49ers

NFL draft 2019: Ex-49ers GM warns against picking Kyler Murray No. 1

NFL draft 2019: Ex-49ers GM warns against picking Kyler Murray No. 1

The Arizona Cardinals hold the No. 1 overall pick in next week’s 2019 NFL Draft, and there’s plenty of speculation they'll select reigning Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray.

Back in 2005, the 49ers were in the same position, holding the first overall pick, with an obvious need for a quarterback. San Francisco's general manager at the time, Scot McCloughan, decided to use the selection on Alex Smith, and he has an opinion on the Cardinals' current situation.

In speaking to Sports Illustrated's Robert Klemko, McCloughan had major concerns with making Murray the top pick in the 2019 draft, because of what he sees as a critical character flaw.

"To be a legit NFL quarterback, you’ve got to have leadership qualities,” McCloughan said. “Watching Kyler do an interview, it’s like, C’mon, guy, what do you got? Give me something. I’m sure they’re trying to train him up, but ... he’s just not a go-getter. Doesn’t mean he can’t be a good QB. Just means he’s not gonna be the guy in the locker room."

[RELATED: Kyler's football-over-baseball decision gives NFL what it needs]

McCloughan assisted the Browns in the lead-up to their selection of quarterback Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft, and that seems to have worked out nicely for Cleveland.

Of course, McCloughan also was the man who opted to select Smith with the first overall pick instead of eventual Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, so maybe he should keep his quarterback evaluations to himself.

49ers considered Jimmie Ward's injury history with one-year contract

49ers considered Jimmie Ward's injury history with one-year contract

The 49ers carefully considered the risks.

And, ultimately, they came up with a one-year, prove-it contract offer that led to versatile and hard-charging defensive back Jimmie Ward remaining with the 49ers for the start of his sixth NFL season.

“It’s not an easy answer, because there’s a long (injury) history,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. “But there’s also a very, very talented football player who I would tell you grew into a really special leader.”

Said coach Kyle Shanahan, “I love Jimmie Ward. . . . We all know he’s struggled a little bit to stay healthy. But he’s a guy, as a person, I’ll go to war with every day. I really trust and believe in, and I love him as a player, too.”

Ward missed 29 games through his first five seasons in the league.

Ward sustained a fractured collarbone while diving for a ball in a non-padded practice during organized team activities on Thursday in Santa Clara. He will undergo surgery, and the 49ers expect him to be out of action for eight to 12 weeks.

Eight weeks would place Ward as healthy a full week before the start of training camp. With a 12-week recovery (Aug. 16), the 49ers will have played one exhibition game with the second game coming up on Monday, Aug. 19, against the Denver Broncos.

Ward has now sustained broken bones in five of his six NFL seasons. The first four fractures came during the regular season and landed him on season-ending injured reserve lists.

Here is the rundown of Ward’s injury history since completing his college career at Northern Illinois:

2014

When Ward showed up at the combine, he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right foot and was not allowed to take part in any on-field testing. The injury came as a surprise to Ward, who had not experienced any pain. He felt healthy enough to run several weeks later at this pro day, where he was timed at 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

Ward underwent surgery in March to repair the Jones fracture in the fifth metatarsal of his foot, and the 49ers drafted him with the No. 30 overall pick in the draft.

He did not take part in the offseason program as a rookie, but he appeared in each of the team's exhibition games that summer.

Ward was not active for the Week 7 game against Denver due to a quadriceps injury.

In Week 10, while making a tackle against New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham, the screw bent from his March surgery in his right foot and fifth metatarsal broke again. He finished the game, but a new, larger screw had to be inserted. He was placed on injured reserve.

Games missed: 8

2015

Ward appeared on the injury report just once all season. He was listed as probable for the 49ers’ Week 15 game against Cincinnati with an elbow condition, and he played well. As the team’s nickel back, he had six tackles, a sack, two tackles for losses, and a pass defensed.

Games missed: 0

2016

Ward sustained a non-contact left quadriceps injury in Week 3 while running down the field to cover a kickoff against Seattle. He missed three games due to the injury.

In Week 11, Ward was diagnosed with a concussion, but he returned to play the following week against Miami.

In Week 15, Ward sustained a fractured right collarbone when he landed hard upon tackling Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Aldrick Robinson down the field. He was placed on injured reserve.

Games missed: 5

2017

Ward sustained a left hamstring injury in the conditioning test at the start of training camp in late-July. In late-August, he was activated off the physically-unable-to-perform list. He did not play in the preseason, and he sat out the season opener against Carolina.

While playing free safety, he fractured his left forearm in Week 8 while tackling Philadelphia tight end Trey Burton. He was placed on season-ending injured reserve.

Games missed: 9

2018

Ward missed extended time in the 49ers’ offseason program due to an ankle injury. He was bothered by a hamstring injury during training camp and left the team’s Week 3 exhibition game against Indianapolis after playing just two snaps on special teams

Ward, who was starting at cornerback, left the 49ers’ Week 6 game against Green Bay with a hamstring injury. He missed the following game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Upon moving to free safety, Ward sustained a fractured left forearm – but in a different place than a year earlier – while tackling Tampa Bay’s 225-pound running back Peyton Barber in Week 12.

The 49ers had evaluated Ward as playing better than anyone in their secondary at the time of the injury.

After the game, Ward said his injuries can be attributed to how hard he plays.

“I play physical,” Ward said. “I don’t know no other way but to play. When I’m at corner, I’m physical. Nickel, physical. Safety, physical. I’m just a tough bird.

“When it happens, it happens. I’ve been here before. I’m just going to grind and get back.”

He was placed on season-ending injured reserve.

Games missed: 7

2019

The 49ers re-signed Ward to a guaranteed one-year, $3 million contract in March. He can earn an additional $1.5 million in per-game roster bonuses.

[RELATED: Bosa to miss a few weeks of practice with hamstring injury]

The club expects Ward, if healthy, to start at free safety this season. And it was clear during an open practice on Tuesday, that his style of play is every bit as aggressive as ever. While covering rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel, Ward got physical and flung Samuel to the ground in a drill designed to be non-contact.

Ward sustained a fractured collarbone in the team’s next practice. Adrian Colbert will take over as the 49ers' first-team free safety for the remainder of the offseason program, which concludes June 13.

How 49ers' Mike McGlinchey is taking advantage of second NFL offseason

How 49ers' Mike McGlinchey is taking advantage of second NFL offseason

SANTA CLARA — 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey had a solid rookie season in 2018 but he knows his work is cut out for him to improve in his sophomore year.  

A lot of players talk about how much more focused they can be heading into Year 2. They don’t have to work on pre-draft preparation and they have survived a year in the system. 

McGlinchey is happy to finally be able to focus his game and benefit from his offseason training program. 

“One is overall strength,” McGlinchey said. “I think last year being a rookie and having all of those rookie obligations and stuff in the spring, you don’t really get to focus on being a traditional offensive lineman. 

“You have so many different things, and hats to juggle so it was nice to be able to put 15 pounds back on. I feel myself being stronger in these first two days.”  

Not having to train for the 40-yard dash and bench press test allows players to re-focus on position specific training. McGlinchey said having spent a season in the system can now allow him to focus more on the technical things. 

“I think it’s been huge,” McGlinchey said. “Just taking a whole offseason and the experience I had from last season, re-watching the film from all the games last year. 

“Coming into a situation where you have a full grasp of what’s going on with the offense and what’s being told to you, and how you’re being coached and calls that need to be made when the defense is in front of you. Having a whole year under your belt doing that makes things a lot easier, hit the ground running day one.” 

McGlinchey spoke about the benefits of practicing against edge rusher Dee Ford as well as what he needs to improve on his own. 

“I think I just need to play more consistent football. I think throughout the year I showed for the most part that I played pretty good ball, but there were times when I let things go away, slip away. I got to finish the season better than I did last year," McGlinchey said.

[RELATED: Thomas ready for 49ers to show off new dominant D-line]

When asked for specifics, it's all about the little things in football. 

“Consistent foot work and timing and training your eyes and body where they need to hit and when they need to hit, and constantly working to be in the best position of leverage and hit every block,” McGlinchey said. “I think I got a little behind in my foot work late in the year in the run game, and in pass pro I think I improved a lot, but it’s about being more physical in pass pro to be the controller.”