49ers

Report: 49ers hold private workout for Clemson DE Lawson

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Report: 49ers hold private workout for Clemson DE Lawson

The NFL Draft is one month away and the 49ers are making sure to do their due diligence on all top prospects. 

In Chip Kelly's first draft with GM Trent Baalke, will San Francisco snag an offensive player or defensive player when they are on the clock with the No. 7 overall pick? Recently, they reportedly had a front row view of one of the top pass rushers to enter the draft. 

The 49ers put Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson through a private workout with Baalke in attendance, according to NFL.com.

[RELATED: Hargreaves: 49ers one of two teams with most interest]

"When I found out the GM was coming, that told me something about how serious they are about me. He makes the decisions on the team, he's going to draft guys, so with him there, it was more pressure, but I liked that," Lawson told NFL.com.

Lawson, 6-foot-3, 269 pounds, was a consensus All-American for the Tigers in 2015. 

Over three seasons, he racked up 123 total tackles, 45.5 tackles for loss, 20 sacks, one pass deflection and a forced fumble.

[RELATED: List: Complete 2016 NFL Draft order]

Lawson's final seasons was his best across the board, as he finally reached double-digit sacks (12.5), an ACC high, while also finishing with an NCAA-high 24.5 tackles for loss.

At Clemson, Lawson stood up and his sole purpose was to rush to the passer. The 49ers wanted to see how versatile he could be at the next level. 

For nearly two hours, San Francisco put Lawson through defensive line drills and linebacker drills. Not only did they watch his ability to the quarterback, but also tested his coverage skills as well. 

The 49ers ranked 29th out of 32 teams last season with 28 sacks as a team.

49ers Mailbag: New defensive line coach could pave way for top free agent

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49ers Mailbag: New defensive line coach could pave way for top free agent

The revamped 49ers coaching staff is taking shape with the comings of defensive line coach Kris Kocurek and secondary coach Joe Woods to replace fired Jeff Zgonina and Jeff Hafley, who took a co-defensive coordinator position at Ohio State.

Quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello, the new offensive coordinator for Vic Fangio’s Denver Broncos, will likely be replaced with a shift of either Mike LaFleur or Mike McDaniel to a new title. The 49ers also have a couple other positions to fill, as coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch look to limit the number of preventable injuries.

Today, we solicit questions from our readers as the 49ers staff readies to get back to work next week as coaches of the South squad at the annual Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

How many FAs pass rushers will be signed in the off-season? (@chriscream)
The 49ers will sign one free-agent pass rusher who will be assured a spot on the 53-man roster. They might add another veteran along the lines of Jeremiah Attaochu of last year -- a player who would have to compete for a spot and win his way onto the team.

The 49ers will have some options in free agency, depending on which players are locked up via the franchise tag or contract extensions.

With the addition of defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, formerly of the Detroit Lions, the 49ers would have to be viewed as a favorite to land edge rusher Ziggy Ansah. In the past, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has also spoken highly of Dante Fowler Jr. Those two presumptive free agents could be attractive as upgrades.

The 49ers will set out to add a starter-caliber edge rusher in free agency, and come back with another impactful pass rusher in the draft.

If the 49ers plan to take an edge rusher at #2, do they look to move someone out of the current edge group in a trade and accumulate another pick? Another DE makes that room quite crowded. Does Thomas make a full time move inside next to DeFo? (@HausVonSchlegel)
I don’t know that any spare parts they have at defensive end would have much trade value. More than likely, the 49ers would hold onto everyone to cover their . . . uh . . . bases in case they have to account for injuries down the road. With the addition of a true pass-rush end, Solomon Thomas would be likely moved inside next to DeForest Buckner. But Thomas is not a nose tackle, so that anticipated move would probably not occur on most base downs.

Do you think that 49ers will try to give Armstead a new contract? Like 3-4 year with $6-$7 million yearly? (@Andersen49ers)
Right now, Armstead is on the books for $9 million for next season. There is no reason for him to take less money than that. If the 49ers do not want to devote that money to him for one year, they would have to cut him prior to the start of the new league year. Then Armstead would be a free agent and able to negotiate the best contract possible with any team in the NFL. More than likely, Armstead will play out this season on the fifth-year option, just like Jimmie Ward did in 2018.

And speaking of Jimmie Ward. . .

Fans don’t seem to care much for Jimmie Ward, however the coaches always talk him up. What, as fans are we missing that merits SF trying to retain his services considering he’s always hurt. (@LoMed1978)
Every coaching staff that’s had Ward – and there have been a few -- has really liked him because of his versatility and his toughness. Fans might scoff when they hear “toughness,” because of the injuries. Maybe “fearless” is the better description. The guy plays hard. Maybe he plays too hard. But that’s something coaches love.

And speaking of injuries . . .

Will cleaning out the training staff actually have an effect on the amount of injuries, or is it just about making moves because someone needs to take the fall? (@bathebay)
Injuries became such a huge talking point of the past two seasons, the 49ers obviously felt as if something had to be done. Will the changes help? The 49ers feel as if they needed to do something – so it can’t hurt. Ray Wright is out as strength and conditioning coach, and Jeff Ferguson was let go as the team’s athletic trainer. In my opinion, many of the football injuries that occur are unavoidable. The risk of injuries can be reduced, but they certainly cannot be eliminated. Bad luck plays into it, too. My prediction is the 49ers will sustain fewer injuries in 2019, and people will point to these changes – whether the staff moves actually played a factor or not.

What is one thing you miss about going to a game at Candlestick vs a game at Levi's? (@Random49ers)
I liked typing “Candlestick Park” more than I like typing “Levi’s Stadium.”

2019 NFL mock draft: Mel Kiper Jr. has 49ers picking Josh Allen at No. 2

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2019 NFL mock draft: Mel Kiper Jr. has 49ers picking Josh Allen at No. 2

Kyle Shanahan and the rest of his 49ers coaching staff won't have the opportunity of working with edge rusher Josh Allen in the Senior Bowl anymore, but that doesn't matter to ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. 

In his first mock draft of 2019, Kiper has the 49ers selecting Allen with the No. 2 overall pick. Here's why he believes the former Kentucky Wildcat is the perfect fit for San Francisco: 

If you're talking about pure pass-rushing ability, the 6-foot-7, 230-pound Allen is right up there with [Nick] Bosa.

The 49ers selected defensive linemen in three straight years from 2015 to 2017 -- Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas -- but none of those players get after the quarterback like Allen, who can play outside linebacker as well.

As a senior, Allen had 17 sacks, including three in a dominant bowl game performance against Penn State.

In the 2018 regular season, the 49ers ranked 15th in the NFL with 37 sacks, but 12 of those came from Buckner.

Allen was a consensus All-America selection, as well as the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year, Chuck Bednarik Award winner, and Bronko Nagurski Award winner. He was also chosen as the winner of the Ronnie Lott IMPACT Trophy, which takes into account on-field and off-field excellence.