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


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.

NFL Draft 2020: How agents are dealing with many coronavirus obstacles

NFL Draft 2020: How agents are dealing with many coronavirus obstacles

The 2020 NFL Draft might favor players who were able to able to attend the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine, due to pro days and in-person meetings being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. But some agents believe teams have all the information they need to proceed on schedule. 

Leigh Steinberg and Chris Cabott, from Steinberg Sports and Entertainment, spoke to NBC Sports Bay Area about how their preparation for the draft has been consistent to what they’ve done in the past. Their agency represents Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, among other draft hopefuls. 

Both long-time agents believe that players who attended an All-Star event or the combine have an advantage, but that always has been the case. As in every draft, there will be players that exceed expectations and those that don’t live up to them. 

“When I first started in the industry in 1975 with Steve Bartkowski, there were no pro days, no team meetings, no combine,” Steinberg said. “If you look at statistics from players then, to those selected in 2005, the players in 1975 were more successful and productive. 

“Teams obviously believe that the more information they have, the better, but at some point it’s enough. I believe they have enough information to make educated and prudent choices.”

Brett Tessler, who represents 49ers running back Raheem Mostert, believes players who weren’t able to attend or weren’t invited to the combine are at a disadvantage across the board. An off the radar player won’t have the chance to catch a scout or coach’s eye at a local pro day and jump up a team’s draft board. 

“For most non-combine guys, it's going to put everybody at an equal disadvantage,” Tessler told NBC Sports Bay Area. “Teams will rely more on the spring testing numbers that they got prior to this season.

“But, the biggest disadvantage for non-combine guys trying to get drafted is the lack of being brought in for pre-draft visits where the medical staffs can do all the background work on these guys that they need to do.”

Just like everyone across the nation, players, agents and teams are taking advantage of video conferencing technology like Zoom and Skype for their 30 one-on-one pre-draft visits. This actually might be the one advantage for players who have grown up with video calls as the norm. 

[RELATED: Why Kentucky's Bowden is intriguing for Shanahan, 49ers]

As in the past, teams still have the ability to ask players schematic questions using a virtual chalkboard, and go over game film during video conferencing sessions. Cabott believes that this year, there also is one resource that could be more important than in previous pre-draft research. 

“Trainers,” Cabott said. “Those guys who were working with players, getting them ready for pro days will have information that will be important for teams. They can give projections, send videos of testing and have insight to a player’s work ethic.” 

NFL Draft 2020: Why Kentucky's Lynn Bowden could fit 49ers' offense

NFL Draft 2020: Why Kentucky's Lynn Bowden could fit 49ers' offense

When John Lynch assured 49ers fans that he and the rest of the front office still will be as prepared as ever for the 2020 NFL Draft despite the coronavirus pandemic, he did so in a video where he, of course, was grinding tape in the background. Lynch very might have been scouting the next offensive weapon for coach Kyle Shanahan.

It appears in the video that Lynch was watching tape of a University of Kentucky game. The Wildcats just so happened to have a do-it-all player who can be unleashed in Shanahan's offense. Lynn Bowden is the modern-day prospect every team is trying to get their hands on. 

The draft remains scheduled to begin on April 23, but the usual pre-draft meetings between teams and players have been wiped out due to the coronavirus. Well, kind of. 

Thanks to the power of technology, the 49ers still can meet with prospects and get to know them as more than just a player on film. The front office already had two FaceTime visits with Michigan State defensive lineman Kenny Willekes and TCU offensive lineman Cordel Iwuagwu, the prospects told Justin Melo of The Draft Wire. The Athletic's Matt Barrows reported Saturday that Bowden, who played quarterback and receiver at Kentucky, is on San Francisco's list of virtual interviews.

In Shanahan's first three seasons coaching the 49ers, he only has used two players other than quarterbacks to attempt a pass. Both came last season when Shanahan's complex offense truly began to take shape. Receiver Dante Pettis completed a 16-yard pass to running back Raheem Mostert in a Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, and fellow receiver Emmanuel Sanders hit Mostert with a 35-yard touchdown pass in a wild 48-46 Week 14 win against the New Orleans Saints. 

Now, just imagine if Shanahan had someone like Bowden. 

While Clemson's Isaiah Simmons can be labeled simply as "defense" for his versatility, Bowden should have OW next to his name for "offensive weapon." He was a receiver his first two-and-a-half years at Kentucky and had 745 receiving yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore. Then last season as a junior, he was asked to be the team's quarterback in their final eight games and dominated as a dual-threat QB. 

Bowden earned the Paul Hornung Award as the nation's most outstanding all-purpose player, as well as first-team Associated Press All-American all-purpose recognition. He rushed for 1,468 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, had 403 passing yards and three more scores and still led Kentucky in receiving yards with 348. To add the cherry on top, Bowden even helped returning punts and kickoffs. 

And with the ball in his hands, he's explosive.

At 5-foot-11 and 204 pounds, Bowden has speed, strength and great balance. He immediately can step in as the 49ers' version of a younger Taysom Hill. 

More importantly, Bowden fits in seamlessly to Shanahan's motion offense. Shanahan loves to use deception with play-action and multiple moving parts. This helped unleash Deebo Samuel as a ball-carrier throughout his rookie year. 

Shanahan can use Bowden on jet sweeps, reverses, play-action passes and even a wide receiver pass here and there. He's the perfect Swiss Army knife as football becomes more and more positionless. 

[RELATED: Should 49ers approach NFL draft as if Staley will not return?]

After their two first-round picks, the 49ers are back on the board twice in the fifth round, twice in the sixth and once in the seventh. Bowden likely will be available in the later rounds and easily can turn into a steal.

Whether it be as a receiver, ball-carrier, Wildcat QB or returner, the possibilities are endless with Bowden as a 49er in Shanahan's offense.