Former Eagles receiver Jordan Matthews signs contract with 49ers


Former Eagles receiver Jordan Matthews signs contract with 49ers

The 49ers have added to their offense, signing former Eagles receiver Jordan Matthews. 

Matthews, at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, could be the big-body receiver that the team has been looking for. In his five seasons in the NFL, Matthews has spent time Philadelphia, Buffalo and one offseason with the Patriots.

The Patriots cut Matthews as a result of a significant hamstring injury during the 2018 offseason. He was later signed by the Eagles, where he appeared in 14 games. 

Matthews has 270 career receptions for 3,255 yards and 22 touchdowns. The majority of those touchdowns have been from inside the red zone, an area that’s been a challenge for coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense. 

Upon signing with the team, Matthews spoke about why he chose the 49ers. 

“I had a huge interest in wanting to be at a place like this,” Matthews said. “It’s got everything you want, as far as the culture of the team already, young, vibrant, great quarterback in Jimmy (Garoppolo). So as a receiver, you couldn’t ask for a better situation.”

Matthews also has a unique connection to the team, being the cousin of Hall of Fame wide receiver, Jerry Rice. He recalled going to San Francisco when he was very young but not remembering much. 

When Matthews returned to the Bay Area a second time it was to attend a Raiders game when Rice was a member of the team. Matthews does remember wearing a 49ers hat for that Raiders-Broncos game.

Coach Kyle Shanahan has always expressed that the size of the receiver doesn’t matter as much as their ability to get open. Matthews believes that is one of the reasons the team signed him. 

“I feel like I do three things really well,” Matthews said. “I get open, I catch the ball, and I’m going to block in the run game. I feel like whenever I’ve been put in a position to make plays, I go out and make them. 

“Last year, going back to Philly, there were opportunities out there that they gave me, and every single time they gave me an opportunity, I made sure I capitalized on it.”

The 49ers have been on Matthews radar for a while. He spoke about what he has seen from the reviewing corps and how that made San Francisco an attractive landing spot. 

“I’m watching film and seeing guys like Trent Taylor have a great year (as a rookie), Kendrick Bourne being able to elevate his game in a short period of time. Even tight end. Look at what (George) Kittle was able to do and how they got him in space. 

“Marquise Goodwin is a player I’ve watched for a long time. When he came here, it seemed like his career really emerged. And so I feel like they do a ton of stuff just to get guys in open space, and that’s what I pride myself on. I’m going to get open. I’m going to catch the ball. I’m going to help the team win.”

Matthews has missed some time on the field due to injury but was adamant that he is currently healthy. 

“I’m feeling good,” Matthews said. “I’m feeling as good as I did coming into the league. This whole place is electric right now. Just walking into the building, you can tell there’s a lot of excitement around the 49ers.” 

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Matthews is reuniting with former teammate Miles Austin, who is now a member of the 49ers coaching staff. The two played together while members of the Eagles in 2015. 

"I told Austin, I feel like I’m 22 again walking around here," Matthews said. "I’m excited to get to work and get to know the guys in the locker room and try to build a winning culture.”

Five players for the 49ers to consider on Day 2 of NFL Draft

Five players for the 49ers to consider on Day 2 of NFL Draft

The national-TV audience will begin to evaporate and the names called will not be as familiar, but Friday will be every bit as important as Day 1 of the 2019 NFL Draft.

“Everybody talks about the first round, but this draft is all about the second, third and fourth rounds,” an NFL West Coast scout told NBC Sports Bay Area.

The depth of this year’s draft makes every team’s selections on Day 2 potentially just as important and impactful as those chosen in the first round.

The 49ers own four picks within the top 104 selections. General manager John Lynch is set to pick at No. 2. After that, the 49ers have scheduled selections at Nos. 36 (second round), 67 (third round) and 104 (fourth round).

Here are some options for the 49ers on Day 2 of the NFL Draft:

WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina

There is something about Samuel’s movements, patience and ability to separate quickly versus man coverage that would seem to be attractive for coach Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers struggled mightily in the red zone the past two seasons, and Samuel would give the team a boost in that area.

After the 49ers spent a week with him at the Senior Bowl, Samuel was provided a plane ticket to also meet with the 49ers in Santa Clara. New receivers coach Wes Welker had not joined the staff when the club was in Mobile, so Welker was able to spend some quality time with Samuel in the Bay Area.

The 49ers’ pick at No. 36 would be a logical spot at which to target Samuel.

WR Hakeem Butler, Iowa State

Butler is massive. He is 6-5, 227 pounds. He is a wide receiver. And the first reaction is that he looks like a formidable red zone target. But Shanahan has never liked the randomness and low-percentage nature of the fade route or jump ball near the end zone.

The question with Butler is much the same as the question with N’Keal Harry of Arizona State. Can he regularly and routinely find separation against bigger, faster, stronger, more-skilled NFL cornerbacks?

Butler should be among a group of wide receivers that fly off the board in rapid-fire succession on the second day of the draft.

S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida

Different teams might view him in different ways. And for the 49ers, that kind of versatility is certainly not a bad thing.

He is 5-11, 210 pounds and ran a 4.48 at the NFL Scouting Combine. He had three sacks and nine tackles for loss last season, which points to his ability to play close to the line of scrimmage. He also led the Gators with four interceptions, so he could also be viewed as a single-high safety.

When the 49ers choose in the second round, there should be plenty of starter-caliber safeties from which to choose.

S Juan Thornhill, Virginia

Thornhill (6-0, 205) is another in the cluster of safeties who should be available at No. 36 but not when the 49ers select in the third round. It’s a group that includes Gardner-Johnson, Darnell Savage (Maryland), Nasir Adderley (Delaware) and Taylor Rapp (Washington).

The 49ers are coming off a season in which they set the NFL record for fewest interceptions in a season with two. Thornhill has experience at cornerback and showed those coverage skills when he moved to safety. He recorded 13 interceptions in his final three college seasons.

The 49ers might even be tempted to move him to cornerback, like they did a year ago with third-round draft pick Tarvarius Moore.

CB Lonnie Johnson, Kentucky

He might not be able to win a starting job immediately, but he should be a big special-teams performer from Day 1 and work into a significant role on defense. At 6-2, 213, Johnson is a good fit for the 49ers’ defensive scheme.

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He is at his best re-routing receivers off the line of scrimmage. He should be able to handle the requirements of the 49ers’ preferred cover-three defense. In addition, he is an aggressive hitter who will be good in run support.

Is 36 too high for him? Perhaps, but he could be a target in Round 3.

Longtime 49ers scout Reggie Cobb dies from apparent heart attack at 50


Longtime 49ers scout Reggie Cobb dies from apparent heart attack at 50

Longtime 49ers area scout Reggie Cobb died Saturday morning in the Bay Area from an apparent heart attack, the club announced. He was 50.

“We are devastated by the sudden loss of a tremendous teammate and loyal friend, Reggie Cobb,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement.

“Reggie was an enthusiastic and passionate person who had a special ability to brighten up a room with his personality and infectious smile. For 10 years, the 49ers were better because of Reggie and these unique qualities that he possessed.

“He was a top-notch scout and an exemplary man whose years of service to this organization and the National Football League will not be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this time of mourning.”

Cobb played seven NFL seasons after entering the league as the No. 30 overall pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1990 from Tennessee.

In his career as a running back, he gained 3,743 yards and scored 25 touchdowns while playing four seasons with Tampa Bay and one apiece with Green Bay, Jacksonville and the New York Jets.

He transitioned into scouting, serving two years with Washington and six with Tampa Bay before coming to the 49ers. Cobb was entering his 11th year as an area scout with the 49ers. In 2011, he was named NFC Scout of the Year by the Fritz Pollard Alliance.

Cobb finished his college career ranked third on the University of Tennessee’s career rushing chart with 2,360 yards and 26 touchdowns. He was also a member of the school’s 100th anniversary team. He lettered in track and graduated with a degree in urban studies in 1990.

Cobb lived in Sugarland, Texas, with his son, DeMarcus, according to his 49ers bio.