49ers

Beathard's condition suggests Garoppolo is 49ers' healthy favorite to start vs. Bears

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AP

Beathard's condition suggests Garoppolo is 49ers' healthy favorite to start vs. Bears

Jimmy Garoppolo spent the first 3 ½ seasons watching the measures a quarterback must take to protect himself.

Tom Brady is not the most nimble quarterback in the league, but nobody is better at buying time in the pocket with a step here or a step there to create enough space to deliver the ball down the field.

Most of the time, the ball comes out of Brady’s hand quickly -- before the pass rush arrives.

For the past three games while standing on the 49ers sideline, Garoppolo saw the beating a quarterback can take when pass protection does not hold up.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said he will make a decision on the 49ers’ starting quarterback before the team takes the practice field on Wednesday. Teams generally begin their preparations for upcoming opponents on Wednesdays.

Whomever starts at quarterback – rookie C.J. Beathard or Garoppolo, the newcomer – needs the full week of practice reps with the first-team offense to have his best chance of success on Sunday against the Chicago Bears, Shanahan said.

First off, it’s not even clear Beathard will be available to take part in a full week of practice. He sustained injuries to his left knee and hip on Sunday upon being taken down by Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett with a low hit after Bennett had already jumped offside.

(The play was not whistled dead before Bennett beat 49ers rookie Erik Magnuson, a fill-in at right tackle, to hit Beathard; and no penalty was called for a low hit on the quarterback.)

Beathard’s mobility will certainly be impacted, if he is deemed OK to play. But even when his legs have been healthy, he has not been able to avoid a large number of hits. It seems the only real decision Shanahan has is to anoint Garoppolo as the starter.

Right tackle Trent Brown was “close” to playing Sunday against Seattle with a shoulder injury, Shanahan said. The team expects him to be available to face the Bears on Sunday.

But that’s immaterial. Beathard might not be healthy, might not be able to protect himself by making the movements necessary to buy time or escape the pocket. He has been sacked 19 times in 5 ½ games since taking over for Brian Hoyer.

The 49ers’ issues with pass protection will not disappear if Garoppolo makes his first start with his new team on Sunday or whether Brown returns to the lineup.

Garoppolo can succeed in making his pass protection look better. He can show that he learned from the best in making quick decisions and subtle movements to avoid the punishment he saw Beathard endure.

Assuming he starts on Sunday, the person most responsible for protecting Jimmy Garoppolo on Sunday is Jimmy Garoppolo.

2019 Senior Bowl: Can 49ers find tight end to pair with George Kittle?

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USATSI

2019 Senior Bowl: Can 49ers find tight end to pair with George Kittle?

No tight end in the history of the NFL had more single-season receiving yards than the 49ers’ George Kittle did in 2018.

Kittle has played just two NFL seasons and has a bright future ahead of him. But that does not mean the 49ers have no need for depth or another tight end to create mismatch problems.

After all, the other 49ers tight ends – Garrett Celek and Ross Dwelley -- combined for seven receptions for 104 yards while Kittle set the NFL tight ends record 1,377 receiving yards.

[RELATED: How George Kittle wants to get even better after record-breaking season]

The 49ers probably would not look for a tight end during the first two days of the draft, but there might be some intriguing options available later in the draft.

And at least two potential targets have been assigned to the 49ers-coached South team during the week of the Senior Bowl:

Dax Raymond, Utah State, 6-5, 250
Raymond did not have overwhelming college stats. His junior season was marred by a broken hand after 27 catches for 345 yards in 10 games. He turned pro because of his age. He served a two-year mission to Russia.

Jim Nagy compares Raymond to Kittle, saying he expects him to test very well with his athleticism.
Projected: Mid rounds

Josh Oliver, San Jose State, 6-5, 250
Oliver is on the rise. He caught 56 passes as a senior for 709 yards and four touchdowns. He is not afraid to catch the ball in traffic over the middle.
Projected: Mid rounds

North tight end

Donald Parham, Stetson, 6-8, 240
Parham will have a chance to make a huge leap this week after playing small-college football at Stetson. He’s tall. Nagy said he has 35-inch arms and a 36-inch vertical jump.

He is a natural pass-catcher who shows some toughness, too. He was rarely asked to block in college, so how he shows up there could determine how he fits into the NFL picture.
Projected: Late rounds

Quinnen Williams reveals what he'll buy with first NFL paycheck

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USATSI

Quinnen Williams reveals what he'll buy with first NFL paycheck

Quinnen Williams is about to get paid. 

The former Alabama star defensive lineman declared for the 2019 NFL Draft, and is expected to be selected early. It would be a shock to many if he lasted past the Raiders at No. 4, and he could be the 49ers' pick at No. 2 overall. 

With the money of a top draft pick coming his way, what will Williams make his first big purchase? 

"I really don't know. I think I'm gonna buy my grandma a car," Williams told TMZ

Williams recently turned 21 years old and admitted he's not a big spender, putting him in unfamiliar territory come April when the draft will be held. 

"I'm a real tight guy and I don't really spend money," Williams said. "I'm gonna still be wearing the same Nike suits and stuff like that. I ain't gonna be splurgin'."

His pockets are about to get heavier, but Williams will keep his wallet tight off the field.

On the field, NFL teams are salivating at the potential the redshirt sophomore has. And off of it, he seems to have it figured out pretty well, too.