Raiders to sign former 49ers defensive lineman


Raiders to sign former 49ers defensive lineman

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden wanted veterans to help turn his defense around. He added a linebacker and defensive backs aplenty. Then, on Friday night, he gave the front some help.

Former 49ers defensive lineman Tank Carradine will sign with the Raiders, the 28-year old announced on his Instagram page. 

The Sacramento Bee first reported the news. 

He visited the Raiders on Thursday and was in Seattle earlier Friday, but will sign with the Silver and Black.

Carradine could help their transition to a more traditional 4-3 alignment, able to play end in the base defense. He has proven himself as a solid run defender, but believes he can be an effective pass rusher if given the opportunity.

Carradine didn’t get many pass-rushing chances with the 49ers, who generally removed him on passing downs. He has 5.5 sacks in four professional seasons. He played 37.9 percent of 49ers defensive snaps during eight games with the 49ers last season. He missed the same amount on short-term injured reserve with an ankle injury.

At 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, he has the size to be a 4-3 base end. He’ll likely have to battle Mario Edwards Jr. for snaps opposite Khalil Mack, though Bruce Irvin will take that spot in sub packages.

Carradine will be the 10th free-agent signing expected to make the roster, which means the roster turnover this summer should be significant. 

Here was his Instagram post from Friday night: 

Proud to become an Oakland Raider! Let's go #raiders#nation

A post shared by Cornellius Smith (@tank.carradine) on

Kevin Durant ruled out for at least two weeks


Kevin Durant ruled out for at least two weeks

OAKLAND -- The Warriors will return to their relatively normal selves sometime early next month.

That’s at the very soonest, and assuming all goes well over the next three weeks.

Add Kevin Durant to the list of All-Stars who will miss significant time. The forward underwent an MRI test Friday that revealed “an incomplete rib cartilage fracture” that will keep him out of the lineup at least two weeks.

Durant, the team’s leading scorer at 26.6 points per game, joins No. 2 scorer Stephen Curry and No. 3 scorer Klay Thompson on the sideline. Curry will be out at least another week, Thompson closer to two weeks.

The upshot: The Warriors' slim chance of overtaking the Rockets for the No. 1 overall seed are fading toward invisibility.

With the playoffs four weeks away, Warriors coach Steve Kerr will spend the rest of this month juggling lineups and rotations with the limited available options.

The first replacement starter at small forward, Friday night against Sacramento, is Andre Iguodala. Kerr over the next couple weeks likely will try several options. Omri Casspi is another possibility, as well as Draymond Green getting some minutes at small forward. The decisions will be based mostly on matchups.

Durant, however, may be the ultimate NBA mismatch insofar as there is no other 6-foot-11 small forward with his broad skills and versatility.

“They said (I’ll be out) a couple weeks,” he said prior to tipoff against the Kings. “I’m just trying to get healthy. Just trying to make sure I’m out there and able to be me on the court.

“It’s not great, timing-wise, but it’s all about feeling better when I’m out there playing.”

Durant sustained the injury last Sunday in Minnesota, after taking an elbow to the ribs from Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns.

“I thought it was just a little contusion,” said Durant, who will not go on the upcoming road trip to Phoenix and San Antonio.

Durant played through the discomfort Wednesday night against the Lakers, leading the Warriors in scoring with 26 points. During that game, he went to close out and “felt something stretch and pull.”

After going through a light practice Thursday, pain intensified, leading to the MRI test and diagnosis.

“I wish we were out there hooping and using these days to get better and sharpening up our skills,” he said. “But that’s what happens when you play a contact sport. Stuff happens.

“It could have been worse for all three of us. But, luckily, it’s not.”

Deepest position in the NFL Draft? 49ers VP of Player Personnel weighs in


Deepest position in the NFL Draft? 49ers VP of Player Personnel weighs in

The 49ers concluded the first wave of the free-agent signing period with the signings of players to fill the team’s biggest offseason needs.

--Cornerback. Aqib Talib would have been the answer in a trade with the Denver Broncos, but he wanted to play elsewhere. Instead, the 49ers signed veteran Richard Sherman, whom the Seattle Seahawks cut a day earlier.

--Interior offensive line. Center Weston Richburg was the player the team had rated as their top target in free agency, and they signed him to a lucrative five-year deal.

--Running back. The team decided Jerick McKinnon was a better fit than Carlos Hyde. They wrapped him up with a four-year contract.

--Edge rusher. Lacking many options in free agency, the 49ers signed Jeremiah Attaochu to a one-year contract in hopes he will earn a spot on the team and make a contribution at the “Leo” position.

The 49ers can still use more help at a number of different positions, including cornerback, wide receiver, offensive line, linebacker and edge rusher. While the 49ers might add some role players in the second wave of free agency, most of the major acquisitions at this point are likely to come in the draft.

On the 49ers Insider Podcast, 49ers vice president of player personnel Adam Peters addressed what positions he believes are strong in this year’s draft.

“I think running backs, absolutely. It’s a deep position,” Peters said. “Quarterbacks at the top is deeper than it was last year. Secondary, corners, it’s not deeper than it was last year, but it’s a strong class of corners. Those are the main ones. The offensive line class is a little better than last year, too.”

The 49ers got major contributions from their rookie class last season. Tight end George Kittle, receiver Trent Taylor, quarterback C.J. Beathard, running back Matt Breida, defensive lineman Solomom Thomas, cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, linebacker Reuben Foster and safety Adrian Colbert each played more than 300 snaps.

The 49ers feel good about Witherspoon, a third-round draft pick, as a starter with Sherman on the other side. Peters said a lot of the team’s rookies played larger roles than expected in 2017, but Witherspoon might have been at the top of the list.

“I don’t think he was active for the first four games,” Peters said of Witherspoon. “And he ended up playing at a high level at the end. Really driven, conscientious player who wants to be great. 

"We were lucky we got a chance to play a lot of rookies because that’ll help us moving forward.”