49ers

NFL rumors: Full-squad minicamps could be held in mid- or late June

NFL rumors: Full-squad minicamps could be held in mid- or late June

The NFL is inching toward normalcy as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

That normalcy could first come in the form of fully operational minicamps which could be held in mid- or late June, Yahoo! Sports' Charles Robinson reported Tuesday.

A source told Robinson that NFL coaches could return to the team facilities as early as next week, and that if the COVID-19 data permits, players could follow for minicamps either on June 15 or June 27. But at least one major hurdle still remains, with a league source telling Robinson that California Governor Gavin Newsom might be the one person standing in the way of a fully operational and on-time minicamp.

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Newsom has said that professional sports could potentially start to return to California without fans in early June if the trend lines hold. If Newsom were to give the go-ahead of minicamps without fans, then the NFL could be fully on schedule with minicamps before setting the dates for training camp.

“If California is open for [team] operations soon, minicamps can still happen in June — probably late June, I’d think — but maybe even mid-June,” the league source told Robinson.

The 49ers had been looking at possibly holding their training camp outside of California due to the state's ongoing lockdown. Newsom has said he doesn't "anticipate" normal NFL games returning to California this year, but it appears he's willing to give fan-less games a chance as long as the data says it's safe and the leagues have a plan to keep the players and employees safe.

[RELATED: Nine 49ers facing make-or-break season in 2020]

The shelter-in-place order and social distancing have helped to flatten the curve in California. As of Tuesday, the state had 94,558 confirmed cases and 3,795 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and state and local government reporting.

Sports will start to come back in the coming months and it could begin with 49ers minicamp in mid-to-late June. But only if the data and public health officials deem it to be a safe and prudent decision.

Watch 49ers' Javon Kinlaw replicate Aaron Donald knife training drill

Watch 49ers' Javon Kinlaw replicate Aaron Donald knife training drill

Javon Kinlaw isn't afraid of a few deadly weapons.

The 49ers rookie showed off a seemingly dangerous drill on social media Friday in a video posted by defensive line trainer Cam Spence.

You're correct, those are in fact a pair of knives being wielded and sent in Kinlaw's direction as he bats them away. We've seen a similar drill from two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.

[RELATED: Richard Sherman calls out report on 2020 NFL season negotiations]

Kinlaw was the 49ers' first selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, going No. 14 overall. The South Carolina product plugged up the middle for the Gamecocks' defense, picking up six sacks and recovering two fumbles. He likely will have an immediate chance to contribute, as All-Pro DeForest Buckner's departure to Indianapolis leaves a void in the 49ers' defensive line.

The rookie, along with a few returning players looking to earn a contract, will be imperative to make sure that void is filled in order for the 49ers to replicate the dominance the team enjoyed in 2019.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

49ers' Brandon Aiyuk sixth-best rookie receiver in Madden 21 ratings

49ers' Brandon Aiyuk sixth-best rookie receiver in Madden 21 ratings

The Brandon Aiyuk hype among 49ers fans has grown exponentially ever since he was drafted 25th overall in April.

The sixth receiver to come off the board in the 2020 NFL Draft, Aiyuk is expected to make an immediate impact with his elite breakaway speed, which he showcased numerous times during his two seasons at Arizona State.

But based on the just-released Madden 21 ratings, Aiyuk isn't even among the fastest wide receivers in his rookie class. In fact, he's just the sixth-best rookie wideout according to the video game's new ratings, checking in at 72 overall.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

The rookie receivers' overall ratings were almost identical to their draft positions, with the Denver Broncos' Jerry Jeudy and the Dallas Cowboys' CeeDee Lamb swapping places being the only alteration.

When it comes to speed, however, Aiyuk checks in as the 10th-fastest rookie wide receiver, behind a handful of players drafted well behind him.

[RELATED: George Kittle 'really proud' of team's offseason work, effort]

Aiyuk's 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine wasn't exactly elite (4.54 seconds), but during his senior season, he was tracked with a top in-game speed of 21.97 mph -- a mark bested by just three NFL players in 2019.

Game speed is different than track speed, and Aiyuk brings game speed in spades every time he takes the field.

Guessing those ratings might be adjusted once Aiyuk actually sees some on-field action in a 49ers uniform.