49ers draft pick Justin Skule proved himself playing SEC competition


49ers draft pick Justin Skule proved himself playing SEC competition

Justin Skule did not play a snap at guard during his four-year career at Vanderbilt, but he will be willing to go wherever on the offensive line the 49ers decide to send him.

“Whatever position I have to play to help the team, I’m willing to do,” said Skule, whom the 49ers selected in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft with the No. 183 overall pick.

Skule (6-foot-6, 318 pounds) was drafted as a tackle. He started the final 40 games of his college career, and regularly went up against top competition in the loaded SEC.

“I felt like he won at a high rate,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said after the club selected Skule. “It wasn't always beautiful, pretty, but just kind of a scrapper who at the end of the play was on his guy and won his leverage at a very high rate.

“When you find those guys, you look at the level of competition. Well, his level of competition was as good as it gets in college football.”

As a senior, Skule allowed only one sack in 473 pass-blocking snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. That sack – a sack-strip surrendered to Kentucky’s Josh Allen – ended Vanderbilt’s hopes of a late-game comeback. Skule managed to hold his own against Allen, whom he considered the best pass-rusher he faced, for most of the game.

“My mindset is every play you have to be ready to go,” Skule said. “Every week you’re getting a really good player, so every play, you got to come ready to play. If you take a play off, it could be a crucial part of the game.”

The 49ers were the first team to speak with Skule at the East-West Shrine Game, he said. Skule was not among the 57 offensive linemen invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. Offensive line coach John Benton and Lynch called to speak with Skule in the days leading up to the draft.

“(He’s) maybe not the prototypical tackle that will go early in the draft like you see a lot,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “So you look at the end, who has a chance to make it in this league and the game is not too big for him? He has the ability to make it, and to me he's got as good of a mindset on what's inside of him as anybody out there.”

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Skule is expected to initially compete against Shon Coleman for the role of the swing tackle, serving as the backup to both Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey. Skule said he is familiar with both of the 49ers’ starting offensive tackles.

“Those are both really good players that I know I can learn a lot from and have played a lot of good football,” Skule said. “So I’m excited to get to work with them.”

Watch 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan recite his longest play from memory


Watch 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan recite his longest play from memory

If you're like me, you can't remember anything. This is the part where I say "I can barely remember what I had for breakfast," but you caught me on a good day.

Toast, with butter and strawberry jelly, and scrambled eggs -- with ketchup, because I'm weird. 

So when it comes to having to remember an entire football play ... well, that's why some of us play the sport -- and the others just watch it.

Listen to 49ers' head coach Kyle Shanahan recite his longest play:

Jimmy Garoppolo has to memorize these types of plays -- which is insane. Then has to relay the information to the huddle -- yeah I know, you know football, I'm just trying to remind you of the steps. But at least Jimmy G gets to repeat the play at least one additional time, right?

That should be enough. 

So Shanahan isn't the only "wizard" in this scenario. 


Chip Kelly 'not surprised' ex-49ers assistant prevented school shooting


Chip Kelly 'not surprised' ex-49ers assistant prevented school shooting

Chip Kelly knows the type of person Keanon Lowe is. It's why Kelly recruited Lowe as a football player at the University of Oregon, and years later had him on his staffs with the Eagles and 49ers as an assistant.

When Lowe prevented a school shooting Friday at Parkrose High in Portland, Ore., Kelly wasn't surprised at all. In fact, what the now-UCLA coach wanted to know was Lowe's form in going from a former receiver to a defensive player in a heroic act.

“I wanted to know his [tackling] technique,” Kelly said Saturday to Scott Osler of the San Francisco Chronicle. “He told me it was like when he was on kickoff coverage, it really didn’t matter how you tackled 'em as long as you got 'em to the ground.”

Lowe now is the head football coach and security guard at Parkrose. The school was on a 23-game losing streak when he arrived, and Kelly isn't surprised Lowe would step into a situation so far from the NFL.

"He’s just a special person that’s always wanting to help and serve," Kelly said. "He’s the type of kid you just want to be around him. He’s a special young man, and I think everybody is fortunate he was where he was yesterday afternoon.”

[RELATED: Kerr lauds ex-49ers assistant for preventing school shooting]

Lowe played two seasons under Kelly at Oregon. He made 18 tackles on special teams between his freshman and sophomore years.