2019 NFL Draft: How Kyler Murray can help 49ers at scouting combine

2019 NFL Draft: How Kyler Murray can help 49ers at scouting combine

When news broke Thursday that Kyler Murray will attend the NFL Scouting Combine, somehow a baseball team was affected more than anybody else.

While Murray still could play baseball and attend A's spring training before the combine begins later this month, it's clear the quarterback is serious about his future in football. Or so it appears he is, though there's concerns there, too.

And his decision could mean a lot to more than one Bay Area pro sports team.

If Murray participates in events at the combine, the 49ers should have their eyes on him. No, they won't select the Heisman Trophy winner in the draft -- they already have their franchise quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo -- but they should see which teams are gushing over the signal-caller.

How Murray performs, and what his measurables are in Indianapolis, will have a significant impact on how teams view him as a quarterback in the NFL. So, let's start with his height and weight.

Murray is listed at 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds on the Oklahoma Sooners' website. Many outlets have debated those numbers, but if they serve to be true, teams surely will move him up their draft boards, closer to where the 49ers sit at No. 2 overall.

Now, what about that speed?

In his record-setting redshirt junior season, Murray dazzled with his lightning-quick speed and ability to avoid defenders. He rushed for 1,001 yards at 7.2 yards per carry and 12 touchdowns last year. But just how fast is he?

At Oklahoma, he claimed he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash during winter workouts as a backup to Baker Mayfield. That would be the second-fastest time by a quarterback ever at the combine, behind Michael Vick's reported 4.33. Looking at Murray's in-game speed, For The Win clocked him running nearly 45 yards in 4.44 seconds, dashing for a touchdown against Texas.

No matter if he breaks records or not, it's expected Murray will put on a show in the 40-yard dash if he participates in it at the combine. And if his accuracy is on display during passing drills -- he completed 69 percent of his passes last season -- quarterback-starved teams will be frothing at the mouth.

The NFL is driven by elite quarterback play. At the same school that turned Mayfield into the No. 1 pick just a year ago, Murray was elite. Will the Giants be willing to jump to No. 2 overall? What about the Jaguars? Or the Broncos? The list could go much longer.

[RELATED: 49ers might not have to trade much for Brown]

The 49ers have just six picks in this year's draft. They have their starting quarterback. They will have a healthy Jerick McKinnon at running back, and the NFL's record holder for single-season yards at tight end, George Kittle, only getting better.

It's clear the nucleus is there for the 49ers. By trading back in the draft, they still could land the pass rusher they covet and use extra picks to keep building.

Kyler Murray Watch had its time in Oakland. Here comes San Francisco Santa Clara.

49ers legend Steve Young presents Gatorade Player of the Year Award winner


49ers legend Steve Young presents Gatorade Player of the Year Award winner

Sophie Jones runs the soccer field, both literally and figuratively. 

She tallied 18 goals, 16 assists and 1.55 points per game for the Knights of Menlo School in Atherton, Calif. Those stats helped lift her team to a 20-win season, which turned into a Central Coast Section Division 1 tournament title.

With those achievements, Jones walked away with the Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year honor Wednesday. 

A friend presented the senior with the trophy -- but not just any friend: 49ers Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young.

"It's such an honor, and I can't believe they chose me," Jones said in Gatorade's promotional presentation video.

Jones also maintains solid numbers off the field, with a 3.65 GPA that helps her be recruited by some of the nation's top athletic programs. According to Gatorade, she plans to attend Duke later this year.

A "stellar human being with a fierce inner strength," as her teachers describe her, Jones also volunteers for a U-14 youth soccer team and the Boys and Girls Club, and has worked at the Special Olympics Buddy Program. That shows in her playing abilities on the field as well, with her coach saying he's never witnessed such a selfless player.

"Sophie worked tirelessly to elevate her game year after year, becoming high-impact talent," said Chad Konecky, Gatorade Player of the Year director. "She wins balls, finishes, defends, disrupts and creates in transition, and arguably reads the game as well as any U-20 player in the world."

Young complimented Jones, calling the achievement an exciting one -- and one that very few have ever done. 

Congrats, Sophie!

49ers' Mitch Wishnowsky has deep repertoire of punts from Aussie rules days


49ers' Mitch Wishnowsky has deep repertoire of punts from Aussie rules days

Mitch Wishnowsky admits he could have been more consistent during the 49ers’ recently concluded offseason program.

The rookie punter, at his best, was very good and gave his teammates and coaches a reason to believe a fourth-round draft pick spent on a punter was a worthy investment.

The 49ers selected the native of Australia with the No. 110 overall selection. General manager John Lynch opted to fill the spot vacated when Bradley Pinion signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, rather than select a defensive back or an offensive lineman.

Wishnowsky has an assortment of different punts, which he picked up playing a sport in which punters are not considered specialists. Everyone must learn to punt, oftentimes while on the move, in the game Wishnowsky played back home.

“A lot of the punts you sort of learn growing up playing Australian rules football,” Wishnowsky said on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “There’s tradeoffs with every punt.”

Wishnowsky explained his different styles:

“The stock-standard end-over-end punt is a lot more accurate but you can’t get quite as much height or distance on it.

“The spiral, obviously, is the biggest ball. It goes the highest and the furthest.

“The helicopter punt is great, very hard to catch. You can’t kick it quite as far as the spiral. But if you slightly mishit it, it’s going the opposite direction that you want it to.”

Wishnowsky moved to California to punt on the Santa Barbara City College football team in 2014. He transferred to the University of Utah, where he won the 2016 Ray Guy Award and was the only three-time finalist in the history of the award.

The only downside of his final college season was three blocked punts, something he worked to eliminate during his offseason with the 49ers.

“I’ve got to get the ball off in 1.3 seconds, which is what I’ve been doing pretty consistently,” Wishnowsky said. “And the snap is a .7. So if the whole operation is 2 seconds or below, you should be good. Then, also launch point. You want to pretty much as it hits your foot (you’re) directly behind the snapper, so you’re not at risk of getting it blocked.”

[RELATED: Why No. 2 QB job between Beathard and Mullens is toss-up entering camp]

Wishnowsky also will be the 49ers’ holder and, likely, handle kickoff duties. He said he has yet to speak with veteran kicker Robbie Gould, who remains unsigned as the team’s franchise player. Gould has demanded a trade. The 49ers said they will not trade him.

In the meantime, Jonathan Brown, who spent the three previous offseasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and has not appeared in an NFL regular-season game, was the only kicker in Santa Clara.

“The last two years, I’ve been with Matt (Gay), who was drafted to Tampa Bay (in the fifth round),” Wishnowsky said. “I’ve been around great kickers, and Jon is up there. He’s phenomenal the way he contacts the ball. Jon is a very impressive kicker.”