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Citrus Bowl: Why 49ers, Raiders fans should watch Kentucky vs. Penn State


Citrus Bowl: Why 49ers, Raiders fans should watch Kentucky vs. Penn State

The end of the 2018 regular season means it's time for playoff football. Well, not for the 49ers and Raiders. For the Bay Area, it's NFL draft season.

When Kentucky takes the field Tuesday against Penn State, one player could be an option for either the 49ers or Raiders with their top pick. Plus, there's two others the Bay Area should pay attention to in the Citrus Bowl. 

Josh Allen, OLB/DE, Kentucky 

Will Allen be the 49ers' selection with the No. 2 pick in the draft? He very well could be. But if he falls to No. 4, the Raiders could jump at the chance of adding him. 

Allen is the exact kind of prospect both teams badly need. And they'll both get an front-row view of him at the Senior Bowl

The All-American has 21 sacks over the last two years and 29 tackles for loss in that span. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report has him going to the 49ers in his post-regular season mock draft, saying the 6-foot-5, 260-pounder is "the next best move (after Nick Bosa) for a team desperate to add a pass rush."

Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State

The 49ers should hope Oruwariye falls to the second round. They finished the regular season last in the NFL with only two interceptions and need to add to their cornerback depth with too many question marks. 

Oruwariye has great size for the position at 6-1 and 203 pounds, and as The Draft Network points out, he "anticipates route breaks and combinations at a high level." 

Over the last two seasons, Oruwariye has seven interceptions and 18 passes defensed. While he isn't seen as a No. 1 need, the rangy corner is actually predicted to go to the Raiders with the team's third pick in the first round, according to CBS Sports' latest mock draft

Here’s how 49ers and Raiders fans can watch Kentucky play Penn State in the Citrus Bowl:

When: Tuesday, Jan. 1, at 10 a.m. PT
TV Channel: ABC
Live Stream: ABC Go App

49ers to honor Dwight Clark with helmet decal, statue outside Levi's Stadium

49ers to honor Dwight Clark with helmet decal, statue outside Levi's Stadium

SANTA CLARA – Dwight Clark helped launch the 49ers’ dynasty of the 1980s when he leaped high into the air to come down with “The Catch.”

The 49ers will permanently pay tribute to Clark at the apex of his finger-tip grab with a statue outside the gates of Levi’s Stadium, the club announced during a private event Tuesday night.

The event featured a preview of the documentary, “Letters to 87,” which will air commercial-free on Tuesday, Aug. 21, on NBC Sports Bay Area at 8 p.m. (following Giants Postgame Live). The documentary highlights Clark’s bond with his fans, as signified by an outpouring of heartfelt letters he received after he was diagnosed with ALS.

Team president Al Guido announced the different ways the 49ers will honor Clark, who passed away on June 4 after a two-year battle with the disease. The club announced it plans to honor Clark on the date 8/7 every year. Clark, of course, wore the No. 87.

“It’s what we’re considering now Dwight Clark Day,” Guido said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

The 49ers on Sunday, Oct. 21, will unveil statues depicting Clark’s leap and Joe Montana’s pass on the play that propelled the 49ers to their first Super Bowl title. The 49ers’ nationally televised night game against the Los Angeles Rams will serve as the backdrop for a number of Clark tributes.

Clark’s statue will feature him suspended in mid-air with his hands outstretched 11 feet above the ground. Montana’s arms are raised to signify a touchdown. The statues are 23 yards apart – the same distance the ball traveled from Montana to Clark, who made "The Catch" in the back of the end zone in the NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys on Jan. 10, 1982. The statues weigh 350 pounds apiece.

All 49ers players will wear “87” helmet decals throughout the season. The same logo, which includes a silhouette of Clark’s signature leap, will be featured on the field bunting behind the north end zone.

“Almost four decades ago, Dwight Clark’s miraculous catch launched the San Francisco 49ers into an era of excellence,” 49ers CEO Jed York said. “Since that time, he has served as an inspirational figure to citizens of the Bay Area and beyond. Dwight has meant so much to so many and it is only fitting that our organization continues to carry on his wonderful legacy.

“The 2018 season provides us a tremendous opportunity to celebrate the life of a very special man, while also raising awareness for the Golden Heart Fund, which was so dear to his heart. Dwight lived his life with great compassion for others, and we want to honor that legacy by raising funds to support his 49ers brothers.”

The 49ers also received permission from the NFL to mark the location of Clark’s catch in the north end zone with an “87” painted into the end zone for the Oct. 21 game against the Rams.

The game against the Rams will serve as the 49ers’ annual Alumni Game, with funds being raised throughout the weekend for the Golden Heart Fund. The fund was established in 2016 to support 49ers alumni in need of financial, medical, psychological or emotional support. The Golden Heart Fund was Clark's charity of choice.

Jerry Rice took part in the event on Tuesday night, as he modeled a coyote fur coat Clark famously wore at the 49ers’ first Super Bowl parade in San Francisco, following the 1981 season. Clark’s brother, Jeff, donated the coat for display at the 49ers Museum.

49ers Day 3 2018 NFL Draft Tracker

49ers Day 3 2018 NFL Draft Tracker

First round (No. 9): OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
Second round (No. 44): WR Dante Pettis, Washington
Third round (No. 70): LB Fred Warner, BYU
Third round (No. 95): DB Tarvarius Moore, Southern Mississippi
Fourth round (No. 128): DE Kentavius Street, North Carolina State
Fifth round (No. 142): CB D.J. Reed, Kansas State
Sixth round (No. 184): S Marcell Harris, Florida
Seventh round (No. 223): DT Jullian Taylor, Temple
Seventh round (No. 240): WR Richie James, Middle Tennessee State

* * *

The 49ers enter Day 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft with five picks. Keep track of who they add to their roster right here.

Position: Defensive line
College: North Carolina State
Height: 6-2
Weight: 280
Selection: Fourth round (No. 128 overall)
Scouting report: Street started 34 games over his final three college seasons. As a senior in 2017, he recorded 38 tackles, 6.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks, three pass break-ups, and two fumble recoveries. compares Street to 49ers defensive lineman Ronald Blair. He tore his ACL in a pre-draft workout.
​Projected role: This is a redshirt pick for the 49ers, as Street is not being expected to make a contribution as a rookie. The 49ers failed miserably with picks of this nature during Trent Baalke’s time as general manager. Arik Armstead is in the final year of his contract, and the 49ers still have to decide whether to pick up his fifth-year option for the 2019 season.
“It never was so much shock and disappointment. I just knew it was another challenge put ahead of me. I knew I was going to be able to overcome it. I’ve been blessed throughout my whole career not to really have injuries and stuff. This is another challenge God has put in front of me, and I’m going to overcome it. . . I’ve conquered bigger things in my life” – Kentavius Street on the ACL injury he sustained in pre-draft workout with the New York Giants (he underwent surgery on April 17).

“As far as an athlete, I feel like I’m a well-balanced guy. I feel like I’m really stout against the run. Violent hands. Low-pad level. Against the pass, I just use my quickness, instincts, and try to time it with the snap. A lot of it is just studying the offensive linemen I play. I feel like that plays a vital role in how I play, just knowing my opponent. The rest will come natural on game day” –Street.

“I feel like he’s a really good player. He’s probably the best offensive tackle I played since I was in college. He’s a well-balanced player. Good hands. Good pad level. He was consistent” – Street on new 49ers teammate Mike McGlinchey, against whom he played in college.

“In these deals, you think short term and you think long term, and you look at your entire roster. One of the areas we came into this draft with was the idea of the big end who plays over the tight end and a three-technique and getting a little bigger. He’s a guy who provides that for us. We really had him, if you took away the injury, a third-round rated guy for us. ” – 49ers general manager John Lynch.

“We’re not trying to make popular picks, we’re trying to make good picks. We were very convicted that this is just that. . . When you find a guy you really like, sometimes you just have to be patient. We’re willing to be patient if it’s worth it and we feel like it’s worth it, in this case” – Lynch.

* * * 

Position: Cornerback
College: Kansas State
Height: 5-9
Weight: 188
Selection: Fifth round (No. 142 overall)
Scouting report: Known as a hard worker, the Bakersfield native bounced around in his college career. He attended Fresno State and Cerritos College before ending up at Kansas State. Reed led the Big 12 and ranked fifth in college football with 19 passes defended as a junior. He had three interceptions. He repeated as a first-team All-Big 12 pick in 2017 as both a defensive back and return man. He had one touchdown apiece on punt and kickoff returns. In 2016, Reed was named the conference’s Defensive Newcomer of the Year.
Projected role: The 49ers like veteran K’Waun Williams as a nickel back, but Reed will come and see if he can earn a roster spot and role. He can also be a factor in the return game, too, but will have to compete against Dante Pettis and Trent Taylor. This is a draft pick to improve the back end of their roster.
“When I got the call and they said, ‘We’re going to draft you; we love your film.’ I’m going to play on the inside, so whatever I can do to help the team win, I’m going to do it” -- D.J. Reed.

“I’m a playmaker, man” -- Reed.

“That’s what I’m talking about D.J.! Sorry, buddy, it’s John Lynch. I just walked in on these (media) guys. I like that. A playmaker!” – 49ers GM John Lynch, interrupting the media’s conference call with Reed.

“I’m a lockdown corner, first and foremost. I don’t get scored on. And I get interceptions. I’m a physical tackler. I create turnovers, which is the main thing. I also do every well in kick returns and punt returns. I feel like I’m the whole package” – Reed.

“He’s a guy we’re extremely excited about. We talk a lot about profiles. He’s not the profile fit, in terms of his height. The interesting thing about him, he’s about 5-9 ½, but he’s got 32-inch arms, so he makes up for that. He can play some nickel and free safety, we think he can hold up at outside corner. He’s done that at K State. He’s another great punt returner. We got a lot of those, and that’s a good thing" -- Lynch.

* * * 

Position: Safety
College: Florida
Height: 6-1
Weight: 216
Selection: Sixth round (No. 184 overall)
Scouting report: He missed the entire 2017 season – his fifth year at Florida -- with a torn Achilles sustained before fall camp. He had a breakout season in 2016 with eight starts while appearing in 13 games. He has NFL size and plays with aggressive. He is a hard-hitter in the middle of the field.
Projected role: The 49ers have plenty of time to allow Harris to completely recover, as he does not figure to have much of a chance to break into the defensive rotation as a rookie. The 49ers on Friday signed starting free safety Jaquiski Tartt through the 2020 season. When healthy, Harris could be a big contributor on special teams while eventually working as a box safety.
“Emotionally, you kind of get down, honestly, because you plan to have a big season ahead of you. But you stay dedicated to the focus and the game and how you’re going to come back and be better than you were before that even happened” – Marcell Harris on sustaining the torn Achilles (he said he was medically cleared before the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

“At safety, you got to do both. You got to be able to play the run. You got to be able to guard tight ends. It doesn’t matter what it is” –Harris.

“I knew I was the hardest-hitting safety in the SEC. But at the same time, you got to go out and prove it. I went against some of the best guys: Leonard Fournette, (Derrius) Guice, those guys over there at Georgia. You name it. There’s nobody we haven’t gone against – nobody I haven’t stopped. I’m definitely the hardest-hitting safety in the SEC. If you can name one better – one that hits harder – let me know” – Harris.

“He’s a thumper at the safety position, a guy who has a presence on the field, great tracking angles back there, makes his presence felt. He’s coming off an Achilles injury, but we feel is on pace to be ready for training camp” -- Lynch.

We had some slots open at safety, wanted to fill some there and felt Marcell Harris was a guy who fits what we want out of that strong safety position. Safeties, if you’re not a starter you better be a really good special-teams player. He’s a great one” – Lynch.

* * *

Position: Defensive tackle
College: Temple
Height: 6-5
Weight: 280
Selection: Seventh round (No. 223 overall)
Scouting report: He spent just one season as a full-time player after being limited in 2015 and ’16 due to injuries, including a torn ACL. He ran 4.83 seconds at his pro day with 31 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. Taylor had his best game against undefeated Central Florida, recording 10 tackles, eight solo, with 4.5 tackles for loss.
Projected role: Taylor will join the competition on the 49ers’ defensive line, where he will compete for a spot on the 53-man roster. Taylor is a good athlete whom the 49ers could look to develop with a role in the practice squad.
“One of the goals was to get a little bigger on the D-line at those big end, three-technique positions. He’s a guy who gives you that and also ran a 4.89. So he can move for a big boy and has some suddenness to him. So we liked him for that” – Lynch.

“We’re picking in the seventh round, so there aren’t too many players of his size and his ability at that point. We like that about Jullian, and we didn’t hesitate to make him a Niner” – Lynch.

“We went through a time with D-lineman – where we had some depth last year – but there was time when we had (Leger Douzable) who just came in off the street and he’s our leading play-time guy because he could play inside and outside and did a heck of a job for us. You have to stockpile those kinds of guys” – 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan.  

* * *

Position: Wide receiver
College: Middle Tennessee State
Height: 5-9
Weight: 176
Selection: Seventh round (No. 240 overall)
Scouting report: He turned pro after a junior season in which he appeared in just five games due to injuries. He missed time with an ankle injury before sustaining a season-ending fractured collarbone. In 31 career games, he caught 244 passes for 3,261 yards and 23 touchdowns. He is also a top-flight return man. After being named first-team All-Conference USA in back-to-back seasons, he entered his junior year on the preseason watch lists for the Biletnikoff and Hornung awards.
Projected role: James faces a difficult chore to win a roster spot. He has some versatility as a wide receiver, as he plays bigger than his size. But his odds of making the 53-man roster will likely depend on how well he establishes himself on special teams.
“To bring him in and compete with everyone. He has the capability of doing a number of things. We’ll probably start him out at X (split end) because of his speed and size. I think he can play inside for us, too. He has the speed to run some of the similar routes as Marquise (Goodwin) and to give us some other options behind him. He can run and plays physical, which we think can relate to special teams, which gives him a chance to make the team” – Shanahan.

“He’s just a fearless player. He has a lot of will that shows up on tape, has a little swagger to him” -- Lynch.