Matt Maiocco

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

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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:

Boom?

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.

Bust?

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.

Boom?

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.

[RELATED:  Jimmy G couldn't disappoint 49ers with eyes on him during rehab]

Bust?

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.

Jimmy Garoppolo wouldn't let down 49ers knowing eyes were on him in rehab

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Jimmy Garoppolo wouldn't let down 49ers knowing eyes were on him in rehab

SANTA CLARA – Jimmy Garoppolo knows there is always a chance a set of eyes are on him, and that served as motivation during his time rehabbing at the 49ers’ practice facility during the early months of this offseason.

It will be another week before the coaching staff will be allowed to work with Garoppolo on the practice field, but there was nothing keeping Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch from keeping tabs on his movements from afar.

At one point in the offseason, Lynch said he looked out his window and got fired up when he saw Garoppolo throw a pass to running back Jerick McKinnon as the two players rehabbed from ACL injuries.

“He was a couple weeks ahead of me and everything so I was trying to play a little catch-up game with him,” Garoppolo said. “But we never know when those guys are watching. The windows are hard to see through. They must put tints on them or something.”

[RELATED: Jimmy Garoppolo, Jerick McKinnon lean on each other during rehab]

Garoppolo said he likes knowing that the higher-ups in the organization might be watching from their upstairs offices, which overlook the team’s weight room and practice field.

“It actually kind of turns it into more of a practice, kind of ramps you up a little bit, gets the energy going,” Garoppolo said.

Garoppolo said he is steadily rounding into form after the Week 3 injury to his left knee. He will undoubtedly wear a brace on his left knee, he said. He said he wore a brace during his rookie season with the New England Patriots as a preventative measure.

“I never played with one before in college or high school or anything like that,” he said. “So it was different. But these new ones that they got are titanium, lightweight. It’s like you’re not wearing anything sometimes.”

49ers schedule 2019: Biggest games, narratives to watch in NFL season

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49ers schedule 2019: Biggest games, narratives to watch in NFL season

Everything the 49ers do from this day forward is with opening day -- Sept. 8 – in mind.

The draft, the offseason program, training camp and a four-game exhibition schedule are all geared toward getting the 49ers prepared for Week 1 at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In the meantime, the 49ers will have the ability to add a starter, or two or three, in next week’s NFL draft.

One of their NFC West opponents undoubtedly will be shaped by their decision next week. Will the 49ers again face quarterback Josh Rosen, who twice beat them last season, or will the Cardinals tab Kyler Murray to inject some excitement and intrigue into their organization? The 49ers play Arizona in Weeks 9 and 11.

Here are some of the other takeaways from the 49ers’ 2019 schedule, which the NFL released Wednesday.

Biggest must-watch game

Every eight years when the Browns visited the 49ers, it was seen as a good opportunity to spend the day doing something together outside as a family. The mere throught of a 49ers-Browns game could induce sleep.

Few organizations over the past couple of decades have been less compelling than the Cleveland football franchise.

But not this year.

Even though Cleveland has a no-name as a head coach, the Browns could be one of the compelling teams to watch in the NFL this season because of QB Baker Mayfield and a much-improved supporting cast, including star receiver Odell Beckham. The 49ers wanted Beckham, but the Browns landed him in a trade with the New York Giants.

The Browns will visit Levi’s Stadium for the first time this season, and -- believe it or not -- it could be a hot ticket. The NFL placed the 49ers-Browns game in prime time with an Oct. 7 matchup on Monday Night Football.

Where the schedule makers hosed them

The 49ers open the season with back-to-back road games for the first time since 1997. It might be an opportunity for the 49ers to remain on the road – say, Youngstown, Ohio – between games at Tampa Bay and Cincinnati.

This will likely be a decision for Ben Peterson, the 49ers’ newly created head of player health and performance. If he determines it is better for the players’ bodies to avoid the back-and-forth trips, the 49ers will practice during the week in Ohio.

The game against Tampa Bay is also a 4:25 p.m. start in the Eastern time zone, giving them three hours less of recovery time.

The 49ers have four road games scheduled for 10 a.m. (PT) kickoffs – at Cincinnati (Week 2), Washington (Week 7), Baltimore (Week 13) and New Orleans (Week 14). The back-to-back road games in December against the Ravens and Saints also makes for a tough stretch at that point in the season.

Additionally, the 49ers face the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium on Nov. 24. New coach Matt LaFleur will have extra time to prepare for the 49ers, as the Packers’ bye week is in Week 11.

Where the schedule makers helped them

The 49ers have a five-game stretch from Week 8 through Week 12 when the only time they will be on a plane will be for the two-hour trip to Arizona and back.

San Francisco hosts the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 27, followed by a quick-turnaround for a Thursday night game at Arizona on Halloween. Then, it’s a longer week and more preparation time to face the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 11 for Monday Night Football.

The 49ers face Arizona again in Week 11 on Nov. 17, and remain home for the Week 12 game against the Packers.

What the primetime schedule tells us

Every team in the league is guaranteed one primetime slot with a Thursday night game. The 49ers’ Thursday game is Week 9 at Arizona. They have two other games under the lights, facing the Browns and Seahawks in Monday night home games.

The 49ers have another possible primetime game, as the day for their Week 16 game against the Los Angeles Rams will be determined at a later date. The game is slated for either on a Saturday or Sunday.

That shows the 49ers have not fallen completely off the NFL landscape, but the NFL is being more cautious than a year ago.

After riding the momentum of Jimmy Garoppolo and a five-game win streak into last year’s offseason, the 49ers were tabbed for five games in prime time. By the mid-point of the season, the NFL was sent scrambling.

The 49ers were bounced out of their two scheduled Sunday night games – Week 7 against the L.A. Rams and Week 13 at the Seattle Seahawks.

Bye week significance

The bye week comes early for the 49ers, long before most teams generally would want a break in their season.

After opening on the road for the first two games and the home opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3, the 49ers will get the week off in Week 4.

Then, the 49ers have a long week when they return from the bye week to face the Browns on Monday Night Football. The 49ers finish the regular season with games in 13 consecutive weeks.

[RELATED: 49ers' Buckner says it's still early for extension talk]

Revenge narratives

After the incident at the team hotel in Tampa, the 49ers did not need to know all the details about what occurred. All they had to know was linebacker Reuben Foster put himself in a precarious situation with his decision to meet a visitor, and he ended up in jail for the night.

Foster was quickly claimed by Washington. He spent the final five games of last season on the commissioner’s exempt list. But, now, he’s been cleared to play football, minus two game checks. The 49ers ultimately would like to see Foster succeed, but not in Week 7 on Oct. 20, when the club travels to Washington.

Foster certainly will be motivated to make the kind of impact against the 49ers that the club had envisioned him doing for them.

Also, newly signed 49ers linebacker Kwon Alexander faces his former team, Tampa Bay, in Week 1. He is coming back from a torn ACL and hopes to be available to play. Former 49ers punter Bradley Pinion also is now with the Bucs.

New 49ers running back Tevin Coleman faces his old club, Atlanta, in Week 15 at Levi’s Stadium.