49ers still envision important role for Trent Taylor after drafting Dante Pettis


49ers still envision important role for Trent Taylor after drafting Dante Pettis

SANTA CLARA -- The selection of Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey signaled the immediate end of Trent Brown’s stay with the 49ers.

The 49ers’ year-old regime never considered Brown as a long-term answer because of their concerns about his dedication and commitment. Brown was traded to the New England Patriots in a deal that was already agreed upon when general manager John Lynch met with the media a short time after the selection of McGlinchey.

The organization’s first two draft picks of McGlinchey and wide receiver Dante Pettis were designed to strengthen the top end of their roster. Third-round draft pick Fred Warner provides depth and an insurance policy to cover the 49ers amid the uncertainty surrounding Reuben Foster’s legal situation.

While the selections of McGlinchey and Warner can be interpreted as direct responses to major questions about Brown and Foster, the addition of Pettis is a little more complicated.

Pettis does not figure to unseat Pierre Garçon or Marquise Goodwin. Pettis can play slot receiver and a punt returner. In fact, nobody has ever been better at turning punts into points. Pettis set the college football record with nine touchdowns on punt returns.

The player most likely to be impacted by the arrival of Pettis is Trent Taylor, a fifth-round draft pick last year.

Unlike Brown and Foster, Taylor has done nothing to prompt the 49ers to replace him. And general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan were quick to advise that Taylor will still have a significant role on the team.

“Trent Taylor has got a skill that works very well on our team,” Lynch said.

Specifically, Taylor has short-area quickness to create immediate separation from the slot. That skill, coupled with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s quick release, provides the 49ers’ offense with an important asset against certain matchups on third downs.

“You don't know what your future is year-to-year, week-to-week, and Trent has a great role for us," Shanahan said. "And we're bringing in Pettis because he can have a good role for us, too. Everyone talks about roles and how we use guys. We have an idea of how we want to, but a guy's role is up to the player. They’ve got to show us what they can do.”

Taylor is considered exclusively a slot receiver. Shanahan envisions Pettis as a player who can step in and play every receiver position in the 49ers’ offense.

“I think we can use him sometimes similar to how we use Marquise, if need be,” Shanahan said. “I think we can use him inside, similar to how we use Trent, if need be. And I think he has the hands and the toughness, and we can use him similar to Pierre. In the meantime, he’s going to be a very good punt returner, too. He can help you on all four downs.”

Taylor had a promising rookie season. He tied for third on the team with 43 receptions for 430 yards and two touchdowns. Taylor ranked tied for ninth in the NFL among qualifying punt returners with a 9.4-yard average.

Now, he will have to fight to maintain the roles he won as a rookie, and that's exactly what Shanahan expects from him.

“I think people like Trent understand that, too,” Shanahan said. “This is a tough league. It's extremely hard. I think that's why guys get paid pretty well, and I think they more than deserve it. It's hard to make it in this league.”

Said Lynch, “It's competition, but we believe there's enough balls to go around for all these guys.”

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. 

I asked five-year veteran quarterback Sean Salisbury about the longest play he had to memorize.

"Explode to double right, Zoom, Scat right 585 Dodge, X Post check with me 60 outside. Double cadence on 2," Salisbury told NBC Sports Bay Area. "That’s one."

So Shanahan isn't the only "wizard" in this scenario -- or any of the scenarios. 


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.