49ers

Tim Ryan describes receiver 49ers must target

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AP

Tim Ryan describes receiver 49ers must target

The 49ers’ group of wide receivers looked a lot better in the final five games of the regular season – an elevation in production that coincided nicely with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s rise into the starting lineup.

But wide receiver remains a position the club is expected to address this offseason, as a unique style could fit nicely with Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, Aldrick Robinson and Kendrick Bourne.

“I think a tall receiver,” 49ers radio analyst Tim Ryan said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“I can’t wait to see Pierre Garçon in this offense with this quarterback. We already know what he looks like. And with other real threats around him – guys that have developed, in Marquise and Trent and the tight ends.

“But a big receiver. Someone with length. Someone that’s always open three feet over this head. A guy who plays like Garçon but has about a 6-3 frame on him. That would be outstanding on offense.”

The free-agent signing period opens in mid-March, and a couple of attractive options are not likely to be available. According to reports, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams are expected to place their franchise tags on Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins.

Jarvis Landry could be the top available wide receiver, but he does not appear to fit the 49ers’ need. After all, Landry is 5-foot-11 and is a possession receiver who lacks big-play potential. Landry caught 112 passes for the Miami Dolphins, but his average reception was a paltry 8.8 yards.

One player to watch is Donte Moncrief, who has mostly under-produced with the Indianapolis Colts. He stands 6-2 and has 18 touchdowns in four NFL seasons. The 49ers last year went after Goodwin, who did not show much in his four seasons with the Buffalo Bills. Goodwin turned in his best NFL season in his first year in Kyle Shanahan’s system.

If the 49ers do not fill their need for a tall, red-zone target in free agency, they can also look to the draft. There should be several options available throughout the seven-round draft, such as:

Courtland Sutton (6-3), SMU: Averaged 16.5 yards per catch with 31 TDs over his final three seasons.
Simmie Cobbs Jr (6-3), Indiana: Caught 132 passes for 1,800 yards and 12 TDs in his final two seasons.
Equanimeous St. Brown (6-4), Notre Dame: Caught 91 for nearly 1,500 yards and 13 TDs in final two years.
D.J. Chark (6-3), LSU: Averaged 20.5 yards on 66 receptions over past two seasons.
J’Mon Moore (6-3), Missouri: Back-to-back 1,000 yards seasons with 18 TDs in final two years.
Allen Lazard (6-4), Iowa State: Had 241 catches for 3,360 yards and 26 TDs in four-year career.
Marcell Ateman (6-4), Oklahoma State: Had 59 catches for 1,156 yards and eight TDs as a senior.

Colin Kaepernick 'Icon' jersey offers NBA stars another way to show solidarity

Colin Kaepernick 'Icon' jersey offers NBA stars another way to show solidarity

Recently, some prominent NBA stars have come out in support of former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, displaying their solidarity in different manners.

The Warriors' Kevin Durant, for instance, donned a black No. 7 jersey to and from a recent game at Oracle Arena, bearing the phrase "#IMWITHKAP" on the chest.

Steph Curry, wearing the same attire, recently posed for a photo with his son Canon.

The Lakers' LeBron James wore a nearly identical jersey getting off the plane when he and Los Angeles made the trip to Oracle to face Golden State earlier this month.

James took his support of Kaepernick a step further when he was asked about Kaepernick's reported settlement with the NFL at All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.

[RELATED: NFL compensating Colin Kaepernick for not playing football]

If Durant, Curry and James -- or anyone else for that matter -- like the black-and-white look, and want to show further solidarity for Kaepernick, well, they're in luck.

On Wednesday, Nike announced the release of a limited-edition Colin Kaepernick 'Icon' jersey -- the same one James wore as a tease getting off the plane in Oakland. As Kaepernick explained in a tweet, the jersey is dedicated to "those true to themselves on and off the field. Proudly, unapologetically and against all odds."

"We believe Colin Kaepernick is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” a Nike spokesperson told The Undefeated. “The jersey marks Nike’s continued product collaboration with Colin."

The NFL logo is notably absent from the jersey, which should not come as a surprise given Kaepernick's recent litigation with the league. 20 percent of all proceeds from the sale of the jerseys will go to the Know Your Rights Camp he founded, which raises awareness for youth "on higher education, self-empowerment and instruction on how to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios."

So, if you're in the market for a new black-and-white look, or simply want to show more support for Kaepernick, there are certainly worse ways you could spend your money.

49ers receiver Trent Taylor excited to learn from new coach Wes Welker

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USATSI

49ers receiver Trent Taylor excited to learn from new coach Wes Welker

As a short, slot receiver, Trent Taylor has been compared to All-Pro wideout Wes Welker for his entire life.

Now, Taylor will have the chance to learn from Welker directly, after the 37-year-old reportedly will become one of the newest members of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan's staff.

Taylor didn’t hold back when asked what his thoughts were when he first heard about Welker heading to the Bay Area.

“I thought it was freakin’ sick,” Taylor told NBC Sports Bay Area. “He’s been a baller in the NFL for 10 plus years and it’s always just cool having a guy like that coaching you. A guy with that type of experience and the guy people have compared me to my whole life.”

With only an inch difference in height between the two -- Taylor is 5'8", Welker is 5'9" -- Taylor is more than ready to learn from Welker. Tips from the receiver who led the league in receptions in three different seasons and racked up over 1,000 yards five times will be very valuable.

Even more than Welker’s physicality, Taylor believes his mental approach to the game is even more powerful.

“It’s going to be a cool opportunity to be able to work with him and hear what he has to say to me, what kind of advice he has, and I just know he has that ‘dog mentality’ that you want in a football player," Taylor said. 

“It’s cool to have that in the coaching position, and it will be cool to see the way that he coaches us and the fire that he brings into work every day. I think it’s going to be great.”

While Taylor knows what his new coach is capable of, he can’t wait be in the same room with the five-time Pro Bowler to watch Welker’s own game film.

“I haven’t been able to just sit down and break down his film,” Taylor said. “But I feel like we will have the opportunity to do that. I’ll probably press that subject pretty hard. I feel like he’s going to try to be humble about it but we need to see his film. That’s for sure.”

Welker’s level of productivity is the gold standard for a slot receiver, and that’s the goal for Taylor and the rest of the receivers room. Taylor understands its immense value.

“I think it will be good to be able to ‘learn’ somebody who played the same type of position with the same body type,” Taylor said. “You don’t run into to many guys like that in the NFL. So it will be an interesting perspective to hear from.”

Welker reportedly will be joined by former Cowboys wideout Miles Austin in the receivers room, who was hired as an offensive quality control coach. Taylor appreciates that both coaches are not that far removed from the game, which helps them be even more relatable.

“Two guys who played a long time in the NFL, and haven’t been out of the league for that many years,” Taylor said. “They’re still pretty fresh in it. It’ll be great. I think it’s going to work out great."

[RELATED: Why 49ers can't miss out on Brown or Beckham Jr. this year]

Taylor, however remains inspired by Welker's mental toughness and looks to get everything possible out of his new coach.

"I think he always wanted it more than the guy across from him," Taylor said. "And that’s what made him so great. that’s what makes anybody great. Just having that 'want to' and that fire that you’re never going to stop. That you’re not going to give up."