49ers

49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo are way 'overhyped', NFL.com analyst explains

49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo are way 'overhyped', NFL.com analyst explains

It’s an annual tradition in the NFL. Local media and national experts alike traffic in hope that "Team X" will be better than last year for any number of reasons, or that a particular player has looked “significantly better” in camp.

However, until the rosters are finalized and the regular season opens up on Sept. 8, it’s all hearsay.

One team in particular that has received a lot of positive press throughout the late summer has been the 49ers. To be fair, there isn’t much room to regress from a 4-12 season and earning the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft.

NFL.com writer Adam Rank is not sold on all the reports of a breakout season for Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers, as he included the team in his most recent “Unpopular Opinions” column.

Below is Rank’s justification for not buying into the hype for the 49ers:

I'm just having a hard time putting the 49ers in the upper half of the NFC. I love Jimmy Garoppolo, my dude from Arlington Heights, Illinois, which is not too far from my birthplace of Schaumburg. Love him, but it's got to be tough love. He's never started more than seven games in an NFL season. He closed out 2017 with five consecutive wins after being traded to the 49ers and has the best winning percentage since 2016 (.800) among quarterbacks to have started 10-plus games in that span, but he's coming off a devastating knee injury that ended his 2018 campaign after three brief appearances. In Week 1, he threw three interceptions against the Vikings. He avoided disaster against the Lions in Week 2, though he looked timid as he was sacked six times (including three that came in the red zone). Garoppolo also threw an interception late that would have cost the 49ers the game if it hadn't been nullified by a holding penalty. I will say he was looking great against the Chiefs in Week 3, but the Chiefs' defense was "Madden" rookie level last year. Just being honest. Garoppolo is still developing as a quarterback. He's going to be very good in this league, but it's a process.

Several national NFL analysts have predicted Garoppolo will have a major comeback season after tearing his ACL in Week 3 of the 2018 season. 

[RELATED: 49ers camp report: Nick Bosa still impressing, Jerick McKinnon off PUP list]

Rank did close out his copy with a wide-ranging prediction for the team:

This is the NFL. The 49ers could win 12 games and it wouldn't surprise me. They could also win three. But you have the Rams and Seahawks already in the division. The Cardinals are going to be much better than people think they are. In fact, Kyler Murray is going to be like Lamar Jackson, but in a more dynamic offense. So I need to be convinced more regarding the 49ers.

With San Francisco not facing a 2018 playoff team until Week 5 (Rams), there will be plenty of chances for the 49ers to convince the NFL universe that the hype, is in fact, legitimate.

NFL rumors: 49ers turned down multiple trade offers for Nick Mullens

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USATSI

NFL rumors: 49ers turned down multiple trade offers for Nick Mullens

Last season, the 49ers were one of a select few NFL teams that chose to keep three quarterbacks on the active roster.

Behind Jimmy Garoppolo, general manager John Lynch elected to retain both C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens throughout the season.

Lynch has spoken about potentially trading one of them in recent months, but as The Athletic’s Michael Lombardi noted on his podcast, the Niners clearly hold one of them in very high regard.

"There was about three teams trying to trade for Kyle Allen," Lombardi said on The GM Shuffle podcast. "You know what's interesting about the Kyle Allen trade? This is really interesting. The 49ers got a bunch of phone calls — when I say a bunch, a couple of teams — on Nick Mullens, the backup quarterback in San Francisco. Nick Mullens. They were asking about him, and they turned down every trade offer for Nick Mullens. They wouldn't trade him.

"Think about that. Think about that. Nick Mullens was like — Cam Newton had no value, [and] Nick Mullens [is] untradeable. Just put that in perspective for a while. Digest that."

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

Mullens played admirably in filling in for Garoppolo after the signal-caller tore his ACL in 2018. The Southern Miss alum completed just over 64 percent of his passes in eight starts, throwing 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

While having multiple security blankets behind Garoppolo is a nice insurance policy, potentially nabbing a mid-round draft pick for one of the two quarterbacks could help the team shore up another position of need

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.