49ers

49ers' quarterback search heats up at NFL combine

49ers' quarterback search heats up at NFL combine

INDIANAPOLIS – The 49ers met Friday night with North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky as part of the organization’s quest to eventually fill their depth chart.

The 49ers also had scheduled 15-minute formal interviews this week with Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer and Patrick Mahomes of Texas Tech.

The opinions of the quarterbacks appear to span all ranges, according to scouts and coaches at the NFL Scouting Combine. There was some buzz gaining momentum that Trubisky could be in serious consideration for the Cleveland Browns and 49ers with the top two picks in the draft.

One of the top concerns with Trubisky is his lack of experience. He was a starter for just one season. Yet, one NFC scout told CSNBayArea.com that he showed he can make all the throws and stand fearlessly in the pocket.

When it comes to throwing the ball, Trubisky had ample opportunity to show what he can do. Trubisky started 13 games – all in his final season – and completed 386 of 572 pass attempts for 4,762 yards with 41 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

In comparison, Tom Brady completed 395 of 638 passes for 4,773 yards with 30 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in his four-year career at Michigan from 1996 to ’99.

“They’re not even really grilling me on that really, they’re just trying to get to know me and pick my brain and see how well that I know football, and what kind of system I ran at North Carolina,” Trubisky said. “I don’t think that’s a big concern from the teams that I’ve talked to so far. They could tell I know the game very well. They’re impressed with my tape and I’m just trying to show them what kind of person I am and just stay confident and get ready for the rest of this process.

“I've studied the game. I'm a student of the game and I've seen a lot of defenses, and I think that's going to help me. And just my abilities, I feel like I'm in a really good spot right now to take my game to the next level, and I feel really confident."

General manager John Lynch said Thursday that Kizer “blew the doors off” of his interview with the 49ers the previous night. But his final season did not go as planned, with the Fighting Irish staggering to a 4-8 record.

Kizer completed just 58.7 percent of his pass attempts with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

“I’m pretty comfortable in opening up and expressing who I am as a guy and how I plan on going about this process,” Kizer said. “They’ve had a lot of questions about last season and how a guy who has the size and has the arm strength goes and becomes 4-8. I responded in the way I thought was the honest truth. From what I understand, they (the 49ers) were pretty impressed with that.”

Watson is the most decorated of the quarterback prospects after playing on the big stage and leading Clemson to a win in the national championship game over Alabama.

Watson completed 67.4 percent of his passes throughout his three-year career. But while throwing 90 touchdown passes the past two season, Watson was also intercepted an alarming 30 times over that stretch.

“I understand that was going to come and it happens,” Watson said of interceptions. “It’s something that they obviously are going to poke holes. If I were in their shoes, I would poke holes, too.

“I take full responsibility in all of that. Sometimes you just have bad luck. Sometimes the defense makes a good play. Sometimes I make a bad throw. One, two or three, maybe it was a bad decision, but it’s a learning lesson. I’ve learned from those mistakes and I’ve corrected those and [I’m] going to move on from it.

“The biggest question that I’ve heard from different coaches was if I can change a protection, run the offense and recognize defensive coverages. Every team I went to asked me those questions. I handled it well, answered the questions and they were very impressed. They know that I’m not just some other quarterback that’s running a spread offense. That [I’m a] guy that can operate, make good decisions and recognize what the defense is doing and be successful doing it.”

After Colin Kaepernick officially opted out of his contract on Friday, the 49ers have no quarterback on the roster under contract for the upcoming season. While there's a lot of work that needs to be done, it's not completely a bad thing, Lynch said.

"That also is somewhat liberating in that you can create this thing in that position that is so critical in the way that you want it," Lynch said.

While the quarterbacks took center stage at the combine, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported of a potential three-way trade in which the 49ers could end up with Kirk Cousins. In such a scenario, Washington would acquire Tony Romo and Dallas would collect draft picks.

Pro Football Talk reported sources with direct knowledge of the situation “scoffed” at the idea, with one source describing the report as “conjecture.”

49ers' Trent Taylor switches jersey number ahead of 2019 NFL season

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AP

49ers' Trent Taylor switches jersey number ahead of 2019 NFL season

Trent Taylor will sport a new look this season for the 49ers.

The wide receiver has switched his jersey to No. 15, he announced Thursday on his Instagram. 

Taylor had a strong rookie season in 2017 as the team's primarly slot receiver, catching 43 passes for 430 yards and two touchdowns. But after undergoing offseason back surgery, Taylor struggled last season with just 26 catches for 215 yards and one touchdown. Taylor wore No. 5 during his college career at Louisiana Tech.

He takes over the uniform number Pierre Garçon wore the past two seasons. The 49ers declined the option on Garçon’s contract this month, and he remains unsigned as a free agent.

Taylor previously wore No. 81. That likely means new 49ers receiver Jordan Matthews will take over the jersey number he wore during his first three NFL seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

[RELATED: Why Bucs hiring two women means so much to 49ers' Sowers]

Matthews had his best three seasons with the Eagles, with 225 receptions for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns while wearing No. 81.

He wore No. 87 in his one season with the Buffalo Bills in 2017, and No. 80 upon his return to Philadelphia last season. The 49ers have retired those numbers, forever belonging to Dwight Clark and Jerry Rice, respectively.

Watch 49ers WR Richie James work out with NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes

Watch 49ers WR Richie James work out with NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes

With quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo playing in only three games in 2018,  Richie James Jr. didn't have a great opportunity to showcase his skills during his rookie campaign.

But the 23-year-old showed off his ability to catch the deep ball Thursday when he was spotted working out with reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes.

James had a quiet rookie campaign, catching nine passes for 130 yards and a touchdown, while showcasing some promise as a return man.

[RELATED: John Lynch believes free agency work set 49ers up for 2019 NFL Draft]

The 49ers could use another weapon at wide receiver, so perhaps the Middle Tennessee State product could emerge as a deep threat for Jimmy G in 2019.

While we probably shouldn't read too much into a March workout video, it's hard to deny James looked good hauling in the effortless deep ball from Mahomes.