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.”

[RELATED: How Patriots used draft pick from Jimmy G trade]

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.”

Roger Goodell says NFL didn't listen, doesn't mention Colin Kaepernick

Roger Goodell says NFL didn't listen, doesn't mention Colin Kaepernick

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted Friday that the league was wrong for "not listening to NFL players earlier" and that they "encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest," but his 81-second video didn't mention former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick first sat, then kneeled during the playing of the national anthem before games in the 2016 season to protest police brutality and institutional racism. The QB's protest has recently received renewed attention, as demonstrations against the same issues spring up around the globe following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, in Minneapolis police custody last Monday.

"We, the [NFL], believe black lives matter," Goodell said Friday. "I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country. Without black players, there would be no [NFL] and the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff.

"We are listening. I am listening. And I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve and move forward for a better, more united NFL family."

The commissioner's comments came shortly after the league shared a video of players asking for the NFL to "listen" and admit they were "wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting." Multiple players, including star New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, first shared the video Thursday.

"We will not be silenced," the players said. "We assert our right to peacefully protest."

Protests have taken place nationwide in each of the 10 nights following Floyd's death prior to this story's publication. Floyd pleaded that he couldn't breathe as Derek Chauvin, a since-fired officer who is white, pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. The 46-year-old's death occurred within months of Breonna Taylor, 26, and Ahmaud Arbery, 25, dying, all as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disproportionately affect African Americans. Louisville police fatally shot Taylor in her home while reportedly performing a "no-knock" warrant, and two white men allegedly shot and murdered Arbery as he jogged around his Georgia neighborhood.

Demonstrators have taken the streets to protest the same issues Kaepernick highlighted, nearly four years after he first began protesting. Kaepernick, who agreed to kneel during "The Star-Spangled Banner" after consulting with former Seattle Seahawks long-snapper and Green Beret Nate Boyer, faced criticism for disrespecting the American flag and the country's veterans. Goodell said he didn't "necessarily agree with what [Kaepernick was] doing" in his first public comments after Kaepernick's protest.

“We have to choose respectful ways of doing that so that we can achieve the outcomes we ultimately want and do it with the values and ideals that make our country great,” Goodell told The Associated Press on Sept. 7, 2016. “I think it’s important to have respect for our country, for our flag, for the people who make our country better; for law enforcement; and for our military who are out fighting for our freedoms and our ideals.”

Goodell said in 2017 players had a "responsibility" of demonstrating "at the right time and in the right way." The NFL owners approved a national-anthem policy in May 2018 that would've required players to stand on the sideline as "The Star-Spangled Banner" played, but the league and the NFL Players Association announced in July there would be no new policy.

[RELATED: 49ers' Shanahan wants NFL to fix coaching diversity issue]

Kaepernick argued his protest cost him his career in a collusion lawsuit he settled with the league last February. The quarterback opted out of his contract ahead of the 2017 season, when the 49ers told him he'd otherwise be released, and has not been signed since. The NFL organized a workout for Kaepernick at the Atlanta Falcons' facility last November, but Kaepernick pulled out of the workout after the league barred media access and his lawyers deemed a liability waiver "unusual."

"I've been ready for three years, and I've been denied for three years," Kaepernick told reporters after moving the workout to a high school outside of Atlanta. "We all know why I came out here and showed it today in front of everybody -- we have nothing to hide. So we're waiting for the 32 owners, the 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them to stop running. Stop running from the truth, stop running from the people."

Goodell said in December that the NFL had "moved on" from Kaepernick after he "chose not to take" the opportunity the NFL gave him by moving the workout.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

49ers' George Kittle reveals which NFL players are toughest to block

49ers' George Kittle reveals which NFL players are toughest to block

George Kittle has never kept his love for run-blocking a secret. Any opportunity to drive a defender into the turf is embraced by the 49ers tight end the same way kids greet the arrival of Christmas morning.

During a recent appearance on the “Bussin’ With The Boys” podcast with fellow NFL players Will Compton and Taylor Lewan, Kittle revealed two blocking assignments he doesn’t exactly live for.

“Khalil Mack’s tough,” Kittle said. “He’s pretty good. (Jadeveon) Clowney is pretty good too.”

Kittle and Mack faced off late in the 2018 season, during a low-scoring dogfight at Levi’s Stadium between the 49ers and Chicago Bears. Mack got three hits in on quarterback Nick Mullens, but didn’t end up with a sack among his five tackles.

[RELATED: Ranking top 49ers plays in franchise's storied history: No. 5-1]

Clowney was a difficult assignment for the Niners in both matchups last season, although Kittle was inactive for the Seattle Seahawks’ win on "Monday Night Football" in Week 10.

The current free agent had six tackles and five QB hits over those two games against San Francisco, not to mention scoring one of his two touchdowns on the season after scooping up a fumble.

Mack and Kittle could face off when the 49ers and Bears meet during the 2020 preseason on Aug. 29, but it remains to be seen where Clowney will wind up signing in free agency. 

Some have even postulated he could be a fit for the 49ers, if no team is willing to meet a reportedly exorbitant asking price.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]