Clemson NFL draft prospects 49ers, Raiders fans should watch vs Alabama

Clemson NFL draft prospects 49ers, Raiders fans should watch vs Alabama

The 49ers and the Raiders' big boards for the 2019 NFL Draft will start with edge rushers.

Both Bay Area teams struggled mightily in rushing the passer this past season, but they're in position to address that in April. The 49ers own the No. 2 overall pick, and the Raiders will select at No. 4 before they make two other picks near the end of the first round -- one of which we already know is at No. 24.

In the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday night against Alabama at Levi's Stadium, a top-tier pass rusher will be on display for Clemson, as will a long cornerback whom either team could use. 

Clelin Ferrell, DE

Ferrell did it all for the Tigers in their dominant 30-3 Cotton Bowl win over Notre Dame to reach this title game. The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder ended the day with four tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and one pass defensed. 

No. 99 is playing in the Bay Area for the first time, but he's familiar with its teams. Ferrell models his game after the best version of Aldon Smith, and he said he wants to be what the former 49ers and Raiders edge rusher should've been in the NFL.

Ferrell's impressive stats show that possibility. He has 27 sacks over three seasons at Clemson, including 21 sacks in the last two years. This season, he has 11.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss, and was voted a first-team All-American for the second consecutive year. He also won the Ted Hendricks Award, annually given to the nation’s best defensive end.

Watching Ferrell match wits against Alabama All-American offensive tackle Jonah Williams will be a great test and one NFL front offices will be all over as they scout both players.

Trayvon Mullen, CB 

Aside from an edge rusher, cornerback is the 49ers' next greatest need. They were last in the NFL with just two interceptions. Yes, two. 

But Mullen doesn't have one interception this season. He'll still be an option for them on Day 2 of the draft, though. 

Mullen had three interceptions in 2017, and has ideal NFL size at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds. Here's how The Draft Network describes him: "Mullen plays up to his frame in terms of play strength and assertiveness as a tackler and in coverage. He flashes moments of outstanding ball skills and his long arms allow for recovery and margin of error."

Here's how 49ers and Raiders fans who want to see these prospects can watch Alabama-Clemson live on TV and online:

When: 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on Monday, Jan. 7
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Stream: Watch ESPN

Jimmy Garoppolo 'worst practice quarterback we've had,' Patriots analyst says

Jimmy Garoppolo 'worst practice quarterback we've had,' Patriots analyst says

Jimmy Garoppolo had a rough 2019 preseason debut for the 49ers. That followed a horrid day at practice, where the quarterback threw interceptions on five consecutive plays. 

While Garoppolo's issues might be chalked up to rust after he spent almost a year rehabbing from a torn ACL, what if there's another answer?

As you're aware, Garoppolo spent the first three-plus seasons of his career with the New England Patriots. Garoppolo often is a topic of conversation in the Boston sports media scene, and his struggles in the 49ers' preseason game against the Broncos (1-for-6 passing for 0 yards with an interception), were discussed on the Patriots' radio broadcast Thursday night. 

Patriots color man Scott Zolak dropped a little knowledge -- or baseless gossip -- about Garoppolo's time in New England, and it might explains his issues so far with the 49ers. 

Garoppolo's poor practices apparently have been whispered about around the NFL.

As Pro Football Focus' Kevin Cole noted, this wouldn't jive with the number of stories that came out after the trade about coach Bill Belichick's displeasure with having to trade Garoppolo. 

Poor practice habits are not tolerated at 1 Patriot Place. Regardless of talent, if a player doesn't practice correctly, he isn't there long. 

Is Garoppolo a poor practice QB? Is it due to a lack of effort? Lack of talent? Is Zolak full of it? Money is on the last one.

[RELATED: Jimmy G ready to fight, not crumble after poor showing]

Garoppolo will look to bounce back in the 49ers' next preseason game, which is Saturday night against the Chiefs. Continued struggles only will make the whispers grow louder as it pertains to the 49ers signal-caller's overall ability and practice habits. 

49ers' Richard Sherman doesn't care Michael Crabtree signed with Cardinals


49ers' Richard Sherman doesn't care Michael Crabtree signed with Cardinals

Richard Sherman and Michael Crabtree have a bit of a history.

As you know, in the 2013 NFC Championship Game, Sherman deflected a Colin Kaepernick pass intended for Crabtree into the arms of Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith, ending the 49ers' chances of winning the conference. Sherman then gave the choke sign to both Kaepernick and Crabtree.

Sherman also had some words for Crabtree after he tried to shake the receiver's hand and Crabtree pushed him in the face. Then came the infamous Erin Andrews sideline interview in which Sherman called out Crabtree for being a sub-par player.

That brings us to Wednesday. 

Crabtree signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals, meaning, of course, Sherman would have two more games of going up against his rival. 

But the 49ers cornerback couldn’t care less about Crabtree. 

“I haven’t seen that man in six years — five, six years,” Sherman said Thursday, via The Athletic. “I don’t have any feeling either way towards him. When I see him, you know, there’s going to be a competition. I’m going to look to win. Otherwise, I don’t really give a damn.”

[RELATED: Jimmy G ready to fight, not crumble after poor showing]

Sherman and the 49ers' defense have looked locked in during the preseason, and figure to be one of the best units in the conference, while Crabtree joins the Kliff Kingsbury Air Raid system hoping to become one of rookie quarterback Kyler Murray's favored targets. 

As for the beef with Crabtree, Sherman is sick of rehashing old news. 

“Oh, I’ve talked about it several times,” Sherman said of the time Crabtree tried to fight him at a charity event. “And he knows what was behind it. That’s all that really matters.”

The 49ers and Cardinals first meet on Halloween. Get your popcorn.