49ers

Frank Gore opens up on time with 49ers, 'I never wanted to leave'

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USATSI

Frank Gore opens up on time with 49ers, 'I never wanted to leave'

Frank Gore, at 34 years old, has one game left in his 13th season in the NFL. He becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. 

After spending the first 10 years of his career with the 49ers, the running back has kept on gaining yards on the ground for the Colts over the past three seasons, totaling 861 this year.

On Christmas, Peter King of the Monday Morning Quarterback published a long sit-down conversation with Gore where the two talked about his college days at Miami, falling in the draft with a bag full of injuries, his time with the 49ers, how he has stayed productive in his later years, and much more. Gore said the following about the 49ers: 

When [Jim] Harbaugh came to the Niners [in 2011], everything changed. His attitude basically was, We don’t give a F about anyone. Players, we loved that. Scot McCloughan basically built that team [as personnel director/GM for five years, starting in 2005], and it was a team of tough MF-ers. I respect coach Harbaugh a lot. We had a bunch of guys who loved football. Like at Miami.

[In 2011], we started 2-1 and went to Philly to play the Dream Team. I didn’t even know I’d play that game. I hurt my ankle against Cincinnati [the previous week] and I couldn’t practice. I rehabbed, rehabbed, rehabbed. I went out there to see if I could go before the game. I got in the game, but it was a struggle. Down 17-3 at halftime, I think. Me and Patrick Willis looking around, trying to figure out what would happen. We’re in trouble, man. Coach Harbaugh didn’t think it was trouble. He just said, We gotta make adjustments. We will make adjustments. Strike fast. Change things up. We will win this game. So we went out there, scored right away. I was making some big runs. I made the winning run.

We go on in ’13 to beat Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game and make the Super Bowl. Best years of my life. I loved that team. Harbaugh, man, straightforward guy. If he thought you were full of s---, he’d tell you, and you’re not going to be on his team.

I have loved it here [Indianapolis]. I miss San Francisco. I never wanted to leave.

The 49ers selected Gore No. 65 overall in the 2005 NFL Draft. Five other running backs were picked ahead of him that year. In 10 years with 49ers, Gore rushed for 11,073 yards on 2,442 carries to average 4.5 yards per carried. He totaled 75 touchdowns with the 49ers. 

Over his 13-year career, Gore has rushed for 13,926 yards, good for fifth all time. 

Old 49ers-Odell Beckham trade idea shows NFL draft was better route

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AP

Old 49ers-Odell Beckham trade idea shows NFL draft was better route

NFL draft season prompts plenty of outlandish trade scenarios to fill airtime and word counts, many of which never come to fruition.

Dallas Morning News reporter Joseph Hoyt dug up one such scenario Thursday, and it's a (hypothetical) trade the 49ers are (hypothetically) glad they didn't (hypothetically) make.

The 49ers would've had to pay a pretty penny for then-New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the proposal put forth in a "Good Morning Football" segment nearly two years ago. Beckham was months away from signing a contract extension, so San Francisco would've traded a lot of draft capital for a star entering the final year of his contract. The picks the 49ers made in those slots formed the backbone of the 2019 NFC Champions.

Beckham's arrival would've changed things, though. The 49ers would've entered the season with arguably the best receiver in football as well as George Kittle, who'd emerge as arguably the best tight end. Kittle might not have set an NFL record for receiving yards by a tight end playing alongside Beckham, but he surely would've benefitted from the extra attention opposing defenses paid the receiver rather than him.

Do they still go 4-12 that year? The 49ers were 3-5 in games decided by six points or fewer in 2018, and Jimmy Garoppolo (torn ACL) missed all but one of those games. Beckham crossed the 1,000-yard threshold in just 12 games catching passes from Eli Manning in 2018, so it's -- at the very least -- conceivable he could've moved the needle in at least one of the 49ers' close losses.

[RELATED: Why 49ers should trade down from both first-round picks]

The 49ers would've picked no higher than No. 4 overall with a 5-11 record in 2018, and any additional wins would've dropped them further down the draft order. Acquiring Beckham under the parameters "Good Morning Football" put forth likely would've prevented the Niners from selecting all of Mike McGlinchey, Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel, but not all three of them would necessarily be Giants, either.

San Francisco would've been a better team in 2018, thus pushing the 49ers out of the slots they used to draft Bosa and Samuel. That's a different opportunity cost to consider than trading all of those players straight-up for one of the game's best receivers, but it's one the 49ers probably are glad they didn't have to pay.

2020 NFL Draft: Why 49ers should trade down both first-round picks

2020 NFL Draft: Why 49ers should trade down both first-round picks

The 49ers had only six picks in the 2020 NFL Draft before trading Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts. San Francisco owned the No. 31 pick, and no others until the fifth round.

That trade brought in the No. 13 pick, but the 49ers probably aren't done dealing. Trading down to acquire more, much-needed draft capital is the likeliest scenario.

While much of the 49ers Faithful drool over what the top wide receivers in the draft would look like in coach Kyle Shanahan’s system, it's far from a given that the team will use that first pick on a receiver. For one, the 49ers still don't own any picks in the second, third and fourth rounds. For another, receiver is one of the deepest positions in the draft and the 49ers arguably have a bigger need.

Joe Staley is under contract through the 2021 season, but the veteran left tackle was understandably emotional after the 49ers' loss in Super Bowl LIV. Right tackle Mike McGlinchey indirectly indicated that Staley’s decision to return for the 2020 season was not set in stone.

The 49ers would be best served in hedging their bet that Staley returns and using one of their first-round picks on a left tackle. Even if Staley returns, the 49ers will need a replacement for him in the not-so-distant future. 

The draft's top tackles likely will be taken before the 49ers' first pick, but there still should be quality options available in the 20s or later. The 49ers could trade down, while Houston's Josh Jones or USC's Austin Jackson is still available, and then acquire another pick.

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Let's say trading the No. 13 pick nets the 49ers a first- and early second-round pick. Dealing the No. 31 pick would also come into play.

The 49ers drafted Deebo Samuel No. 36 overall in 2019. Samuel proved to be very productive in Shanahan’s system, catching 57 of his 81 targets for 802 yards. He ranked second on the team in receiving yards only behind First Team All-Pro tight end George Kittle. 

Shanahan's staff had an advantage in getting to know Samuel while at the Senior Bowl, but they have shown that a second-round receiver can become a key contributor. 

[RELATED: Buckner's exit could influence 49ers to trade down in draft]

Hall of Fame coach Jimmy Johnson's draft trade value chart lists the No. 31 pick as worth a mid-second-round pick and a high third-round pick or a high second-round pick and a mid-fourth-round pick, among other permutations. Trading both first-round picks could give the 49ers three additional picks in rounds where they currently have none.

The 49ers would end draft weekend with nine selections in this scenario, as opposed to their original six. They'd also have fresh, valuable talent at important positions on their roster.