49ers

Two 49ers join Jimmy Garoppolo, Jerick McKinnon in rehab timetables

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Two 49ers join Jimmy Garoppolo, Jerick McKinnon in rehab timetables

MOBILE, Ala. – Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Jerick McKinnon are on pace to be on the field when the 49ers open training camp in late-July, if not during the team's offseason program.

Recently, 49ers general manager John Lynch witnessed Garoppolo throw a pass to McKinnon at the team’s practice facility as they continue their rehabilitations from ACL surgeries. McKinnon was on the field with rehabilitation coordinator Ryan Donahue while Garoppolo wrapped up a session in the weight room.

“(Garoppolo) was carrying a football and I looked out and he threw one ball to him,” Lynch said Thursday at the Senior Bowl. “It fired me up. That’s what we want them to be doing. They are both working incredibly hard.”

[RELATED: 49ers offensive depth chart: Looking to add another playmaker in 2019]

The 49ers expect center Weston Richburg and defensive back D.J. Reed to join Garoppolo and McKinnon in being cleared for the start of training camp. Richburg underwent extensive surgery on his knee and quadriceps after the season. Reed is scheduled to undergo surgery Friday to have a repair a labral tear in his shoulder.

Richburg, who signed a five-year contract worth up to $47.5 million last offseason, sustained a left knee injury in Week 4 against the Los Angeles Chargers. He hobbled off the field, but returned to the game. He was listed as “questionable” for four of the next five weeks. He missed only one game.

“I think it affected his play late in the year,” Lynch said. “He was having trouble anchoring. We decided to go in there and get the thing cleaned up. It’s going to be an extensive rehab. He’ll be right up until training camp.

“We feel comfortable that the end result is it will allow him to perform to the great ability that he does have.”

Reed’s injury was a surprise during his exit physical, Lynch said. He is scheduled to undergo surgery on Friday. His recovery is expected to last six months.

The 49ers are hopeful all four players will be available at the start of training camp.

McKinnon sustained his knee injury one week before the opening of the regular season. Garoppolo went down with his season-ending knee injury in Week 3 at Kansas City.

Garoppolo and McKinnon were being counted on to be the 49ers’ two most-impactful offensive players. Now, they are impacting each other in their rehab sessions.

“Both of their rehabs are going exceptionally well,” Lynch said. “Neither has had any setbacks in terms of swelling or anything like that.

“Jerick is six weeks ahead in terms of time frame. They’re pushing each other. Jimmy is trying to catch him, and Jet is trying to separate. But they’re really relying on each other, so that’s a positive.”

Merton Hanks 'not surprised at all' with success of fellow Iowa product

Merton Hanks 'not surprised at all' with success of fellow Iowa product

Tight end George Kittle is already the 49ers’ best fifth-round draft pick since 1991.

Kittle has picked up two Pro Bowl selections and a first-team All-Pro award in his first three NFL seasons. The 49ers have not experienced that kind of success from a player in the fifth round since the selection of defensive back Merton Hanks, a four-time Pro Bowl player and starter on the 49ers’ Super Bowl champion team of the 1994 season.

Kittle, like Hanks, played college ball at Iowa.

“I think that’s a great symmetry,” Hanks said this week on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“The 49ers do pretty well with fifth-round draft picks from the University of Iowa. We tend to knock it out of the park a little bit there.”

Hanks, who now works as Senior Associate Commissioner of Conference USA, describes himself as a first-round talent who fell in the draft due to a bad performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. He apparently scared teams with his reported time of 4.77 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

Kittle had an impressive combine. He had all the measurables, but he did not post great numbers as a pass-catcher during his four-year college career. In 25 games over four seasons, Kittle caught just 48 passes for 737 yards and 10 touchdowns.

In his first 45 regular-season games with the 49ers, Kittle has 216 catches for 2,945 yards and 12 touchdowns.

“I can’t say I’m surprised at all,” said Hanks, who referred to Iowa as “Tight Ends U."

[RELATED: How ex-49er Merton Hanks channeled 'Sesame Street' in iconic dance]

Hanks added, “Coach (Kirk) Ferentz had NFL ties. He understands the NFL game and what tight ends have to do to be successful, not only on the collegiate level, but the NFL level.”

Iowa produced two tight ends in the first round of the 2019 draft: T.J. Hockenson, chosen No. 8 overall by the Detroit Lions, and Noah Fant, whom the Denver Broncos picked at No. 20.

NFL rumors: 49ers rejected several Nick Mullens offseason trade offers

NFL rumors: 49ers rejected several Nick Mullens offseason trade offers

Last season, the 49ers were one of a select few NFL teams that chose to keep three quarterbacks on the active roster.

Behind Jimmy Garoppolo, general manager John Lynch elected to retain both C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens throughout the season.

Lynch has spoken about potentially trading one of his backups in recent months, but as The Athletic’s Michael Lombardi noted on his podcast, the Niners clearly hold one of them in very high regard.

"There was about three teams trying to trade for Kyle Allen," Lombardi said on The GM Shuffle podcast. "You know what's interesting about the Kyle Allen trade? This is really interesting. The 49ers got a bunch of phone calls — when I say a bunch, a couple of teams — on Nick Mullens, the backup quarterback in San Francisco. Nick Mullens. They were asking about him, and they turned down every trade offer for Nick Mullens. They wouldn't trade him.

"Think about that. Think about that. Nick Mullens was like — Cam Newton had no value, [and] Nick Mullens [is] untradeable. Just put that in perspective for a while. Digest that."

[RELATED: Why 49ers should trade down from both first-round picks]

Mullens played admirably while filling in for Garoppolo after the signal-caller tore his ACL in Week 3 of the 2018 season. After Beathard took over initially, Mullens grabbed the reigns in Week 9 and completed just over 64 percent of his passes in eight starts, throwing 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

While having multiple security blankets behind Garoppolo is a nice insurance policy, potentially nabbing a mid-round draft pick for one of the two quarterbacks could help the team shore up another position of need.

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