NFL Draft 2019: 49ers do not shy away from players with injury history

NFL Draft 2019: 49ers do not shy away from players with injury history

One of the first moves of the 49ers’ offseason was to restructure the way the organization deals with injuries and rehabilitation.

But the organization is certainly not shying away from players with histories of injuries or those who are currently attempting to return from conditions that kept them off the field last season.

After re-signing defensive back Jimmie Ward and going out to get linebacker Kwon Alexander (ACL) and cornerback Jason Verrett (Achilles) as free agents, the 49ers’ eight-player draft class consists largely of players who missed significant time in their college careers due to physical conditions.

The 49ers selected players who, general manager John Lynch pointed out, play hard and are physical. The 49ers' top three selections were Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa, South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel and Tennessee running back-turned-Baylor wide receiver Jalen Hurd.

“(They are) just very physical football players,” Lynch said. “So the brand of football they play sometimes will lend to that. But we are going to work with them to try to keep them all healthy, and we really like those guys we got.”

[RELATED: What scouts say about the 49ers' draft class]

First round, DE Nick Bosa

His senior year of high school was cut short due to an ACL injury. Then, when he appeared to be on his way to a monster junior year at Ohio State, Bosa went down in the third game with a bilateral core muscle injury.

He underwent season-ending surgery on his groin-lower abdomen area, and is now fully recovered. Bosa went through all the workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“This is one of the injuries that once you get it fixed, it’s pretty guaranteed to be good,” Bosa said in February.

Second round, WR Deebo Samuel

The hard-charging wide receiver missed time his first two seasons of college football with significant hamstring injuries.

As a junior, he sustained a season-ending fractured left lower leg in the third game of the season. He rebounded from that injury with a strong senior year.

Third round, WR Jalen Hurd

Hurd, who stands 6-foot-4 ¾, got beat up in his first three college seasons as a running back at Tennessee.

Having already undergone two shoulder surgeries, Hurd was playing through an ankle injury as a junior when he sustained a concussion. He sat out the final four games of that season before transferring to Baylor and switching positions.

Hurd underwent knee surgery in December to repair torn meniscus cartilage. It’s unclear whether he will participate in the team’s rookie minicamp practices Friday through the weekend.

“We’ve got good medicals on them,” Lynch said of the reports he received from the team’s medical staff on Samuel and Hurd.

Fifth round, LB Dre Greenlaw

Greenlaw missed three games as a senior due to a right ankle injury. He said he willed himself to play in his final Arkansas home game after missing time leading up to that point.

“I could have broke my foot and I still would have been playing,” Greenlaw told the media. “Being a Razorback means that much to me and being out there with my teammates that have been here trying to get this win. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.”

Greenlaw sat out six games as a sophomore in 2016 after undergoing foot surgery.

Sixth round, TE Kaden Smith

Smith was unavailable for the final three games of his Stanford career due to a foot injury. After turning pro, he ran the second-slowest 40-yard dash time among the tight ends at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Sixth round, CB Tim Harris

His career at Virginia began in 2013. He saw action in six different seasons of college football, receiving medical redshirts for the 2016 and ’17 seasons. He dealt with shoulder issues in 2015 and ’16, then sustained a fractured wrist in his first game of 2017.

“When you're that talented and you're in the sixth round, there's something there as to why everyone is not drafting him,” Lynch said, referring to Harris’ extensive history of injuries.

“But at some point you have to trust your medical staff that we're comfortable with where he's at, and we were comfortable with where he's at and where we were at in the draft.”

The other two members of the 49ers' draft class are Utah punter Mitch Wishnowsky, 27, who stopped playing Australian Rules Football at 18 due to shoulder injuries, and Vanderbilt tackle Justin Skule, who ended his college career with a streak of 40 consecutive starts.

49ers' Raheem Mostert sets goal to prove he's 'a bad mo-fo' this season

49ers' Raheem Mostert sets goal to prove he's 'a bad mo-fo' this season

Raheem Mostert, a player who has zero starts in his 50-game NFL career, has no problem referring to himself as a starting running back.

Actually, he proved to be more of a finisher last season.

Mostert finished the regular season as the 49ers' leading rusher. And as he enters his third training camp with the 49ers, he said he has one simple goal.

“When I step onto that field,” Mostert said, “I want everybody to say, ‘That’s a bad mo-fo.’”

Everybody was saying that in January, when Mostert produced the mother of all games in the NFC Championship Game. He had the biggest day from a running back in franchise history when he gained 220 yards with four touchdowns in the 49ers’ victory over the Green Bay Packers to send the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

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

Mostert saw NFL regular-season action with four different teams before finishing the 2016 season with the 49ers. In his first three years, he had a total of eight rushing attempts. He finally earned a chance in 2018 and gained 261 yards on 34 attempts.

Last season, he broke out from being considered solely a special-teams ace. Mostert gained a team-leading 772 yards and eight touchdowns on 137 attempts.

In the offseason, he worked on getting his body prepared for the rigors of an increased workload by improving his strength and body mass. Mostert figures to be the headliner of a group of running backs that includes Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson.

“I've got to prepare myself because I am the starting running back,” said Mostert, who agreed to a reworked contract that added incentives to his deal to pay him accordingly if he again leads the team in rushing.

Mostert later clarified that he projects himself as a starter just as 49ers running backs coach Bobby Turner believes the team’s depth chart at running back is full of starting-caliber players.

[RELATED49ers' Raheem Mostert explains tough decision to play 2020 NFL season]

But, actually, Mostert’s next starting assignment will be his first. He said he is not too concerned whether he is on the field for the first snap of the game.

“Truthfully, it doesn’t make any difference,” Mostert said. “I got to have that mindset that I am the starter, but when it comes down to it, we have five, six different starters in our room.

“I do feel I’m the starter. (That’s) no dig to anyone in the room. We’re all brothers and that’s our approach.”

Seahawks claim D.J. Reed day after 49ers waived injured defensive back

Seahawks claim D.J. Reed day after 49ers waived injured defensive back

The 49ers took a gamble Tuesday when the club placed defensive back D.J. Reed on waivers.

One day later, the Seattle Seahawks pounced.

The Seahawks claimed Reed off waivers. He goes on the active/non-football injury list due to a torn pectoral sustained during an offseason workout.

General manager John Lynch said this week the decision was made to effectively end Reed’s season with the 49ers because the club anticipated his return no earlier than November. Lynch said the team did not want to devote a roster spot to a player who might not be available to play until December.

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

While Reed currently counts against the Seahawks’ roster, he will open the season on reserve/non-football injury. He will be ineligible for the first six weeks of the season, but could return to contribute later in the season.

Reed, a Bakersfield native who attended college at Kansas, was a fifth-round draft pick of the 49ers in 2018.

He appeared in 31 regular-season games and all three postseason games during his time with the club. He started two games as a rookie and is capable of playing cornerback, nickel back and safety.

[RELATEDMostert explains tough decision to play 2020 NFL season]

After registering 41 tackles and a sack as a rookie, Reed saw limited action last season with 13 tackles. He was one of the team's core special-teams players. Reed scored a touchdown on a 5-yard fumble return on kickoff coverage after a botched lateral on the final play of the 49ers’ 36-26 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 17.

Reed becomes the fourth former 49ers player on the Seahawks, joining running back Carlos Hyde, guard Mike Iupati and fullback Nick Bellore.