49ers

Kyle Shanahan identifies what's more important than 49ers' draft slot

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USATSI

Kyle Shanahan identifies what's more important than 49ers' draft slot

SANTA CLARA – When Jimmy Garoppolo took over as the 49ers’ starting quarterback on Dec. 3, the 49ers were in the conversation for the NFL's No. 1 overall draft pick.

But in the month of December, the 49ers got hot. And their possible No. 2 overall draft selection began to slide. The 49ers won their final five games to finish with a 6-10 record.

During the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis next month, the 49ers and Raiders will take part in a coin flip to determine which teams select Nos. 9 and 10 in the first round. The tie-breaker to determine draft slot is strength of schedule. The 49ers and Raiders had identical strength of schedules of .512.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said on the 49ers Insider Podcast that he has no regrets about all the winning that occurred down the stretch – long after the 49ers had been eliminated from playoff contention.

“I think the way it’s ended has been extremely important for us,” Shanahan said. “You never know until you get into that situation. I know that’s the dilemma every year. Everybody wants to win and then right after you do (win), everyone (says), ‘Well, you just cost yourself a draft choice’ and things like that.

“You never know until you get in it. Well, I was in it this year and there’s not any doubt in my mind that after each win we feel that’s a lot more important for this organization and what we’re doing here than whether we’re picking No. 2, 5 or 11.

“To me, what’s important is our team learning how to win; how to play together; how to care for each other; how to fight; how to play every single play, whether it’s the first play or the last play, all the same.”

The organization appears set up well for the future, in large part because of the improvement that was shown after the midseason trade to land Garoppolo. The 49ers’ offense finished the season ranked No. 12 in the NFL in total offensive yards.

The team does not have to execute an offseason plan to acquire a quarterback. And the club is expected to have more than $100 million in space under the salary cap, as well as nine draft picks, to enable general manager John Lynch plenty of options to improve the roster.

“We’re going to add free agents. We’re going to add draft picks,” Shanahan said. “We expect them to be good people and good players, and hopefully we can get them to be part of what we established this year.”

Greg Cosell singles out 49ers player he believes is poised for a breakout season

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AP

Greg Cosell singles out 49ers player he believes is poised for a breakout season

With the 146th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers selected...

George Kittle.

The tight end from Iowa had a solid rookie season -- racking up 43 catches for 515 yards and two touchdowns.

On the latest episode of the 49ers Insider Podcast with Matt Maiocco, Greg Cosell of NFL Films was talking about Kyle Shanahan and Rams head coach Sean McVay. And then unsolicited, pivoted the conversation to Kittle.

"You know, I think one player we should mention who I really liked coming out of college -- and I know he fought some injuries last year but I think that he has a chance to be a really meaningul part of this offense -- and that's George Kittle," Cosell said. "I think George Kittle is a really good tight end who can do a lot of things.

"He can line up and be a really good blocking tight end -- and obviously we know that Kyle's offense does start with the run game. I think he's more athletic than people probably give him credit for.

"I remember studying him coming out of Iowa and looking at some of his Combine measureables -- some were superior to those of OJ Howard from Alabama, and I think people would be surprised by that.

"In this offense he might not catch 80 balls, but he might average 14-15 yards a catch, and for a tight end that's pretty darn good."

Kittle had his best game in the season finale -- four catches for 100 yards at the Rams.

Why Greg Cosell believes Jimmy Garoppolo needs work on his 'quarterback feet'

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USATSI

Why Greg Cosell believes Jimmy Garoppolo needs work on his 'quarterback feet'

Greg Cosell, a senior producer at NFL Films, believes 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo “has a chance to be a top-level quarterback.” But there remains room for improvement from the player the 49ers awarded a franchise-record contract in the offseason.

Garoppolo has a quick release and can throw at a number of different arm angles to avoid oncoming pass-rushers. And while his accuracy underneath was unquestioned during his 5-0 run as the 49ers’ starter last season, most of the time, his deep throws did not reach the target.

Garoppolo completed just 4 of 16 attempts to targets 20 yards or more down the field last season for 134 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions, according to Pro Football Focus.

[RELATED: Greg Cosell: Kyle Shanahan does one thing 'better than any coach in the NFL']

During the offseason program, Garoppolo appeared to struggle on his deep throws, too. Cosell, a guest on the 49ers Insider Podcast, spoke about Garoppolo’s mechanics.

“Because he has very quick feet, I think people just assume he has great feet all the time when he delivers the ball,” Cosell said. “There’s a difference between having quick, athletic feet and having really good quarterback feet. And I think he needs to work on the quarterback feet part.

“I think guys who have that kind of snap delivery, sometimes they don’t step exactly to their throw and they throw a little bit off-balance, and that could really impact your accuracy to a significant degree. So my guess is those are the kinds of things they’ve worked on. Those are tweaks. I don’t think it will prevent him from being a really good player.”

Garoppolo appeared in six games with five starts last season after the 49ers acquired him for a second-round draft pick in a trade with the New England Patriots. Garoppolo completed 120 of 178 pass attempts (67.4 percent) for 1,580 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions.

Cosell said it is important for all quarterbacks to use consistent mechanics when making throws from a clean pocket.

“Think of a major league pitcher,” Cosell said. “They theoretically should throw the ball the same way every time. So should a quarterback unless the defense dictates otherwise. If the defense doesn’t dictate otherwise, the throws should look the same.”