Akers hits NFL 'hole in one,' books flight to Canton

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Akers hits NFL 'hole in one,' books flight to Canton

SANTA CLARA -- The Pro Football Hall of Fame wants David Akers' shoe, but the 49ers' placekicker isn't quite done nailing field goals with in, so Canton will have to make do with a trade.

Akers made NFL history when his 63-yard field goal before halftime of the 49ers' win Sunday clanged off the post and through the uprights; he joined Tom Dempsey (1970), Jason Elam (1998) and Sebastian Janikowski (2011) as the only kickers to accomplish a successful attempt from such a distance.

Akers, who likened the opportunity to hitting a hole in one as a golfer, referred to the kick as his "own little miracle." Off his foot, he didn't think he hit it right, and was expecting to come up short. His fears looked to be realized when the ball hit the post.

"Most of my kicks that have hit the post in years past," Akers explained, "Make that lovely sound like we heard, and then it comes bouncing back onto the field.

"Alright, that's going to be great. You hit it 63 (yards) and you came up an inch short."

MAIOCCO: Even Akers' record-tying kick was a group effort

This time, though, the football gods were with Akers as the ball continued on its path through the uprights, securing him -- or at least his shoe -- in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Akers can do with the prized football as he pleases. He had the ball in the 49ers locker room on Tuesday, although it won't be around for long. It is being sent directly to Canton, Ohio for temporary enshrinement in Pro Football Hall of Fame's "Hall of Fame Now" display.

"Going to Canton," Akers explained when asked where the ball was. "That's pretty cool."

The Hall of Fame wants the shoe that Akers used on the kick, but it's -- clearly -- well worked in and he's not ready to part with it. Akers will begin to work in another shoe so that he can give the Hall what they want. After the season, the ball will be returned to Akers. The shoe, though, will eventually live in Canton for years to come. Fair trade.

Akers doesn't expect to attempt too many more from that distance, but it is a distance he practices from, both in Santa Clara -- where the team uses skinny uprights -- and before games.

"We hit 60 going that way and hit 59 going the other way (in warmups)," Akers said. "I usually stop at midfield and see if I have the distance. Did I strike it well? Did it go in? Or did I just not have a chance? We had plenty to make on both sides."

While it was Akers who will go down in history, he was quick to credit the offensive line, who held the Packers back and gave him the required pocket to get off what he described as his "three iron." Indeed, the feet was a team effort.

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

C.J. BEATHARD
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

AHKELLO WITHERSPOON
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.