49ers

49ers' Dee Ford hoping for 'better results' in conference title game

49ers' Dee Ford hoping for 'better results' in conference title game

SANTA CLARA -- Defensive end Dee Ford had a feeling about this 49ers team when he joined the offseason program.

He can look back now and see that it should not be a surprise that he is back in a conference championship game for the second season in a row.

“It’s easy to say now, hindsight is 20/20, but I felt something special when I first got here in OTAs,” Ford said on Friday. “Guys worked dffferent. They didn’t work like a team that was coming off a losing season. They worked like a championship team. We worked like a championship team. And I fit right in.”

Ford was on Kansas City a year ago, and the Chiefs advanced to the AFC Championship Game, where they lost at home, 37-31, to the New England Patriots in overtime. He is back, one win from the Super Bowl, this season for the 49ers.

The 49ers play the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game at Levi's Stadium.

“(It’s a) special situation,” Ford said. “I’m blessed. I’m looking forward to better results.”

The Chiefs led the Patriots with a minute to go and looked as if they had a game-clinching interception of Tom Brady. But the play was nullified because Ford was penalized for jumping offside. Two plays later, the Patriots took the lead. Kansas City tied it with a field goal in at the end of regulation.

Ford has a key role this season with the 49ers. He returned to action last week in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs. Ford registered a sack as part of a six-sack performance to lead the 49ers to a 27-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings. He played just four snaps over the final six games of the regular season due to a hamstring injury.

He said he feels good entering Sunday’s game against the Packers after feeling some rust in his first game back.

“Just feel of the game,” Ford said. “(The) pass rush was not perfect, there were certain things that technically I wanted to be better at, and we’ll get that done this week.”

The 49ers face major challenge on Sunday against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The effectiveness of the 49ers’ pass rush could determine which team will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

“He’s a legendary quarterback. Future Hall of Famer,” Ford said of Rodgers. “He can make plays any way his team needs him to make. He can execute. He can dial up different schemes, as far as pass concepts to get the ball out of his hands or he can hold the ball and make plays. We have our work cut out for us this week.”

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The 49ers acquired Ford in a trade with the Chiefs for a second-round draft pick. He made it clear he would love to face his old team in Miami in two weeks.

"That will be fun. That would be a really fun deal,” Ford said. “Nobody is looking forward. They got a really good test in front of them. We got a good test in front of us. We got a lot of work in front of us.”

 

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (6 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday)

Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Old 49ers-Odell Beckham trade idea shows NFL draft was better route

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AP

Old 49ers-Odell Beckham trade idea shows NFL draft was better route

NFL draft season prompts plenty of outlandish trade scenarios to fill airtime and word counts, many of which never come to fruition.

Dallas Morning News reporter Joseph Hoyt dug up one such scenario Thursday, and it's a (hypothetical) trade the 49ers are (hypothetically) glad they didn't (hypothetically) make.

The 49ers would've had to pay a pretty penny for then-New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the proposal put forth in a "Good Morning Football" segment nearly two years ago. Beckham was months away from signing a contract extension, so San Francisco would've traded a lot of draft capital for a star entering the final year of his contract. The picks the 49ers made in those slots formed the backbone of the 2019 NFC Champions.

Beckham's arrival would've changed things, though. The 49ers would've entered the season with arguably the best receiver in football as well as George Kittle, who'd emerge as arguably the best tight end. Kittle might not have set an NFL record for receiving yards by a tight end playing alongside Beckham, but he surely would've benefitted from the extra attention opposing defenses paid the receiver rather than him.

Do they still go 4-12 that year? The 49ers were 3-5 in games decided by six points or fewer in 2018, and Jimmy Garoppolo (torn ACL) missed all but one of those games. Beckham crossed the 1,000-yard threshold in just 12 games catching passes from Eli Manning in 2018, so it's -- at the very least -- conceivable he could've moved the needle in at least one of the 49ers' close losses.

[RELATED: Why 49ers should trade down from both first-round picks]

The 49ers would've picked no higher than No. 4 overall with a 5-11 record in 2018, and any additional wins would've dropped them further down the draft order. Acquiring Beckham under the parameters "Good Morning Football" put forth likely would've prevented the Niners from selecting all of Mike McGlinchey, Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel, but not all three of them would necessarily be Giants, either.

San Francisco would've been a better team in 2018, thus pushing the 49ers out of the slots they used to draft Bosa and Samuel. That's a different opportunity cost to consider than trading all of those players straight-up for one of the game's best receivers, but it's one the 49ers probably are glad they didn't have to pay.

2020 NFL Draft: Why 49ers should trade down both first-round picks

2020 NFL Draft: Why 49ers should trade down both first-round picks

The 49ers had only six picks in the 2020 NFL Draft before trading Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts. San Francisco owned the No. 31 pick, and no others until the fifth round.

That trade brought in the No. 13 pick, but the 49ers probably aren't done dealing. Trading down to acquire more, much-needed draft capital is the likeliest scenario.

While much of the 49ers Faithful drool over what the top wide receivers in the draft would look like in coach Kyle Shanahan’s system, it's far from a given that the team will use that first pick on a receiver. For one, the 49ers still don't own any picks in the second, third and fourth rounds. For another, receiver is one of the deepest positions in the draft and the 49ers arguably have a bigger need.

Joe Staley is under contract through the 2021 season, but the veteran left tackle was understandably emotional after the 49ers' loss in Super Bowl LIV. Right tackle Mike McGlinchey indirectly indicated that Staley’s decision to return for the 2020 season was not set in stone.

The 49ers would be best served in hedging their bet that Staley returns and using one of their first-round picks on a left tackle. Even if Staley returns, the 49ers will need a replacement for him in the not-so-distant future. 

The draft's top tackles likely will be taken before the 49ers' first pick, but there still should be quality options available in the 20s or later. The 49ers could trade down, while Houston's Josh Jones or USC's Austin Jackson is still available, and then acquire another pick.

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Let's say trading the No. 13 pick nets the 49ers a first- and early second-round pick. Dealing the No. 31 pick would also come into play.

The 49ers drafted Deebo Samuel No. 36 overall in 2019. Samuel proved to be very productive in Shanahan’s system, catching 57 of his 81 targets for 802 yards. He ranked second on the team in receiving yards only behind First Team All-Pro tight end George Kittle. 

Shanahan's staff had an advantage in getting to know Samuel while at the Senior Bowl, but they have shown that a second-round receiver can become a key contributor. 

[RELATED: Buckner's exit could influence 49ers to trade down in draft]

Hall of Fame coach Jimmy Johnson's draft trade value chart lists the No. 31 pick as worth a mid-second-round pick and a high third-round pick or a high second-round pick and a mid-fourth-round pick, among other permutations. Trading both first-round picks could give the 49ers three additional picks in rounds where they currently have none.

The 49ers would end draft weekend with nine selections in this scenario, as opposed to their original six. They'd also have fresh, valuable talent at important positions on their roster.