A.J. Brown

NFL draft: Who should 49ers target or avoid if they trade back from No. 2?


NFL draft: Who should 49ers target or avoid if they trade back from No. 2?

So what happens if the Arizona Cardinals select Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa with the No. 1 overall pick?

Until the Cardinals actually announce their decision – as most have believed for a while – that Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray is their man, there remains a bit of intrigue. The 49ers must wait patiently at No. 2.

If Bosa goes No. 1, the 49ers would likely listen to offers to trade out of No. 2. That’s where things could get very interesting. And it opens up a lot more possibilities for the 49ers to consider with their first- and second-round draft picks.

Here are a couple of players the 49ers could consider if they trade back from No. 2 – either with their first or second-round selection -- and a couple of highly rated players they should not be tempted to select:


In a trade-back scenario, the 49ers could still get their edge rusher.

Florida State edge rusher Brian Burns has size, athleticism and room to get better. Just a shade below the first wave of edge rushers, Burns might end up topping them all. He played three seasons in college and finished with 10 sacks in 12 games last season before declaring for the draft.

At 6-foot-5, 249 pounds and with 4.53 speed, Burns would be used immediately as a nickel pass-rush specialist. That is fine. That is what the 49ers need, and eventually that role can expand.


Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary should have been a dominant player in college. He was not. He has measurables off the charts, but not the production that should go along with it.

His skills and athleticism are freakish. But after three seasons of college football, he recorded a total – a total – of just 9.5 sacks. And, now, we’re supposed to believe that he is going to get 9.5 sacks a season while going up against better competition?

Gary has started his own sports agency. It seems like the best plan of attack would be to get established as a really good NFL player before devoting so much attention to marketing.


Their new wide receivers coach was not there to work with him at the Senior Bowl, but South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel already showed what he can do in the 49ers’ offense.

Samuel has a trait that coach Kyle Shanahan likes in his wide receivers – the ability to get open. He is a very good route-runner, and he is tough. At 5-foot-11, 214 pounds, he might not have the size of some of the other receivers the 49ers might consider in the second round, but he has the ability to separate quickly.

Samuel would give the 49ers a nice tool in the red zone, where the club has struggled mightily the past two seasons.

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The 49ers probably will not have the opportunity to pass on Ole Miss D.K. Metcalf in the second round, and that will be just fine for them.

Metcalf has otherworldly measurables. But Metcalf was far-and-away the second-best receiver on his college team. The 49ers should prefer A.J. Brown to Metcalf, who turned off more than a few people with the 49ers during their contentious meeting at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Metcalf is 6-3, 228 pounds. He ran a 4.33 at the combine. Yet, he put up pedestrian numbers in college – approximately half the production of Brown. Some team will take him in the middle of the first round, and that team will probably end up being disappointed.

NFL draft prospect A.J. Brown, 49ers legend Jerry Rice run 'The Hill'

NFL draft prospect A.J. Brown, 49ers legend Jerry Rice run 'The Hill'

On Tuesday, two receivers who played collegiately in Mississippi got together for a workout.

Jerry Rice, 56, the Pro Football Hall of Famer and a product of Mississippi Valley State, got together to work out with Ole Miss receiver A.J. Brown, who was in the Bay Area to visit the 49ers.

Rice on Monday said on 95.7 The Game that he would take Brown on the “infamous hill,” the horse trail at Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve in Redwood City that he and Roger Craig used for training.

On Tuesday, Brown posted a photo of himself and Rice as they prepared to take off on a training run. 

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Brown is considered one of the top wide receiver prospects in next week’s NFL draft.

NFL rumors: 49ers meeting with multiple wide receiver draft prospects


NFL rumors: 49ers meeting with multiple wide receiver draft prospects

No Antonio Brown. No Odell Beckham Jr. The 49ers missed on the biggest wide receivers to find new homes this offseason, though they certainly have their eyes on the 2019 NFL Draft. 

The draft now is less than a month away, and the 49ers reportedly are starting to zero in on wide receivers to target with their second-round pick. 

49ers general manager John Lynch and vice president of player personnel Adam Peters were at Arizona State on Wednesday to watch wide receiver N'Keal Harry, Matt Barrows of The Athletic reported

Harry, who's 6-foot-2 and 228 pounds, had an impressive showing at the NFL Scouting Combine. He ran a 4.53 40-yard dash, put up 27 reps on the bench press, and leaped 38.5 inches in the vertical jump. 

As a junior at ASU, Harry had 73 receptions for 1,088 yards and nine touchdowns. It was his second consecutive season with over 1,000 receiving yards, and he also added a rushing touchdown. 

Harry isn't the only receiver the 49ers are monitoring. Barrows reported the team will host Ole Miss receiver A.J. Brown and South Carolina's Deebo Samuel. 

Brown is going through Ole Miss' Pro Day on Friday. While his teammate, D.K. Metcalf, has created all the buzz because of his combine, Brown is no second fiddle. At the combine, he ran a 4.49 40 and jumped 36.5 inches. 

The 6-foot, 226-pound receiver caught 85 passes as a junior for 1,320 yards and six touchdowns. 

The 49ers have history with Samuel. In essence, he already had a five-day interview with Kyle Shanahan and his staff at the Senior Bowl. And he impressed on the field throughout the week of practice. 

Samuel, who's 5-11 and 214 pounds, ran a 4.48 40 at the combine and showcased a 39-inch vertical. In his senior year, he hauled in 62 receptions for 882 yards and 11 TDs. 

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While the 49ers don't have a star at wide receiver right now, they can add instant impact in the draft and are casting a wide net to find the right prospect.