Aldon Smith: Just Enjoy This Stuff

625104.jpg

Aldon Smith: Just Enjoy This Stuff

SANTA CLARA -- His Twitter name is aldonsmithJETS. And it has nothing to do with the New York football team.JETS, he says, is an acronym for Just Enjoy This Stuff.The 49ers' rookie pass-rusher is certainly enjoying his first NFL season despite a Pro Bowl snub this week. Smith is a half-sack from the single-season rookie record, set by Tennessee's Jevon Kearse at 14.5 in 1999.
"I watched him (Kearse), admired him, but I never talked to him," Smith said Wednesday at his locker. "(We're) both athletic guys who know how to get to the passer."RELATED: Aldon Smith 2011 game logs
Smith's friend and locker neighbor Parys Haralson interjected, "That's what you consider yourself?""Yeah, pretty much," Smith responded, laughing.With 14 sacks, Smith, the No. 7 overall pick in the draft, has set the 49ers rookie record. It's the most sacks a 49ers player has recorded since Chris Doleman had 15 in 1998.Smith is closing out the regular season strong. He has 6.5 sacks in the past four games, beginning with a two-sack performance Dec. 4 against the St. Louis Rams at Candlestick Park.RELATED: NFL sack leaders
Smith's first sack was one of his more impressive of the season. He bull-rushed eight-year veteran Adam Goldberg, knocking him straight back onto the ground en route to the quarterback. Smith is expecting bigger things on Sunday in the regular-season finale."I got to get more than two; got to improve every game," Smith said. "I think probably they know I'm coming, so I have to take advantage of the opportunities that I have."Smith has taken advantage of his opportunities at a high rate this season.He is listed as an outside linebacker, but he rarely played that position as a rookie. Instead, he has been used predominantly as a defensive end when the 49ers shift to a four-man line as part of their nickel pass defense.When asked what position he considers himself, Smith answered, "Outside linebacker-slash-defensive end."And that might be part of the reason Smith was not named to the NFC Pro Bowl team -- or as one of the 49ers' 10 alternates. His position is hard to define. Each of the defensive ends who made the NFC team have more sacks. And he really does not play outside linebacker.RELATED: Why Aldon smith got snubbed
Still, Smith should've been listed somewhere as an alternate. At 21, Smith should have plenty more opportunities for individual honors.
"I can't say I wasn't disappointed, but it's not a big deal," Smith said. "This isn't my last year of playing football."The Pro Bowl is voted on by fans, players and coaches.Smith is a leading candidate for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, along with Denver's Von Miller, who plays every down. The Associated Press polls media members on that award at the end of the season.

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.