49ers

49ers appear to have three candidates for No. 2 overall NFL draft pick

49ers appear to have three candidates for No. 2 overall NFL draft pick

If the San Francisco 49ers keep the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, they will get -- at worst -- the player they have rated as the second-best NFL prospect.

The Arizona Cardinals own the top selection, and the speculation since the NFL Scouting Combine has been that new coach Kliff Kingsbury will hand-pick Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray to run his offense.

Does 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan have an idea what the Cardinals will do?

“My gut is probably just like yours, so we’re all just waiting,” Shanahan said this week at the NFL owners meeting in Phoenix. “You hear a lot of stuff, so you really try to not pay attention to any of it. If you look at the players the same way they do, we understand their personnel and stuff so you try to make decisions more off that instead.”

If the 49ers remain at No. 2 -- and another team does not blow them away with a trade to move up -- it seems one of these three players will end up in Santa Clara:

Edge Nick Bosa, Ohio State

Bosa likely is the No. 1 player on the 49ers’ draft board. He is a next-level talent with his athleticism, strength, technique, balance and pedigree. Despite missing most of his entire final season in Columbus with a core muscle injury, Bosa might be as close to a can’t-miss prospect as there is in this draft.

Bosa enjoys the art of rushing the quarterback, and he is far more advanced in that respect to anyone else in this draft. The 49ers have a lot of other base-down defensive linemen, but they do not have another outside pass-rusher to complement veteran Dee Ford, whom they acquired in a trade from the Kansas City Chiefs.

If Bosa is the pick, there would be no hurry to get him on the field for every snap. As it is, defensive linemen are constantly rotated in the course of a game. The 49ers would be satisfied if he can make an impact as a rookie only on passing downs. But with his skill level, it probably would not take Bosa long to become an every-down player.

Edge Josh Allen, Kentucky

The 49ers re-signed outside linebacker Mark Nzeocha and also worked out a pay cut to retain veteran Malcolm Smith, who's also capable of playing the strong-side position. If Allen were the pick, he would step in immediately as the starter.

In addition to being a 17-sack performer en route to being named defensive player of the player in the SEC, Allen is long and athletic enough to flip his hips and lock down most tight ends in coverage.

That’s great and all, but Allen is a likely top-four selection in the draft because of his ability to get after the quarterback. He remained in school for his senior year and worked his way into becoming an elite draft prospect.

With the 49ers, he would be a SAM linebacker in the team's base defense. On nickel downs, he would move to defensive end and rush the passer on the side opposite of Ford.

DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama

His Alabama teammate, highly regarded offensive lineman Jonah Williams, describes Quinnen Williams (no relation) as a “300-pound bar of soap.” And if that’s not enough to work the 49ers into a lather ... oh, never mind.

Williams has the agility of an edge rusher with the size and strength of a nose tackle. Pairing Williams on the inside with DeForest Buckner would create a lot of issues for opposing offensive lines.

The 49ers already have such inside players as Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, D.J. Jones and Jullian Taylor, but Williams has a chance to give the team an immediate and dramatic upgrade inside. It is difficult to find anyone who dominated as much as he did in college football last season.

If Bosa is gone, the guess here is that Williams would be the 49ers’ selection.

49ers' Robbie Gould says family will drive his football decisions

49ers' Robbie Gould says family will drive his football decisions

Kicker Robbie Gould and the 49ers remain in a holding pattern, and Gould said the only motivating factor at this stage of his NFL career is his family.

Gould, 36, spent most of the 2018 season away from his wife and three young boys while serving his second season as the 49ers’ kicker. He signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency in 2017.

Gould has deep roots in Chicago, where he spent the first 11 seasons of his NFL career. On Monday, he hosted the Robbie Gould Celebrity Golf Invitational at Medinah Country Club to raise funds for Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

“This city’s been incredible,” Gould told NBC Sports Chicago. “No matter where I’ve gone, no matter where I’ve lived, no matter where I’ve played, Chicago has always been home.”

The Bears released Gould just prior to the start of the regular season in 2016. The move came back to haunt them, as Gould made 72 of 75 field-goal attempts the past two seasons with the 49ers.

Gould expected to be a free agent at the end of the season, but the 49ers tagged him as their franchise player. Gould has requested a trade, but the 49ers have stated they will not trade him.

He has yet to sign the one-year, $4.971 million tender, and he remained away from the 49ers during the offseason program.

“It’s a complicated situation,” Gould said. “The way I’ve kind of approached it is, I want to spend time with my family. And I let my agent handle it, and if anything comes up that I have to make a decision or be in the know, he’ll call me and let me know. But right now there’s nothing to really know, and I’m just enjoying being home and being in Chicago.

“I’m at a point in my career where my family is what’s going to dictate the decisions that I make.”

The 49ers have stated they would like to sign Gould to an extension. The sides have until July 15 to work out a new multi-year deal. Gould’s scheduled salary does not begin paying him until Week 1 of the regular season -- in the amount of more than $290,000 per week.

The Bears have a need at kicker after releasing Cody Parkey following his potential game-winning kick in the final seconds was partially blocked in a first-round NFL playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Gould was in attendance at Soldier Field that day.

[RELATED: Watch Verett go full speed in change-of-direction drills]

“You want every kicking friend or every kicker in the National Football League to do well,” Gould said. ‘It’s a fraternity. You obviously want him to make it. As a kicker, you can feel for him, for sure.”

The Bears currently have two kickers under contract: Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro. Gould said he is not following the Bears’ situation. Instead, he said he is focusing spending time with his family and going through his daily workouts.

Watch 49ers' Jason Verrett go full speed in change-of-direction drills

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USATSI

Watch 49ers' Jason Verrett go full speed in change-of-direction drills

Cornerback Jason Verrett did not take part in the 49ers’ practices during the offseason program with the plan of being ready to compete for a starting job when training camp opens in July.

After missing all of last season with a torn Achilles sustained in a conditioning test at the opening of Los Angeles Chargers training camp, Verrett appears on pace to be cleared at or near the beginning of camp this summer.

Verrett on Monday posted videos to his Instagram account that show him going near full speed in change-of-direction drills. During the last week of the team’s offseason program, Verrett said he expected to be ready for training camp. The 49ers are scheduled to report to camp on July 27.

"I’m going to be ready,” Verrett said. “That’s my main focus. It’s just worrying about what I can control and I’m excited to be getting ready for training camp. My health is pretty much everything and I’m on track to be exactly where I want to be. The day I get on that football field they are going to like what they see.”

Verrett, who turned 28 last week, has played in just 25 games since breaking into the NFL in 2014 as the 25th overall draft pick of the Chargers.

He was limited to just six games because of a shoulder injury as a rookie. After appearing in 14 games in 2015 and earning a spot on the AFC Pro Bowl team, Verrett sustained a partial tear of his ACL and played in just four games in 2016.

[RELATED: How will 49ers share RB carries?]

In the first game of 2017, Verrett reinjured his knee and sat out the remainder of the season. Verrett missed all of last season with the injury he sustained on the first day of training camp.

Ahkello Witherspoon had a strong offseason program as the starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman. Verrett is expected to compete with Witherspoon for a starting job.