49ers notes: Better this year, Hampton's goals, mustaches etc.


49ers notes: Better this year, Hampton's goals, mustaches etc.

SANTA CLARA -- Through one-half of the regular season games last year, the 49ers proudly held a 7-1 record and a commanding lead over their lesser NFC West opponents, who authored a combined five total wins through the ninth week in 2011.

This year, things are different. The 49ers can still be proud of the 6-2 mark they posted in the clubhouse at the turn, but the rest of the division is markedly improved. San Francisco has a 1.5-game lead over the second-place Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals are not far behind.

Though their stranglehold on the division isn't as strong as a year prior, quarterback Alex Smith recently told PFT Live that he believes this year's team is "way better" than last years. Do his teammates feel the same?

Mike Iupati:
"This team is better. We're in the second year of the same playbook, you know. We have weapons. Everything is better."

Jonathan Goodwin:
"It's different every year, man. I think we're better as a team this year. I just think as far as the games we lost, we had some missed assignments so that played a part in us going 6-2. Every year is different, we just lost more games at this point than we did last year.

"I do (think this team is better). I just think everybody has gotten acclimated and used to each other. We've had a year under our belt to get used to playing under this system. So everything is clicking a lot better."

Anthony Davis:
"Different, man. Different year, different team."

Delanie Walker:
"I feel like we're the same team. We just know the playbook a little more. And we're starting to gel. Everybody probably feels a little bit better together this year, just cause we gelled and we know what we can do. This team (would win head-to-head)."

The numbers don't lie. The 49ers offense is on pace for more first downs, yards and touchdowns. Meanwhile their defense has opponents on track to fare worse than last season in those key categories, impressive considering the historic defense the 49ers played a year ago.

RELATED: 49ers stats

Dan Kilgore suffered a concussion on the opening kickoff of the 49ers' Monday night win over the Cardinals on Oct. 26.

Ten days later at practice Tuesday, Kilgore was still sporting the black no-contact jersey.

"We're just taking it slow," Kilgore said. "Not exactly sure what the rules are, but with us taking last week off, we did it just in case."

He sounded as if he was plenty ready for contact.

"I feel good. I'm ready to go."

Jewel Hampton participated in his first 49ers practice Tuesday, wearing No. 33.

RELATED: Hampton returns to practice

The undrafted rookie underwent offseason foot surgery after he suffered an injury midway through his final season with Southern Illinois. He played through the pain en route to 1,121 yards, 17 touchdowns and a three-year deal with the 49ers.

Hampton will have a tough time working his way into San Francisco's backfield that is already crowded enough to keep Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James inactive. But Hampton wasn't shy about his goals.

"I'm all about being on the active roster," Hampton said. "There's no doubt about that. I feel like I can contribute to the team."

What does he see as his strengths?

"Be physical and stay in attack mode at all time."

If the 49ers do not activate him after a three-week window, beginning Tuesday, he would finish the season on the Non-Football Injury list.

Joe Staley is sporting a mustache. But it's no ordinary mustache, it's a "Movember" mustache.

"Movember," if you didn't already know, is an American movement in which males sport mustaches in an effort to raise awareness for men's health issues.

From the official website:
"During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of mens faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo's, these men raise vital awareness and funds for men's health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives."Staley announced his participation with a picture on Nov. 1:

Hello. Mustache time. creepstreet instagr.ampRfyl9kIQWU Joe Staley (@jstaley74) November 1, 2012

He's working on recruiting a few more 49ers for the movement. Brandon Jacbos was hesitant, but Leonard Davis seems to have taken the bait:

Can't believe it,...but I'm supporting Movember. twitter.comTHELEONARDDAVI Leonard Davis (@THELEONARDDAVIS) November 2, 2012

49ers trade up, select QB C.J. Beathard in third round of 2017 NFL Draft

49ers trade up, select QB C.J. Beathard in third round of 2017 NFL Draft

Position: Quarterback
College: Iowa
Height: 6-2
Weight: 219
Selection: Third round, No. 104 overall

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers traded back into the end of the third round to select a quarterback to join Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley on the 49ers' roster.

General manager John Lynch's fourth trade of the draft netted the team the grandson of legendary NFL personnel man Bobby Beathard. His grandson, C.J., joins the 49ers after a four-year career at Iowa. Beathard completed 58.6 percent of his passes last season with 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Beathard was not generally expected to be chosen within the first two days of the draft. He was the sixth quarterback selected, falling behind Mitch Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Deshone Kizer and Davis Webb.

"They won't regret it," Beathard said on a conference call with the Bay Area media.

The 49ers traded up with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings had the No. 104 pick, and called the 49ers to see if they were interested in a trade. After some consideration, the 49ers decided to move up from No. 109 while also giving the Vikings a seventh-round pick at No. 219.

"Might he have been there at 109? That’s what we had to weigh," 49ers John Lynch said. "But at the end of the day, we felt like it was worth it to be able to go to bed knowing that we had a player that we liked and want the opportunity develop at the quarterback position."

And that's what coach Kyle Shanahan plans on doing. He said Beathard is not coming to the team this season to compete with Hoyer for the starting job.

"We’re bringing him in here to develop him and give him a chance, but just like any other position, everyone competes," Shanahan said. "Brian is our starting quarterback and, right now, Matt Barkley is our second. And I look at him to come in and be our third with us only having three on the roster.

"By no means did we come into this draft thinking we’re going to get a guy to compete with Brian."

Shanahan said Beathard and Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman were the two quarterbacks in the draft who ran offenses in college most similar to the offense he will install with the 49ers.

"One thing that helps is being able to see guys play the way you’re going to ask them to play," Shanahan said. "It helps being at Iowa and watching the system he’s in. It’s easier to see to watch him over the years. He’s a three-year starter. He’s led his team to a bunch of wins, especially in 2015 when they had a better team and he played unbelievable."

As a junior at Iowa, Beathard completed 61.6 percent of his pass attempts for 2,809 yards with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions. 

"He’s a leader. He’s tough. He processes very well," Shanahan said. "He's extremely accurate and he lives and dies football."

49ers select CB Ahkello Witherspoon in third round of the 2017 NFL Draft

49ers select CB Ahkello Witherspoon in third round of the 2017 NFL Draft

Position: Cornerback
College: Colorado
Height: 6-2 3/4
Weight: 193
Selection: Third round, No. 66 overall

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers selected Colorado cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, a Sacramento native, in the third round of the NFL draft with the No. 66 overall pick.

“Being close to home is an incredible opportunity, as well as the type of defense they play -- press man, up in your face,” Witherspoon said. “When I came in for a visit, they were asking me if I’ve adopted that role and if I’d be willing to continue that. And I said, ‘Absolutely.’

“It’s an opportunity to play for such a great organization, close to home, with such a savvy defensive mentality. I think it’s going to be a great place for me.”

The 49ers were also scheduled to have the next pick, but traded the selection at No. 67 for the New Orleans Saints’ second-round pick in next year’s draft, as well as a seventh-round selection (No. 229 overall) this year. The 49ers now have 10 picks in next year’s draft.

The Saints used that pick at No. 67 to select Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara.

Witherspoon began his college career at Sacramento City. He played his final three college seasons at Colorado. He started 12 games last season and earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors.

Witherspoon led the nation with 22 pass breakups. He recorded one interception -- a game-saving pick in the end zone to preserve a 41-38 victory over Oregon. A pre-med student majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology, he said he aspires to be a doctor after his football career.

But Witherspoon said he is committed to football and promised the 49ers during his visit to Santa Clara that he will make huge strides over the next few years as he continues to develop as a player.