ve got total confidence in in being back there on third down and he’s done a nice job with it.”

Draughn is scheduled for free agency at the end of the season, so a strong showing Sunday could help him find a spot for the 2017 season.

“Any time you get to start in this league, it’s big,” Draughn said.

49ers sign former first-round pick guard


49ers sign former first-round pick guard

The 49ers added some talent in the trenches on Tuesday.

Guard Jonathan Cooper inked a one-year deal, the team announced.

Cooper was originally drafted No. 7 overall by the Cardinals in 2013. After two seasons in Arizona, he spent time with the Patriots, Browns and Cowboys.

Last season, he appeared in 13 games for Dallas.

“Having started 27 games in four NFL seasons, Jonathan brings great experience to the interior of our offensive line. We look forward to him competing for a starting job at guard, while also bringing a veteran presence to our locker room. Jonathan is a welcome addition to our team,” GM John Lynch said in a statement.

Richard Sherman envisions making contributions to 49ers on and off the field

Richard Sherman envisions making contributions to 49ers on and off the field

SANTA CLARA – Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman believes he has a lot of good football ahead of him.

But he knows he is not coming to the 49ers after seven seasons with the rival Seattle Seahawks just for how he fits into defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s scheme. The 49ers signed Sherman to a three-year contract on March 10 -- one day after the Seahawks released him.

Sherman, who turns 30 on March 30, views his job description as being a major influence and contributor to the 49ers on and off the field.

“I think it’s probably 50-50,” Sherman said Tuesday in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area. “Obviously, I’m going to be asked to play at a high level, and that’s what I expect from myself and that’s what I expect to bring to this team. But outside of that, I think I bring an aspect of culture and a winning mentality.”

Sherman is a four-time Pro Bowl performer and three-time first-team All-Pro. He said the commitment to winning is all-consuming. It is a mindset he helps to share with his new teammates.

“It’s about waking up and doing things that will contribute to winning later, whether it’s your diet, your sleep habits, how you treat your teammates, how you converse,” Sherman said. “Do you go out tonight or do you stay in and get some extra studying? What are you doing to help us win the game on Sunday? Just that mentality will help a lot of these people.”

There might be no young player on the 49ers in need of a good role model more than Reuben Foster, who is set to enter his second NFL season. Foster was arrested this offseason for possession of marijuana in Alabama. A month later, he was arrested in Los Gatos for alleged domestic violence, threats and possession of an assault weapon.

On Tuesday, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said no decision has yet been reached whether to pursue criminal charges against Foster.

Sherman said he has not spoken to Foster but he will be willing to be a mentor to Foster and provide him with support. Sherman said he has heard a lot of great things about Foster.

“If I can help him, I’ll do my best,” Sherman said. “I look forward to meeting him and being a teammate of his, and helping him in any way I can. To think I can change everything he does, I’d be foolish to say I could. But am I going to try my best to help him and put him in positions to be more successful in the future? Yes, I am.”