49ers' Ahkello Witherspoon must prove himself on field, John Lynch says

49ers' Ahkello Witherspoon must prove himself on field, John Lynch says

The 49ers made about as much of a leap forward as possible last season, going from four wins in 2018 to reaching the Super Bowl. That doesn't mean every player followed suit, though. 

Ahkello Witherspoon might have taken the most disappointing step back last season. The former third-round draft pick lost his starting job to cornerback Emmanuel Moseley in crucial times, and Witherspoon only played in 10 games. 

General manager John Lynch knows this could be a make-or-break year for Witherspoon as he enters his fourth season in the pros. 

"You know Ahkello Witherspoon is a guy, this is a big year for Ahkello," Lynch said Monday in a conference call with reporters. "No doubt about it. He's got to go show it on the field."

Witherspoon has the size at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, and the speed with a 4.45 40-yard dash, to make all the plays in the NFL. So far, that hasn't always been the case. He has three interceptions and 20 passes defensed through three seasons. 

Lynch knows the traits are there for the 25-year-old, but his play needs to do the talking. 

"I remember drafting him some years ago and all the qualities we still see," Lynch said. "Now, he's got to just consistently put it to work. That's something we're going to monitor closely and we are aware of that situation and we have a plan and we're going to execute that plan.”

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Questions surrounding Witherspoon could lead to the 49ers selecting a cornerback in the 2020 NFL Draft, even with the No. 13 overall pick. If Florida's CJ Henderson is available when San Francisco is on the clock, he'll be hard to pass up. 

Henderson is 6-1, 204 pounds and ran a blazing 4.39 40 at the NFL Scouting Combine. He is a lockdown corner, and could fit the 49ers in the short and long term. Richard Sherman needs a running mate on the outside, and the veteran is entering the final year of his contract. 

[RELATED: Buckner trade was 'toughest' move as GM, 49ers' Lynch says]

If the 49ers go another way with their top pick, they certainly could eye a cornerback at No. 31 or if they trade back in the second or third round. They saw firsthand in their Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs that that a young, speedy corner is needed. 

Witherspoon has all the skills to be the partner Sherman needs. He will have to prove himself soon, however, or he might be packing his bags for a new team.

NFL rumors: Jordan Reed, 49ers reach agreement on one-year contract

NFL rumors: Jordan Reed, 49ers reach agreement on one-year contract

The 49ers reportedly reached a contract agreement Monday with a tight end not named George Kittle.

The 49ers agreed to a one-year deal with former Washington Football Team tight end Jordan Reed, 30, who has not played in the regular season since the 2018 season. Injuries have plagued Reed throughout his six-year playing career. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports his contract with the 49ers is an incentive-laden.

Reed's best season came in 2015, when he appeared in a career-high 14 games. He caught 87 for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl.

Reed sustained his seventh documented concussion in August 2019 in Washington’s third preseason game. He did not play in any games last season, and Washington released him in February.

Reed played his rookie season of 2013 with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who was Washington’s offensive coordinator from 2010 to ’13. He was a third-round draft pick from Florida.

[RELATEDHow Charlie Woerner won George Kittle over early in 49ers tenure]

Reed joins a group of 49ers tight ends that includes All-Pro George Kittle, whose agent still is in negotiations with the 49ers for a lucrative, long-term contract. Ross Dwelley, Daniel Helm and rookies Charlie Woerner and Chase Harrell are the other tight ends on the 49ers’ roster.

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49ers mascot gets in on Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle T-shirt fun

49ers mascot gets in on Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle T-shirt fun

The bond between Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle is one to be admired. It's also one you want to be a part of.

The 49ers quarterback and star tight end have a close friendship, one that involves trolling via Zoom backgrounds and, of course, custom shirts with pictures of the other on them.

Garoppolo wore a shirt with a picture of Kittle on it when he arrived at training camp, and the 49ers' mascot Sourdough Sam apparently wanted to get in on the shirt action as he sported one with a picture of Garoppolo on it Sunday.

49ers wide receiver Trent Taylor, who also is close with Garoppolo and Kittle, felt a little left out when QB1 arrived wearing a shirt with Kittle on it. Kittle, naturally, had the appropriate response to Taylor's gripe.

Garoppolo and Kittle have become close friends during their time together in the Bay, but not good enough for Kittle to pick up Garoppolo's phone call after the tight end was named as the No. 7 player in the NFL by his peers. A missed call that Kittle rightfully was ribbed for.

[RELATED: Taylor shades 49ers' front office over George Kittle negotiations]

With Sourdough Sam in on the fun, now we just have to wait and see what Kittle is sporting when he arrives at the 49ers' facility.

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