49ers

Clemson QB Watson, a potential 49ers QB target, opts for draft

Clemson QB Watson, a potential 49ers QB target, opts for draft

After a remarkable performance against a defense that was talked about as being among the best in college football history, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson announced he is turning pro.

"It's my time to go," Watson told reporters Monday night after leading Clemson to a 35-31 victory over previously unbeaten Alabama in the national title game.

The 49ers own the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. If the 49ers have not filled their need for a potential franchise quarterback after the first seven weeks of the new league year with a free agent or trade, Watson figures to be in the conversation as an early draft pick.

Watson completed 36 of 56 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns against Alabama. He also gained 43 yards and a touchdown rushing.

The winning points came with :01 remaining when Watson found Hunter Renfrow on a 2-yard touchdown pass to cap a nine-play, 68-yard drive that took 2 minutes, 6 seconds.

As Clemson’s full-time starter in 2015 and ’16, Watson completed 67.4 percent of his pass attempts while averaging 8.1 yards per attempt with 76 touchdown passes and 30 interceptions.

North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, who also figures to get consideration for the No. 1 quarterback in the draft, announced Monday he is foregoing his senior season, too.

Texas A&M pass-rusher Myles Garrett is widely considered the top NFL prospect in the draft. The Cleveland Browns have No. 1 overall pick. ESPN recently reported, citing a source close to the situation, the Browns have an “astronomical grade” on Garrett.
 

Can John Lynch, John Elway make a deal?

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AP

Can John Lynch, John Elway make a deal?

SANTA CLARA – The general managers are good friends. And, this week, they are getting a unique, unfiltered chance to evaluate players who might be available on each other’s team.

John Lynch, the 49ers’ first-year general manager, and Denver Broncos GM John Elway have spoken this week about needs and which players might be available on the trade market.

The 49ers have good depth on their defensive line, where a player such as Quinton Dial might have a difficult time making the 53-man roster due to the change to a 4-3 scheme. They could use some help at offensive guard.

“It’s kind of that time of year, where people are calling and saying, ‘Hey, you’re strong here, we’re strong here. Let’s just kind of keep these things in mind.’ And, this is a great opportunity to do that,” Lynch said.

The 49ers and Broncos went through a two-hour, fully padded joint practice behind Levi’s Stadium on Wednesday. The teams will go through another practice together Thursday with helmets and shells. It is an opportunity for both general managers to see which bubble players on the other team could make a difference with his own team.

“We did have some of those discussions,” Lynch said. “The greatest thing is lots of times you’re throwing on (film of) a preseason game. We get a chance for three days to look at some people we might be interested in. So you’re always doing that. I think they’re doing that as well and it’s another productive thing out of this week.”

The 49ers engaged in trade talks involving tight end Vance McDonald during the draft. Any team that trades for McDonald would owe him a guaranteed $2.1 million for the upcoming season. He is signed through 2021.

McDonald, however, has worked his way into strong consideration for a spot on the 53-man roster with an impressive training camp.

“I think what I’ve been thoroughly impressed, as has Kyle [Shanahan] and everybody around here, how Vance has responded to that,” Lynch said. “I thought last week against Kansas City was a great example. Even though it didn’t show up on the stat sheet, it’s as good as I’ve seen him block, and he did it consistently and he competed extremely hard.”

McDonald, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell face stiff challenges to hold onto their roster spots with the additions of newcomers Logan Paulsen and rookies George Kittle and Cole Hikutini.

49ers designate two linebackers waived/injured

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USATSI

49ers designate two linebackers waived/injured

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers are expected to replenish their linebacker to help the team get through upcoming practices and their final three exhibition games.

The 49ers on Wednesday created two roster spots to sign replacements, as the team designated linebackers Donavin Newsom and Jayson DiManche as waived/injured.

General manager John Lynch said the designation was a formality for Newsom, who will revert back to the 49ers after clearing waivers. Newsom will remain under contract to the 49ers after going on injured reserve.

“He’s doing better each day,” Lynch said. “We’re going to put him on injured reserve. It will come across the wire procedurally as a waived-injured, but he’s going to be on injured reserve. And talking with our doctors, he got great care up here at Stanford. It’s the best thing for the kid. Give him time to really get right. So, (I) had a good talk with him this morning.”

Newsom, an undrafted rookie from Colorado, sustained a serious concussion on Aug. 8 and was taken by ambulance off the practice field to Stanford Hospital. He spent two nights in the hospital as a precaution.

DiManche was signed last week and participated in seven plays on defense and 15 on special teams before sustaining a hamstring injury in the 49ers’ exhibition opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. Newly signed linebacker Sean Porter sustained a quadriceps injury in the game against the Chiefs and has also not been available to practice.