49ers

DeForest Buckner sees 'bright future' for 49ers' No. 2 pick Nick Bosa

DeForest Buckner sees 'bright future' for 49ers' No. 2 pick Nick Bosa

The 49ers are trying to build a dominant defensive line. That was clear when they traded for edge rusher Dee Ford and then handed him a five-year, $87.5 million contract. The same can be said for the decision to draft defensive end Nick Bosa with the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Both moves should benefit fellow defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, who developed into a star last season with 12 sacks and 17 tackles for a loss. Going into his fourth year as a pro, Buckner says he's "very excited." 

Plenty of that excitement has to do with playing on the same defensive line as Ford and Bosa. 

"He's been a really good addition for us and a really good guy to have around the room," Buckner said Thursday about Ford on KNBR

Buckner also praised the play of Bosa, who he watched when the newest 49ers rookie played at Ohio State. 

"I watched some of his film. He's a great player, I can see why they picked him at No. 2," Buckner said. 

Though the draft was less than a month ago, Buckner has already been around Bosa at workouts. Buckner has been impressed with the time the rookie has put in and the way he's interacted with teammates. 

"He's a really good dude," Buckner said. "His work ethic is there. If he just puts the work in like the rest of us, he's gonna have a bright future."

Bosa, however, caused controversy with his activity on social media before the 49ers even drafted. His history includes calling former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick "a clown" over two years ago for kneeling during the national anthem as a protest against racial and social injustices. In deleted tweets, Bosa also criticized Beyonce’s music as “complete trash” and called Black Panther the “worst Marvel movie.”

[RELATED: Six new 49ers players who should make big impacts in 2019]

It's clear there's a pattern there, one that is against black culture. The 49ers' prized rookie has also "liked" multiple posts in his past on social media with racist connotations and regarding the opposition of immigration. But Buckner says he will not judge Bosa on his past. 

"Honestly, none of that really comes up between the guys," Buckner said. "I judge him based on my interactions with him and the past couple of days I've had with him. And he seems like he's been a really good teammate so far. That's what I'm basing my judgments off of from here on out." 

How Deebo Samuel, Kendrick Bourne enhanced 49ers' offense last season

How Deebo Samuel, Kendrick Bourne enhanced 49ers' offense last season

No stat is perfect, and that includes passer rating. One thing needs to be clear: It's not just a quarterback stat. 

Instead, passer rating showcases the passing offense as a whole and heavily weighs big plays. Deebo Samuel and Kendrick Bourne clearly strengthened the 49ers' passing offense. All you have to do is look at Jimmy Garoppolo's passer rating when targeting the two receivers. 

Pro Football Focus published an article Thursday that proved just how much the two enhanced San Francisco's passing offense. Garoppolo had a 121.1 passer rating when targeting Bourne, good for the ninth-best among receivers. Samuel was right behind as a rookie with a 120.2 passer rating.

Samuel's 74 percent catch rate also was the seventh-best among receivers in the entire NFL last season. 

Garoppolo targeted Samuel 81 times last season, according to Pro-Football Reference, and had a 70.4 completion percentage when throwing it the rookie's way, and a 109.2 QB rating. He targeted Bourne 46 times and had a 67.4 completion percentage with a 109.0 QB rating.

[RELATED: 49ers believe Aiyuk can fill void left by Sanders' departure]

Samuel is expected to be the 49ers' No. 1 receiver in his second professional season this year. He perfectly fits Kyle Shanahan's scheme of deception. Bourne, on the other hand, was relied upon in the red zone and led all 49ers receivers with five touchdowns in 2019. 

The 49ers might not have a superstar receiver yet, but it's clear this group is full of talent.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

49ers' Richard Sherman explains importance of white QBs speaking up

49ers' Richard Sherman explains importance of white QBs speaking up

As the world protests police brutality from the aftermath of George Floyd's brutal murder in Minneapolis, athletes in all sports have joined the fight. 

Former Warriors forward Stephen Jackson called Floyd his "twin" and became extremely emotional on social media upon learning of his death and held a press conference asking America to finally get real about race. Steve Kerr, Steph Curry and many others have voiced their thoughts and anger as well. On Sunday morning, 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman expressed his thoughts on Twitter. 

As he saw his tweets, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reached out to Sherman. Unprompted, Sherman spoke on the importance of white quarterbacks like Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles, Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals and Clemson star Trevor Lawrence all speaking up following Floyd, an African-American man, being murdered in broad daylight by four cops.

“I’m impressed with the white QBs speaking up because those are voices that carry different weight than the black voices for some people,” Sherman said to Breer. “Which means the people who refuse to listen to a black athlete’s perspective will hear the same thing said from a white athlete, but receive the message much differently. So it’s awesome that more people are speaking out, because in sports, you really have a love and appreciation for your fellow man, regardless of race.

“And I think that’s what makes sports and teams so special, because a lot of the stereotypes are torn down. You really get to know one another, not judge based off nonsense.”

Breer initially asked Sherman if he believes it's a responsibility of himself or other athletes to speak up right now. The veteran cornerbacks feels it's more a case-by-case basis and nobody should be forced to, though it's clear he sees the impact on doing so.

“It’s always based on the individual,” Sherman said. “Because not everyone has something to say and not everyone who’s an athlete should be forced to. There are many successful people in this world with platforms, but not everyone should speak.”

[RELATED: Why 49ers are No. 4 in King's latest NFL Power Rankings]

In a time like this, Sherman's words on white QBs speaking up is extremely important. Kerr said Friday that Floyd's death led to a lot of soul-searching for himself and that white people as a whole haven't done enough. He's right, as is Sherman. 

This is a time for white athletes, and white people in general, to listen and to speak up. We (as in white people) can't pretend we know what people of color go through every single day. We can't act like we do and can't tell minorities how they should feel or react right now. Instead, as Sherman highlighted, we must listen and be a voice for the unheard.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]