49ers

49ers trade up, pick RB Joe Williams in fourth round of 2017 NFL Draft

49ers trade up, pick RB Joe Williams in fourth round of 2017 NFL Draft

JOE WILLIAMS
Position: Running back
College: Utah
Height: 5-11
Weight: 210
Selection: Fourth round, No. 121 overall

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers traded up in the fourth round to select Utah running back Joe Williams.

The 49ers traded up to No. 121 overall in general manager John Lynch’s sixth trade of the draft. Just minutes earlier, the 49ers acquired Kapri Bibbs in a trade with the Denver Broncos.

The 49ers traded up in the fourth round with Indianapolis to select Williams. The 49ers dealt No. 143 in the fourth round and No. 161 of the fifth round to the Colts to complete the trade.

Williams, who ran a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash, rushed for 1,407 yards and 10 touchdowns on 210 rushing attempts in nine games. He also caught nine passes for 107 yards.

Williams walked away from the team two weeks into last season but was welcomed back. He was welcomed back to the team and rushed for 332 yards against UCLA.

Former 49ers head coach Dennis Erickson, who was Utah’s running backs coach, later explained Williams’ brief “retirement.”

"I knew he was down a little bit at the beginning of the year," Erickson said. "He fumbled a couple of times. Mentally, he was drained a little bit. Physically, he was not feeling very good."

Williams had 278 all-purpose yards to be named MVP of the Foster Farms Bowl against Indiana at Levi’s Stadium.

On a conferene call with Bay Area reporters, Williams explained his personal struggle of the past 10 years that led to him stepping away from the game:

"I had to lay it out on the line (to teams) that football is what I drink and breathe. It's what I wake up for in the morning and it's how I want to provide for my family. They knew at first they wanted to understand how I could walk away from football, but after I tell them how it came to be, I felt they were empathetic about it and they understand that sometimes you have to put things on hold to do what's right.

"My sister (Kylee, 7 years old) had passed away in 2006. She died in my hands. She died on Sunday, June 19th. She'd been in and out of the hospital that Friday and Saturday. She had fell unconscious and . . . just the guilt and shame I always put upon myself because I didn't act quickly enough with my parents or call 911, I thought it was my fault. Going through high school and college, I was getting counseling.

"Coming into this season, a lot of the emotions were coming to the forefront, and I was trying to deal them the best way I could. As the season started, and I knew my mental health wasn't where it needed to be, I knew the best option for me was to sit down in front of my wife and my coaches and just tell them where I was at. It came to the decision that stepping back at that time would be for my best interest -- not only for football but for life after football.

"I did a lot of soul-searching. I got my sister's tattoo on my left arm. I was doing everything necessary to finally come to peace with her death. . .  I finally forgave myself."

John Lynch: Eventually, Garoppolo 'is going to be our guy'

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USATI

John Lynch: Eventually, Garoppolo 'is going to be our guy'

SANTA CLARA – General manager John Lynch came close Tuesday to announcing which quarterback will start for the 49ers this week.

But the official announcement that rookie C.J. Beathard will start Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks will have to come from coach Kyle Shanahan, he said.

“C.J. (Beathard) played extremely well against the Giants, and that’s likely,” Lynch told reporters at Levi’s Stadium. “But I’ll let Kyle speak to that.”

Lynch reiterated that they want to give newly acquired Jimmy Garoppolo the best chance to succeed. Garoppolo spent part of the 49ers' bye week learning the basics of the offensive system in meetings with quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello. Garoppolo also met one-on-one with Shanahan.

Beathard had his best game as a pro on Nov. 12, before the bye week, as he threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants. Garoppolo arrived in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 in a trade with the New England Patriots.

Lynch said he feels Garoppolo “is going to be our guy,” so the organization does not feel any urgency to rush him onto the field. In fact, Lynch sounded as if the 49ers are not placing a high priority on spending big on the quarterback position with Garoppolo and Beathard on the team.

"You still study every position, but we feel pretty good about where our quarterback room is,” Lynch said.

Garcia: Best for 49ers to stick with Beathard over Garoppolo for now

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AP

Garcia: Best for 49ers to stick with Beathard over Garoppolo for now

A large portion of the 49ers’ fan base might be eager to see Jimmy Garoppolo take the field as the team’s starting quarterback. But four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Jeff Garcia believes it is best to stick with C.J. Beathard, for now.

“Because I know how important the mental side of the quarterback position is, I want to make sure Jimmy is fully comfortable and ready to grasp that,” Garcia said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“Right now, after this past game, I want to see C.J. respond with another game and start to show some consistency. This will be a great challenge against a West division rival in the Seattle Seahawks.”

Beathard has started four games since taking over for veteran Brian Hoyer. Garoppolo was acquired three weeks ago in a trade with the New England Patriots for a second-round draft pick.

Garoppolo spent his first two games with the 49ers as the team’s backup quarterback. The 49ers return to action Sunday against the Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.

“They know what they like in Jimmy Garoppolo,” said Garcia, now an analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area. “They’re able to see him every single day in practice, and they know what he brings to the table, as far as how he learns, how he mentally adapts, adjusts and grows within the system. It gives him more time to get confident.

“It’s not an easy system to pick up, especially when you haven’t had anything that really relates to that system in your recent past. Going from New England to San Francisco is like learning an entirely new language.”