Nick Bosa was scouts' consensus pick, but 49ers' WR selections questioned

Nick Bosa was scouts' consensus pick, but 49ers' WR selections questioned

The 49ers’ selection of Nick Bosa at No. 2 overall was the move that most in the NFL scouting world expected and viewed as a sensible pick.

But after polling a number of NFL scouts and evaluators prior to the draft, long-time reporter Bob McGinn of BobMcGinnFootball.com labeled the 49ers’ choices of wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd, and punter Mitch Wishnowsky as “questionable.”

McGinn shared what scouts said about the team’s draft class on the 49ers Insider Podcast.

McGinn, who has been conducting pre-draft polling of NFL scouts for 35 years and was a Pro Football Hall of Fame honoree in 2011, said he asked 16 evaluators this year to rank their best pass rusher in the draft. Bosa received nine votes. Josh Allen of Kentucky (five) was the only other prospect receiving multiple votes.

McGinn said many scouts compared Nick Bosa favorably to his older brother, Joey, a Pro Bowl player with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Said one scout whom McGinn quoted in his pre-draft coverage, “They move alike but I think he’s more fluid than (Joey). The guy is tough, athletic, knows how to play and used his hands. I’m not sure what you wouldn’t like.”

Another scout told McGinn that he feels Nick Bosa is already at his ceiling because he is not a great athlete. For instance, Bosa ran 0.4 of a second slower than Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“I think he plays a lot faster, people have said that,” McGinn said. “And he knows how to bend. He knows how to rush. His hand use is way progressed for somebody his age and his experience level. I just think he’s going to find a way to get to the quarterback.”

The 49ers selected South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel with the No. 36 overall pick. Samuel was the third receiver chosen in the draft. Samuel was sixth in McGinn’s scout-based ranking of wideouts. The 49ers selected him ahead of D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown and Parris Campbell, each of whom ranked higher.

“The corners in this league are going to swallow him up outside,” one scout told McGinn of Samuel. “Has to be (a slot).”

McGinn added, “He’s a big, thick guy, so he should be able to release off press coverage with his power.”

After the 49ers selected Samuel, coach Kyle Shanahan responded to a question about whether Samuel (5-foot-11, 214 pounds) is solely a slot receiver.

“Playing on the outside, to me, has to do with being able to threaten guys on a go route and that has, to me, nothing to do with height,” Shanahan said. “That has to do with how explosive you are and how fast you are, and you can run by people. That allows you to play outside the numbers, so people have to back up and then you can run every other route.”

Samuel was also regarded as one of the top kick returners in the draft. He came back from a season-ending fractured fibula in 2017 to catch 62 passes for 882 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior.

“He had a bad injury a couple of years ago,” McGinn said. “The feeling also is that the longer he goes on from that, the better off he’ll be.”

Baylor receiver Jalen Hurd, who measured at 6-4 ¾, was down on the list of McGinn’s rankings. He said no evaluator even mentioned Hurd’s name until late in the process. McGinn said he moved Hurd up a little because a favorable opinion came that from a particular "excellent" scout meant that Hurd “was legit.”

Still, McGinn was a little skeptical of the 49ers going with receivers back-to-back in the second and third rounds.

“It wasn’t a great year for wide receivers,” McGinn said. “To take two in the first 67 picks from this wide receiver group, seems like you’re on the wrong side of the draft a little bit.”

The 49ers came back with their first pick of Day 3 and selected Utah punter Mitch Wishnowsky in the fourth round, a move McGinn found curious.

“I know after you lose (Bradley) Pinion, you need one,” McGinn said. “It just seems high to me.”

In a deep class of tight ends, the 49ers picked up Stanford’s Kaden Smith in the sixth round. Smith turned pro after his redshirt sophomore season. Smith ran the second-slowest time among all tight ends at the combine.

“He didn’t run a good 40 and that killed him,” McGinn said. “That knocked him down a couple of rounds. But he plays faster, he’s got good size, and the history of Stanford tight ends is good. He came out a year early. That surprised some people.

“I think he has a chance to be a good, solid two behind (George) Kittle.”

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McGinn summarized the 49ers’ eight-player draft class.

“I think it’s an OK draft,” he said. “We’ll all find out in three years.”

49ers' Robbie Gould says family will drive his football decisions

49ers' Robbie Gould says family will drive his football decisions

Kicker Robbie Gould and the 49ers remain in a holding pattern, and Gould said the only motivating factor at this stage of his NFL career is his family.

Gould, 36, spent most of the 2018 season away from his wife and three young boys while serving his second season as the 49ers’ kicker. He signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency in 2017.

Gould has deep roots in Chicago, where he spent the first 11 seasons of his NFL career. On Monday, he hosted the Robbie Gould Celebrity Golf Invitational at Medinah Country Club to raise funds for Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

“This city’s been incredible,” Gould told NBC Sports Chicago. “No matter where I’ve gone, no matter where I’ve lived, no matter where I’ve played, Chicago has always been home.”

The Bears released Gould just prior to the start of the regular season in 2016. The move came back to haunt them, as Gould made 72 of 75 field-goal attempts the past two seasons with the 49ers.

Gould expected to be a free agent at the end of the season, but the 49ers tagged him as their franchise player. Gould has requested a trade, but the 49ers have stated they will not trade him.

He has yet to sign the one-year, $4.971 million tender, and he remained away from the 49ers during the offseason program.

“It’s a complicated situation,” Gould said. “The way I’ve kind of approached it is, I want to spend time with my family. And I let my agent handle it, and if anything comes up that I have to make a decision or be in the know, he’ll call me and let me know. But right now there’s nothing to really know, and I’m just enjoying being home and being in Chicago.

“I’m at a point in my career where my family is what’s going to dictate the decisions that I make.”

The 49ers have stated they would like to sign Gould to an extension. The sides have until July 15 to work out a new multi-year deal. Gould’s scheduled salary does not begin paying him until Week 1 of the regular season -- in the amount of more than $290,000 per week.

The Bears have a need at kicker after releasing Cody Parkey following his potential game-winning kick in the final seconds was partially blocked in a first-round NFL playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Gould was in attendance at Soldier Field that day.

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“You want every kicking friend or every kicker in the National Football League to do well,” Gould said. ‘It’s a fraternity. You obviously want him to make it. As a kicker, you can feel for him, for sure.”

The Bears currently have two kickers under contract: Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro. Gould said he is not following the Bears’ situation. Instead, he said he is focusing spending time with his family and going through his daily workouts.

Watch 49ers' Jason Verrett go full speed in change-of-direction drills


Watch 49ers' Jason Verrett go full speed in change-of-direction drills

Cornerback Jason Verrett did not take part in the 49ers’ practices during the offseason program with the plan of being ready to compete for a starting job when training camp opens in July.

After missing all of last season with a torn Achilles sustained in a conditioning test at the opening of Los Angeles Chargers training camp, Verrett appears on pace to be cleared at or near the beginning of camp this summer.

Verrett on Monday posted videos to his Instagram account that show him going near full speed in change-of-direction drills. During the last week of the team’s offseason program, Verrett said he expected to be ready for training camp. The 49ers are scheduled to report to camp on July 27.

"I’m going to be ready,” Verrett said. “That’s my main focus. It’s just worrying about what I can control and I’m excited to be getting ready for training camp. My health is pretty much everything and I’m on track to be exactly where I want to be. The day I get on that football field they are going to like what they see.”

Verrett, who turned 28 last week, has played in just 25 games since breaking into the NFL in 2014 as the 25th overall draft pick of the Chargers.

He was limited to just six games because of a shoulder injury as a rookie. After appearing in 14 games in 2015 and earning a spot on the AFC Pro Bowl team, Verrett sustained a partial tear of his ACL and played in just four games in 2016.

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In the first game of 2017, Verrett reinjured his knee and sat out the remainder of the season. Verrett missed all of last season with the injury he sustained on the first day of training camp.

Ahkello Witherspoon had a strong offseason program as the starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman. Verrett is expected to compete with Witherspoon for a starting job.