49ers

After filling needs on first day, here's what to expect from 49ers this offseason

After filling needs on first day, here's what to expect from 49ers this offseason

The first day of free agency is over, and the 49ers have made all of their expected big moves to fill holes at positions of need.

Cornerback Richard Sherman takes over at the position where the 49ers did not have a second starter. Weston Richburg was signed to strengthen the interior of the offensive line. And the 49ers signed versatile and explosive running back Jerick McKinnon, whom coach Kyle Shanahan deemed as a better fit for his system than Cleveland-bound Carlos Hyde.

Now what?

QUARTERBACK (3)
Jimmy Garoppolo
C.J. Beathard
Nick Mullens
Now what? The 49ers are set at this position for the next three seasons. But that should not prevent them from looking at the rookie class every year to determine if there’s a late-round draft pick or priority free agent worth adding to the mix.

RUNNING BACK (7)
Jerick McKinnon
Kyle Juszczyk (FB)
Matt Breida
Raheem Mostert
Malcolm Johnson (FB)
Joe Williams
Jeremy McNichols
Now what? Hyde is out, and McKinnon is in. The 49ers identified McKinnon as the player they want in their system, and then they went out and got him. McKinnon is the 49ers’ version of Devonta Freeman, who accounted for 1,500 yards from scrimmage (1,079 rushing; 462 receiving) in Shanahan’s offense in 2016 with the Atlanta Falcons. Breida showed a lot of promise during his rookie season and, right now, figures to get mixed into the action regularly. Mostert has a role on special teams. Williams is immensely talented, but unless he shows he’s ready to put in the work to be a pro, he is on the outside looking in. The 49ers should invest a mid-round draft pick on one of the many talented running backs in the draft, too.

WIDE RECEIVER (9)
Pierre Garçon
Marquise Goodwin
Trent Taylor
Kendrick Bourne
Aldrick Robinson
Victor Bolden
Max McCaffrey
Aaron Burbridge
DeAndre Carter
Now what? The 49ers feel good with this collection of receivers and were never even tempted to enter the bidding for the top free agents, such as Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins. As much as they might have liked Robinson, who is coming off a season lost to an ACL tear, they did not believe he was worth the money he received. Perhaps, the 49ers sign a veteran role player, but there is no urgency to get that done. If the 49ers add a player who sticks, it would likely come during the draft. That way, the team could fully develop a young player -- probably a big-bodied guy -- without feeling the need to rush him onto the field to be a first-year contributor.

TIGHT END (4)
George Kittle
Garrett Celek
Cole Hikutini
Cole Wick
Now what? The tandem of Kittle and Celek played well last season, especially toward the end of the season. Both Shanahan and Lynch mentioned recently the need for Kittle to remain healthy. The 49ers could use some help here, especially when it comes to a big tight end who can be deployed in situations where they need another blocker.

OFFENSIVE LINE (12)
Joe Staley
Trent Brown
Weston Richburg
Laken Tomlinson
Daniel Kilgore
Garry Gilliam
Erik Magnuson
Joshua Garnett
Zane Beadles
Darrell Williams
Pace Murphy
Andrew Lauderdale
Now what? The 49ers have not tipped their hand, yet, about where they envision Richburg playing. He is currently listed as a center/guard. He has not played guard since his rookie season, so it would figure that center would be the spot for him. The 49ers reached a contract extension with Kilgore in the offseason. He started every game last season at center. (UPDATE: The 49ers tipped their hand, all right. Richburg is the center, and Kilgore was traded to the Miami Dolphins.) The 49ers are likely back in the free-agent market at guard. Staley and Brown are at the tackle spots. Tomlinson enters the offseason as the favorite at left guard. Brandon Fusco, the 16-game starter at right guard, signed with Atlanta on Wednesday. The 49ers are not counting on Garnett, but he will be given a chance to compete. The 49ers should use a draft pick to strengthen the guard position, too.

DEFENSIVE LINE (8)
DeForest Buckner
Solomon Thomas
Earl Mitchell
Arik Armstead
Cassius Marsh
Ronald Blair
D.J. Jones
Sheldon Day
Now what? The 49ers have the makings of a strong unit, but they could certainly use more players in the competition – maybe a veteran or two, as well as multiple first-year players. Tank Carradine remains available on the open market. Carradine believes he can produce a lot of sacks, if given the opportunity. He is on the free-agent market to look for a team that sees things the way he does. Armstead enters the final year of his contract. The 49ers must make a decision by May 3 whether to pick up the non-guaranteed fifth-year option. It is still not obvious where and how he fits into this defense.

LINEBACKER (11)
Reuben Foster
Malcolm Smith
Eli Harold
Brock Coyle
Pita Taumoepenu
Dekoda Watson
Mark Nzeocha
Elijah Lee
Jimmie Gilbert
Donavin Newsom
Boseko Lokombo
Now what? The next big development with the linebacking corps will rest with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office, which is still mulling its decision whether to pursue criminal charges against Foster. He was arrested last month for alleged domestic violence, threats and possession of an assault weapon. The 49ers re-signed Coyle, who started 10 games last season and is also a core special-teams player. Smith will be healthy after missing last season with a torn pectoral. His loss was a devastating blow for the team after the 49ers made him their big free-agent pickup on defense. The 49ers will give Harold and Taumoepenu auditions to see if they can be third-down pass-rushers, too. The 49ers can be expected to add to this position group in the draft. At No. 9 overall, the 49ers could strongly consider Roquan Smith (Georgia) or Tremaine Edmunds (Virginia Tech). There are few options to help at edge rusher, but Harold Landry (Boston College) is an intriguing possibility in the first round.

CORNERBACK (6)
Richard Sherman
Ahkello Witherspoon
K’Waun Williams
Greg Mabin
Channing Stribling
Trovon Reed
Now what? If the 49ers add a veteran cornerback at this point, he would likely be a back-end-of-the-roster type. After all, Sherman and Witherspoon are set as the starters. The 49ers will unquestionably draft a cornerback. But where? It could come as early as No. 9 with either Denzel Ward (Ohio State) or Josh Jackson (Iowa) as the main options. One legitimate possibility is for the 49ers to use a mid-round selection on a tall cornerback, such as Quenton Meeks (Stanford), and have him learn from Sherman, the prototype cornerback for this defense.

SAFETY (7)
Jimmie Ward
Jaquiski Tartt
Adrian Colbert
Dexter McCoil
Tyvis Powell
Don Jones
Chancellor James
Now what? There is a lot to like from the group of safeties that includes starter-caliber players Ward, Tartt and Colbert. However, they all got injured last season and must prove they can remain healthy. The 49ers have not pursued bringing back Eric Reid as a free agent because they do not consider him a starter among this group. It is possible if Reid remains available deep into the offseason that he could be brought back on a one-year, prove-it contract.

SPECIALISTS 4)
Robbie Gould (K)
Bradley Pinion (P)
Kyle Nelson (LS)
Jeff Locke (P)
Now what? The 49ers are set with their three specialists. The team also added left-footed punter Locke for the offseason. The 49ers like the idea of having a lefty around the team to get the return men acclimated to the unique look of the ball coming off and spinning in a different direction.

Garoppolo getting to know new 49ers teammates without coaches around

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AP

Garoppolo getting to know new 49ers teammates without coaches around

Although the first two weeks of the NFL offseason program are limited to strength and conditioning training, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has already gotten an opportunity to play with a couple of his new toys.

Garoppolo has taken part in throwing sessions during the week at the team’s facility, where coaches are not allowed on the field with the players until next week. On the weekends, he has organized additional activities with his teammates at a park in the South Bay.

“We had our first one this weekend,” Garoppolo said on Monday at Levi’s Stadium after another day of workouts. “It’s just something that I like to do. It kinds of gets us away from the coaches and everything, and allows me to talk to the receivers about specific things, or the tight ends or running backs.

“We try to get everyone out there that we can. I understand people have things that they have to get to. But we had a great showing this Saturday. It was good. Just to be on the same page with those guys, talking through route concepts and how they see it versus how I see it. It just gets us on the same page.”

Among the players who have taken part in the sessions are wide receiver Pierre Garçon and running back Jerick McKinnon, likely to be among the team’s top pass-catchers this season.

Garoppolo’s five starts with the 49ers came after Garçon was sidelined with a neck injury after eight games. Garçon was on pace for a 1,000-yard season before going on injured reserve. The 49ers targeted McKinnon as an upgrade over Carlos Hyde due to his playmaking ability, including catching passes out of the backfield.

McKinnon and center Weston Richburg were players the 49ers front office heavily pursued and signed on the first day of free agency. They were the first major pieces the 49ers added after signing Garoppolo to a five-year, $137.5 million contract in February.

“Those are good guys,” Garoppolo said. “They fit what we’re trying to do here and they work hard, so when you bring that to the table, it’s always good.”

Garoppolo is continuing in his first offseason with the 49ers something he said he began during his days at Rolling Meadows High School in a northwest suburb of Chicago.

”It’s one of those things, when the coaches aren’t there you kind of see a different side of guys,” Garoppolo said. “They open up a little bit or tell you how they see a concept compared to how it is written in the book. Just a little bit at a time for us to talk through things, I guess.”

Lynch: If charges are proven true, Reuben Foster 'won't be part of our organization'

Lynch: If charges are proven true, Reuben Foster 'won't be part of our organization'

Despite facing two felony charges for domestic violence and one felony for possession of an assault weapon, linebacker Reuben Foster is still a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

While Foster won't participate in the team's offseason program, he hasn't been cut.

On Monday, 49ers GM John Lynch addressed Foster's future with the team while talking to the media in Santa Clara. Lynch said he was speaking for CEO Jed York, the York ownership family and coach Kyle Shanahan.

"As you all know and as our release indicated, we take the gravity of these charges . . . has not been lost on us. We take it extremely seriously. We do feel like patience is the right approach right now, that we are going to learn things through this legal process. But I do want to be very clear, abundantly clear, that if these charges are proven true, that if Reuben did indeed hit this young lady, he won't be part of our organization going forward. That's the standard we want on our team, that's the standard we are going to operate under," Lynch said.

In a statement to announce criminal charges on April 12, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office stated the alleged victim told responding officers that Foster hit her eight to 10 times in the head during the Feb. 11 incident in Los Gatos. The DA's office said the woman was bruised and sustained a ruptured ear drum.

Lynch said the 49ers were surprised by the seriousness of the allegations made by the DA’s office. But he said he does not believe the 49ers have enough information to make an informed decision on Foster, who is not taking part in the club’s offseason program.

“We just feel right now that we don’t have all the information,” Lynch said. “Everyone looks at that and says, ‘The DA’s has levied charges, how is that not enough information?’ I would tell you that each one of these cases is unique, and in this case we don’t feel like we have that information, so we’re going to wait and let this play out.”

Lynch said the 49ers are preparing for the possibility that Foster might not play again for the 49ers. He said the club has been in contract with the league office, while also trying to facilitate structure for him outside the organization while his teammates are attending the offseason program.