49ers

Lynch explains 49ers additions of McKinnon, Richburg

Lynch explains 49ers additions of McKinnon, Richburg

The 49ers on Wednesday announced the club has agreed to terms with running back Jerick McKinnon and center-guard Weston Richburg.

McKinnon will sign a four-year contract, while Richburg comes to the team on a five-year deal.

“Jerick and Weston were both at the top of our priority list heading into free agency, and being able to lock them in quickly was important to us,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement.

“Both men embody the 49ers spirit and check almost all the boxes on the list of characteristics we look for in a player. Most importantly, they are passionate about the game, have a desire to be great and are dedicated to doing what’s necessary to win in this league.”

McKinnon (5-9, 205) played his first four NFL seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. McKinnon appeared in 58 games with 14 starts. He had 474 rushing attempts for 1,918 yards and seven touchdowns. McKinnon also caught 142 passes for 984 yards and five touchdowns. He appeared in three playoff games games and carried 20 times for 81 yards and one touchdown, while catching 17 passes for 114 yards.

Richburg (6-4, 300) was a second-round draft pick of the New York Giants in 2014. He appeared in 51 regular season games with 50 starts, as well as one start in the postseason. Richburg made 15 starts at left guard as a rookie. Every start since his rookie season was at center.

“We see Weston as one of the top young interior offensive linemen in the NFL,” Lynch said. “His athleticism, intelligence and attitude are a perfect fit for our scheme. Jerick has proven to be an extremely versatile football player whose speed, elusiveness and tackle-breaking ability make him a very difficult matchup for defenses. We can’t wait to get them on the field with their teammates and coaches later this spring.”

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo could be 'next Mahomes,' AFC executive says

mahomesgaroppolofansap.jpg
AP

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo could be 'next Mahomes,' AFC executive says

When John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan traded for Jimmy Garoppolo 18 months ago, he was the darling of the NFL. Much was expected of the quarterback when he came to Santa Clara, and he delivered by leading the 49ers to a 5-0 record to finish the 2017 season.

But a torn ACL in Week 3 of the 2018 season put Jimmy G on the backburner.

That allowed second-year Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to step up and take the league by storm. The former first-round draft pick led Kansas City to the No. 1 seed in the AFC and took them to the AFC Championship game, where they lost to the New England Patriots, and he later was voted 2018 NFL MVP.

So, who could be the next player to have a breakout season like Mahomes?

Apparently, it's Garoppolo.

"He's got the best chance to be the next Mahomes," an unnamed AFC team executive recently told Bleacher Report.

[RELATED: Garoppolo raves over player performance staff]

Garoppolo is nearing the end of his rehab process, and Shanahan expects the 27-year-old quarterback to be ready for training camp in July.

The 49ers had high hopes for the 2018 season, and Garoppolo's ACL injury caused those hopes to come crashing down. Now, with a revamped defense and more help coming through the draft, expectations again are high in Santa Clara. A big season from Garoppolo would go a long way to helping the 49ers achieve their goal of making a deep playoff run.

NFL draft: Who should 49ers target or avoid if they trade back from No. 2?

burnsusatsi.jpg
USATSI

NFL draft: Who should 49ers target or avoid if they trade back from No. 2?

So what happens if the Arizona Cardinals select Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa with the No. 1 overall pick?

Until the Cardinals actually announce their decision – as most have believed for a while – that Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray is their man, there remains a bit of intrigue. The 49ers must wait patiently at No. 2.

If Bosa goes No. 1, the 49ers would likely listen to offers to trade out of No. 2. That’s where things could get very interesting. And it opens up a lot more possibilities for the 49ers to consider with their first- and second-round draft picks.

Here are a couple of players the 49ers could consider if they trade back from No. 2 – either with their first or second-round selection -- and a couple of highly rated players they should not be tempted to select:

Boom?

In a trade-back scenario, the 49ers could still get their edge rusher.

Florida State edge rusher Brian Burns has size, athleticism and room to get better. Just a shade below the first wave of edge rushers, Burns might end up topping them all. He played three seasons in college and finished with 10 sacks in 12 games last season before declaring for the draft.

At 6-foot-5, 249 pounds and with 4.53 speed, Burns would be used immediately as a nickel pass-rush specialist. That is fine. That is what the 49ers need, and eventually that role can expand.

Bust?

Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary should have been a dominant player in college. He was not. He has measurables off the charts, but not the production that should go along with it.

His skills and athleticism are freakish. But after three seasons of college football, he recorded a total – a total – of just 9.5 sacks. And, now, we’re supposed to believe that he is going to get 9.5 sacks a season while going up against better competition?

Gary has started his own sports agency. It seems like the best plan of attack would be to get established as a really good NFL player before devoting so much attention to marketing.

Boom?

Their new wide receivers coach was not there to work with him at the Senior Bowl, but South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel already showed what he can do in the 49ers’ offense.

Samuel has a trait that coach Kyle Shanahan likes in his wide receivers – the ability to get open. He is a very good route-runner, and he is tough. At 5-foot-11, 214 pounds, he might not have the size of some of the other receivers the 49ers might consider in the second round, but he has the ability to separate quickly.

Samuel would give the 49ers a nice tool in the red zone, where the club has struggled mightily the past two seasons.

[RELATED:  Jimmy G couldn't disappoint 49ers with eyes on him during rehab]

Bust?

The 49ers probably will not have the opportunity to pass on Ole Miss D.K. Metcalf in the second round, and that will be just fine for them.

Metcalf has otherworldly measurables. But Metcalf was far-and-away the second-best receiver on his college team. The 49ers should prefer A.J. Brown to Metcalf, who turned off more than a few people with the 49ers during their contentious meeting at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Metcalf is 6-3, 228 pounds. He ran a 4.33 at the combine. Yet, he put up pedestrian numbers in college – approximately half the production of Brown. Some team will take him in the middle of the first round, and that team will probably end up being disappointed.