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NFL Draft 2019: 49ers pick Jalen Hurd at No. 67 to pair with Deebo Samuel

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NFL Draft 2019: 49ers pick Jalen Hurd at No. 67 to pair with Deebo Samuel

The 49ers addressed their defensive line and receiving corps with their first two picks of the 2019 NFL Draft.

With its third selection, San Francisco continued to bolster its passing attack with another physical, hard-charging wide receiver.

The 49ers selected Baylor's Jalen Hurd with the No. 67 overall pick of the draft Friday, the third pick of the third round.

[RELATED: 49ers players, coach excited to add Samuel to receiving corps]

The pick was announced by former 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens.

Here's the full breakdown on Hurd:

Jalen Hurd

Position: Wide receiver
College: Baylor
Height: 6-5
Weight: 226
Selection: Third round (No. 67 overall)  

Scouting report

Hurd began his career at Tennessee as a running back. He led Tennessee in rushing as a true freshman, gaining 899 yards and five touchdowns on 190 rushing attempts. He was second-team All-SEC as a sophomore after gaining 1,288 yards and 12 touchdowns.

As a junior, he asked to switch positions to receiver to endure less punishment on his body. He ended up transferring to Baylor, where last season he caught 69 passes for 946 yards and four touchdowns.

“He's still learning the nuances of the position, but he has outstanding traits, a great work ethic and an ability to get much better very quickly,” analyst Lance Zierlein wrote in his scouting report on NFL.com. “While Hurd will be an NFL receiver, he offers a unique option of becoming a short-yardage banger near the goal line. His best days are in front of him.”

He has vast potential to improve as a route-runner because he is so new to the position.  

Projected role

Hurd provides 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo with a big target in the red zone. The 49ers struggled mightily in the red zone, and Hurd gives them a basketball player’s body to win on contested passes. But coach Kyle Shanahan likes Hurd because of the potential he sees as a route-runner to be a legitimate threat anywhere on the field.

In fact, Shanahan sees Hurd as more than just a wide receiver. Hurd can line up in the backfield or just about anywhere in the formation. The 49ers want Hurd to get to his ideal playing weight, and Shanahan will find places to use him in the offense.

The addition of Hurd, along with second-round pick Deebo Samuel, means it is going to be strong competition to earn a roster spot. Hurd and Samuel join a wide receiver group that also includes Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor, Jordan Matthews and Richie James.    

What they’re saying

“He can do about everything. I think if he’d stayed at running back, I think he would’ve gotten drafted an as NFL running back. Today, he got drafted as a receiver, kind of. I believe if he tried to play tight end, he would’ve gotten drafted as an NFL tight end. That’s a pretty unique thing to have. I don’t know that I can say that about any player I’ve studied before” – 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan on Hurd's versatility.

“When you do have a certain size to you and you have very good hands, you don’t have to be as open as other people are. But we like people who can do both. He’s played wide receiver for one year. He has the ability to continue to get more separation skills. But he can cut, and especially with his size and hands, he’s good enough to go out there and beat nickel backs and corners” – Shanahan on Hurd's room to improve his receiver skills.

“I think it’s the details in route-running, my hand. I had some huge drops last season, but not too many. Hands are pretty much there. I think my biggest thing is route-running and the details in the route in the 49ers offense” -- Hurd on what he needs to improve on as a receiver.

“These were the targets, and it worked out so we’re extremely excited about that," -- 49ers GM John Lynch on adding Samuel and Hurd in the second and third rounds.

49ers' pass rush returns to 'fun' style of play vs. Drew Brees, Saints

49ers' pass rush returns to 'fun' style of play vs. Drew Brees, Saints

NEW ORLEANS – The 49ers’ pass rush can once again be a factor this week.

The 49ers went into their Week 13 game against the Baltimore Ravens knowing they had to make some dramatic changes with their style of getting after the quarterback.

After all, they could not be so aggressive, as 49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek teaches, because of the running ability of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.

On Sunday, they can get back to normal against the passing attack of the New Orleans Saints with quarterback Drew Brees.

“Those guys want to get after the quarterback,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “I know the D-line. I know their coach. It was a tough week for them. But they rose to the challenge and played those techniques very well. I thought they did a very good job against Baltimore and stopping the run.

“And now this week, you still got to stop the run. It always starts with that, but you can play a little more of those techniques you’re used to, which I know they have a lot more fun playing and I know we have a lot more fun coaching it, too.”

It certainly will not be easy for the 49ers’ pass rush to get to Brees, who has been sacked just nine times on 249 drop-backs this season. Brees gets the ball out quickly, in order to neutralize the 49ers’ pass rush of Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner and Dee Ford.

A week ago, the 49ers played a different style in an attempt to prevent big plays from Baltimore’s quarterback-driven run game. Buckner registered the team’s only sack, and that came for zero yards.

The 49ers gave up some rushing yards, but made adjustments in the second half to limit Baltimore to just three points in the final 30 minutes.

[RELATED: How will 49ers deploy running backs?]

“When you do that, you definitely have to change-up your fronts and play run-first at all times,” Shanahan said. “You got to almost play in a four-point stance and just control people instead of teeing off on guys and trying to go through them. I know last week was a frustrating week.”

The 49ers own the league's top-ranked passing defense, allowing just 134.2 yards passing per game. The 49ers rank second in the NFL with 45 sacks.

49ers Mailbag: How will Kyle Shanahan deploy running backs vs. Saints?

49ers Mailbag: How will Kyle Shanahan deploy running backs vs. Saints?

NEW ORLEANS – It’s a good problem for the 49ers to figure out who among their running backs they are going to feature.

Leading rusher Matt Breida is scheduled to return to action on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints after missing three games with an ankle sprain. Raheem Mostert is coming off a 146-yard day, the best game from a 49ers running back in three years. But what kind of role will he play on Sunday?

That question leads off this edition of the 49ers Mailbag:

Coach Kyle Shanahan and his staff put a lot of discussion into how they are going to use their backs. Shanahan talks to his entire offensive staff, as well as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, about which plays are best fits for which players.

Then, Shanahan’s in-game decisions are also influenced by which running back is having the most success.

“None of them are bad at anything, so whatever we end up going with, all of them have a chance, whatever play it is,” Shanahan said on 49ers Game Plan, which airs Saturday at 7 p.m. on NBC Bay Area and 9 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area.

“We definitely try to decide which one we prefer during the week. We go into the game with a plan, but then we always stick with what’s hot.”

Tevin Coleman has been getting the starting assignments. It remains to be seen if that will continue, but Breida and Mostert should get their opportunities, too. 

I don’t know about using Daniel Brunskill for any trick plays, but it might not be a bad idea to mix him in for a series here and there to ease Joe Staley back into the action.

Staley has missed nine games this season, and Brunskill has shown to be a very effective player. It could be something along the lines of how the 49ers got Ahkello Witherspoon back into his starting role. At first, they had Witherspoon and Emmanuel Moseley sharing the playing time before Witherspoon was all the way back.

Richard Sherman will play despite hobbled last week with a knee injury. He appeared to be moving well during 49ers practices this week in Florida.

The only 49ers starter who will not play on Sunday is strong safety Jaquiski Tartt, who may miss multiple games with fractured ribs. Marcell Harris will start at strong safety. But everybody else is good to go, including Breida, Staley and Dee Ford.

My hunch is that if the 49ers do not place the franchise tag on Arik Armstead, he will end up signing a lucrative multi-year contract with another team as an unrestricted free agent. The 49ers' top priorities to sign to multi-year extensions are defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and tight end George Kittle.

[RELATED: Kittle on pace for best PFF season]

Neither Jalen Hurd nor Trent Taylor will play this season. Hurd will miss his entire rookie season due to a stress reaction in his back, while Taylor is out for the season from complications after undergoing surgery on a Jones fracture in his right foot.

The 49ers elevated defensive lineman Kentavius Street to practice this week. The 49ers might use their final injured reserve/designated to return spot on cornerback Jason Verrett, who has been out with a knee injury. He could return to practice as early as Wednesday.

The odds are very slim that Marquise Goodwin will be back on the team next season. He is scheduled to make $4.5 million in salary and bonuses in 2020, and that is not a price the 49ers are going to pay for what he gives them.

The 49ers are not giving up on Dante Pettis, though. They want him to put in the work during the offseason to have a big bounce-back season.

Pettis experienced the same kind of second season as Ahkello Witherspoon. Both players experienced success to ends their rookie seasons and thought they had it figured out.

[RELATED: How to watch 49ers-Saints]

Witherspoon struggled in Year 2, and realized what he had to do in order to perform at a high level. He came back focused for a strong third season.

The 49ers hope Pettis will make the same kinds of adjustments to his work ethic and mindset to become a reliable receiver in 2020.