Malcolm Smith

49ers have moved on from Pierre Garçon, must decide on Malcolm Smith

49ers have moved on from Pierre Garçon, must decide on Malcolm Smith

INDIANAPOLIS -- The 49ers have moved on from veteran wide receiver Pierre Garçon, but they have yet to make a decision on linebacker Malcolm Smith.

“He’s still not fully healthy yet, so we are waiting to figure that out,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “We need to get him in to find that out. Yeah, we do have a decision to make with Malcolm. He battled a lot of stuff last year, came into camp hurt and never healed.

“Really hoping that we can get some answers on that over the next month or so, which can help us make a better decision.” 

The two veterans were the biggest signings of the 49ers' first free agency under Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. They haven’t been the most successful. 

San Francisco did not pick up Garçon’s third-year option after he played in just 16 games in two seasons with the 49ers. He recorded 64 receptions for 786 yards and one touchdown. 

Despite Garçon's injuries and unremarkable production, Shanahan said the receiver still was an important signing for him and Lynch. 

“We didn’t have one receiver on our roster [from when] we got here to what we took into the season,” Shanahan said. “We knew we had to go get a veteran out there. P came in and did a great job for us for about the first six games or seven or whatever it was. 

“Then he hurt his neck the first year end, then had knee complications all last year. It was unfortunate for him and us how it worked out. Love the guy, respect him as much as any player I’ve ever coached. Hopefully he will be healthier this year for somewhere else, or if it didn’t work out, to possibly come back to us.”

[RELATED: Shanahan says Jimmy G ahead of schedule in ACL rehab]

Smith’s contract, on the other hand, does not have a team option until 2020, so the team will have to decide whether to cut him or not.

Smith spent all of 2017 on injured reserve after he tore his pectoral muscle during the offseason. Last year, he dealt with a nagging Achilles injury that limited him to sporadic playing time in 12 games this season. 

The team will be evaluating most positions in the draft, and an inside linebacker to play alongside Fred Warner likely will end up being a need.

2019 Senior Bowl: 49ers should keep an eye on these inside linebackers

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USATSI

2019 Senior Bowl: 49ers should keep an eye on these inside linebackers

Coming off a disappointing 4-12 season, the 49ers need to address many positions in the upcoming NFL draft. One that might not be at the top of the list, but is still a priority, is inside linebacker. 

While rookie Fred Warner developed into a very solid addition as the MIKE backer, the team still needs to address the WILL spot that was previously played by Reuben Foster. The team had a few players on rotation in 2018 but still needs to look for a solid replacement. 

Malcolm Smith is under contract until 2021 but spent his first season on injured reserve with a torn pectoral. He was only healthy enough to play in 12 games in 2018, as he dealt with a nagging Achilles injury. 

The inside linebacker class of 2019 is not particularly strong, but there are players that could develop into contributors. There is not one an elite standout, but rather players that would need to carve out a place on a rotational basis and on special teams. Most have a lot to prove at the Senior Bowl. 

Here are the inside linebackers for both squads who are intriguing draft prospects.

SOUTH TEAM

Deshaun Davis, Auburn, 5-11, 246
While he is a little smaller in stature, Davis is known for having high football IQ. He registered 112 tackles in his senior year at Auburn, 57 were solo, 15 were for a loss. He also registered 3.5 sacks. Davis is not the best in coverage but does tackle with aggression. He could have late-round value. 
Projected: Rounds 4-6.

Bobby Okereke, Stanford, 6-3, 234
Okereke has some size to him and is known as a good run defender. He has good lateral speed that could be a nice compliment next to Warner. While he needs to work on his ability to finish tackles, he does have decent coverage skills as a result of his athleticism. 

Okereke registered 94 tackles in his final year in Palo Alto, 52 were solo and 7.5 were for a loss. He also managed 3.5 sacks, five pass breakups, and two forced fumbles. 
Projected: Rounds 4-6.

[RELATED: Wide receiver prospects to watch at the Senior Bowl]

NORTH TEAM

Te’Von Coney, Notre Dame, 6-1, 240
Coney has good size to him and uses it well as a solid tackler. He registered 123 tackles in his final season at Notre Dame, including 9.5 for a loss. He snagged one interception and broke up four passes. 

Coney is stronger in the run game than in coverage but has decent range. He is explosive when hitting and running downhill. 
Projected: Rounds 2-4.

Germaine Pratt, North Carolina State, 6-3, 240 
Previously a safety, Pratt has decent coverage skills and range. He is a solid tackler and could be the most interesting of the group. He registered 104 tackles, 54 of which were solo and 10 for loss. He also had six sacks, three pass breakups, and two forced fumbles.

Pratt would provide later round value but as with most of the inside backers attending the Senior Bowl, they lack the coverage skills and ability to change directions that would make them elite. 
Projected: Rounds 4-6.

49ers' Pierre Garçon will have season-ending knee surgery, head to IR

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AP

49ers' Pierre Garçon will have season-ending knee surgery, head to IR

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon will undergo a season-ending procedure on his knee on Tuesday. 

Garçon, 32, missed the past four games with a knee condition and will go on injured reserve this week, coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday.

The veteran wideout appeared in eight games this season and caught 24 passes for 286 yards and one touchdown, but Garçon’s future with the 49ers is in question. He is scheduled to earn $6 million in salary and bonuses next season.

The 49ers have three wide receivers on the practice squad who are candidates to be promoted for the final three games: Victor Bolden Jr., Max McCaffrey and Steven Dunbar.

[RELATED: NFL Power Rankings Week 15]

In other injury news, defensive end Cassius Marsh reported to the team facility with concussion symptoms on Monday and was placed in the NFL’s return-to-play protocol.

Cornerbacks Ahkello Witherspoon (ankle) and Tarvarius Moore (shoulder) are day-to-day. Running back Matt Breida (ankle), safety Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder), cornerback K’Waun Williams (knee), and linebackers Mark Nzeocha (groin) and Malcolm Smith (Achilles), will be re-checked on Wednesday.

Rookie defensive lineman Kentavius Street, a fourth-round pick who tore his ACL in the pre-draft process, might practice this week, Shanahan said. Street remains on the non-football injury list. He will not play this season, but the 49ers can get him on the practice field for the final three weeks.