49ers

What DK Metcalf learned in 49ers interview at NFL Scouting combine

What DK Metcalf learned in 49ers interview at NFL Scouting combine

INDIANAPOLIS — Ole Miss wide receiver DK Metcalf has taken the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine by storm with his speed and skill testing. During his media availability on Saturday, Metcalf indicated that his meeting with the 49ers did not go nearly as smoothly. 

When asked about meeting with coaches Kyle Shanahan and Wes Welker and general manager John Lynch, Metcalf responded with a run-of-the mill positive answer. Then, things got interesting. 

“It went real well,” Metcalf said at Lucas Oil Stadium. “It was a learning experience. He taught me something in that meeting. Him, Wes Welker, all John Lynch all taught me a valuable lesson.” 

When pressed further about what the lesson was, Metcalf simply replied, “Keep your cool,” and did not reveal any further details. 

Metcalf doesn't appear to have a history of anger issues. He did receive a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for mimicking a dog peeing during a touchdown celebration in 2017. He was imitating a celebration initially done by New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. 

His measurables have gone viral, but there is no telling if the 49ers will give Metcalf another chance. The team does need to add depth at wide receiver, but it is not their top priority. 

The 49ers own the No. 2 overall pick, and will likely use it to select an edge rusher like Nick Bosa or Josh Allen. The towering receiver will likely be off the board by the team's second-round selection, which is now set as the 36th overall pick. 

Here’s how Metcalf measured up at the combine: 

Height: 6-foot-3 
Weight: 228 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.33 
Vertical: 40.5 
Bench press: 27 reps

For comparison, here is how star Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones measured up at his combine:

Height: 6-foot-3 
Weight: 220 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.34 
Vertical: 38.5 
Bench press: 17 reps 

In terms of speed for a big-bodied pass-catcher, Metcalf also ran faster than both Calvin Johnson and Vernon Davis. They each ran a 4.40 in the 40-yard dash. 

Metcalf needed to have an outstanding Combine performance to raise his draft stock, which is exactly what he did. His receiving stats from Ole Miss were stunted by his injuries which kept him off the field. 

[RELATED: Who? Why Josh Allen had to Google 49ers legend Ronnie Lott]

Metcalf only played in seven games in his final college season before declaring for the draft as a redshirt sophomore. He recorded 26 receptions for 569 yards and five touchdowns before undergoing season-ending neck surgery. Metcalf clearly is back to full health, as indicated by his performance at the combine, and his shirtless photo that went viral beforehand. 

That still might not be enough to sway the 49ers staff to take a chance on him, even if they could. 

49ers roster analysis: Ascending linebackers should make group better in 2020

49ers roster analysis: Ascending linebackers should make group better in 2020

This is the seventh installment of a nine-part series that examines the 49ers’ roster coming out of the 2019 season, looks ahead to 2020 and outlines the offseason challenges facing general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan on a position-by-position basis.

Today, a look at the 49ers’ linebackers.

Under contract (signed through)

-Kwon Alexander (2022)
-Fred Warner (2021)
-Dre Greenlaw (2022)
-Mark Nzeocha (2021)
-Azeez Al-Shaair (2021)
-Joey Alfieri (2021)
-Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (2021)

The 49ers and Alexander agreed to a contract restructure in November that saves the team more than $8 million in cap space for the 2020 season. His salary is set to leap to $12.55 million in 2021. Three voidable years were added to his contract. He is still scheduled for unrestricted free agency after the 2022 season.

Expiring contracts

-Elijah Lee (RFA)

Lee was among the 49ers’ final cuts and was signed to the practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster for the final eight games of the regular season after Alexander went on injured reserve. Lee saw action in each of the 49ers’ three postseason games as a core special-teams contributor.

What needs to happen

The 49ers’ only real decision is with Lee, who is a restricted free agent. The lowest tender of $2.144 million is probably too much, but the 49ers can look to re-sign him to a minimum level contract.

But even with some uncertainty surrounding Lee, the 49ers appear set with their starters and backups. The 49ers certainly do not need to spend free-agent money to add a player. And they do not need to use one of their top draft picks to bring in a linebacker, either.

[RELATED: 49ers roster analysis: Work needed to keep up defensive line dominance]

Expectations

This position group is comprised of players who are all ascending. The unit was good in 2019. It should be better in 2020.

Warner was one of the breakout stars for the 49ers as a second-year player. He had an interception of Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl that looked, at the time, to be one of the big plays in that game. Warner believes he can make improvements in all areas, including the production of more game-changing types of plays.

Alexander sustained a torn pectoral in the middle of the season. Then, worked hard to get back for the playoffs. Although he settled back into the 49ers’ defense as a part-time player, Alexander still served an important role on the team due to his leadership and energy.

Greenlaw became an every-down player after Alexander’s injury and made one of the most memorable plays of the season when he stopped Seattle Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister just inches short of the goal line to preserve the 49ers’ Week 17 win to clinch the NFC West and home-field advantage in the playoffs. It will be difficult to keep Greenlaw off the field.

Al-Shaair, who defied the odds to win his roster spot last season as an undrafted rookie, and Nzeocha are solid backups and core special-teams players, too.

NFL free agency: A.J. Green would fit 49ers, but health risks are real

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NFL free agency: A.J. Green would fit 49ers, but health risks are real

A.J. Green last played in an NFL game on Dec. 2, 2018. He injured his toe in that game, and underwent season-ending surgery shortly after.

Green then missed all of last season, as the Cincinnati Bengals' star receiver dealt with an ankle injury. And yet, he's one of the biggest names set to hit free agency next month.

So, should the 49ers take a run at signing the seven-time Pro Bowl pick? Talent-wise, yes. But it's not that simple.

Green, who turns 32 years old on July 31, has played in just nine games in the last two seasons. He has missed 29 games since 2016 and isn't getting any younger. But he's also one of the most talented receivers in the league when healthy.

The former No. 4 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft started his career with five straight seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards. He was well on pace to extending that streak in 2016 when he had 964 receiving yards in 10 games and then had 1,078 in 2017.

San Francisco simply doesn't have any receivers with Green's kind of pedigree. Deebo Samuel opened eyes as a rookie, and he is dangerous with the ball in his hands. The 49ers have to add talent around the young South Carolina product, though.

Green also is the kind of large target that 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan hopes to give quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Samuel is listed at 5-foot-11 and 214 pounds. Green, however, is 6-4 and 210 pounds.

One NFL executive believes Green hopes to move on from the Bengals this offseason, too. 

"I think he wants out of Cincinnati," the exec told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. 

That, however, isn't in Bengals coach Zac Taylor's plans

"He's a guy that we're excited about to have part of this team, first and foremost. That’s what matters right now," Taylor said Thursday in his interview on the '"Bengals Beat Podcast." "As we go through the offseason, we'll figure out how it best fits. But right now, we expect him to be a part of the team. We want him to be a part of the team.

"He's certainly been a valuable member for the last couple years and done some great things. I'm excited to coach him, really for the first time this next season."

Green signed a four-year, $60 million contract with the Bengals in 2015. He will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time this offseason, and the veteran still could sign another hefty contract. The same executive told ESPN that "even 'B' receivers are getting $14 million to $15 million."

The 49ers currently have just under $17.9 million available in cap space this offseason, according to Spotrac. San Francisco also has its own contracts to take care of in free agent Arik Armstead, as well as extensions for George Kittle and DeForest Buckner. 

[RELATED: Why 49ers could add Gabriel to receiver mix this offseason]

One way or another, the 49ers should look to give Jimmy G more weapons this offseason. This year's NFL draft class is loaded with receivers, and the front office could make that their priority with their first pick. There's no doubt Green could be a great option in free agency, but it all comes down to health.

"As long as the foot checks out, he's still elite," an NFC personnel evaluator said to ESPN.

That's a big if, though. Green is one talented question mark.