Draft could yield 49ers returns


Draft could yield 49ers returns

With the first wave -- and then some -- of free agency concluded, the 49ers are a team with few vacancies on the depth chart.Alex Smith has committed to return, so the 49ers will have the same three quarterbacks that ended last season on the roster.The defense remains entirely intact with the recent moves to re-up cornerback Carlos Rogers and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks.The only missing starter from a year ago is at right guard. Incumbent Adam Snyder was allowed to walk, as he accepted a five-year contract from the Arizona Cardinals. Daniel Kilgore will compete for the starting job against an opponentteammate to be named later.Perhaps the biggest need is at punt returner. Ted Ginn has taken free-agent visits to Detroit, Baltimore and Minnesota. He is looking for an opportunity to be more than just a "return specialist." And, obviously, the 49ers can't feel too secure with Kyle Williams handling the return duties.
There aren't many (or any) options available in free agency, so the 49ers might wait until the last weekend in April to find their return man in the draft."There are a handful of those players who can step in immediately and return punts in the NFL," said Wes Bunting of the National Football Post.Here's are a look at the top candidates:
Pos: Wide receiver School: Arkansas Height: 5-10 58
Weight: 179 Speed: 4.51-4.59 Vertical: 36 inches
The 49ers can't wait any longer than the second round to select Adams, who is the best return man in the draft."He is the cream of the crop," Bunting said. "He's a good wide receiver -- a better receiver than Ted Ginn, so he'd play right away on offense, too. He could play in the slot. The 49ers could use him like the Eagles use DeSean Jackson -- line him up off the line of scrimmage and run those deep crossing routes. He can play outside, as well."He averaged 16.9 yards on his 19 returns with four touchdowns. His touchdown return against Tennessee was an all-timer (check it out on YouTube).KESHAWN MARTIN
Pos: Wide receiver School: Michigan State Height: 5-11 12
Weight: 188 Speed: 4.42-4.44 Vertical: 39 12 inches

Martin, whom Bunting describes as a "poor man's Joe Adams," could be available to the 49ers in the third or fourth rounds. He also has value as a receiver, as he caught 66 passes for 777 yards and four touchdowns as a senior. Martin averaged 11.0 yards on 25 returns last season with one touchdown.
Pos: Wide receiver School: Fresno State Height: 5-9 12
Weight: 187 Speed: 4.38-4.42 Vertical: 39 inches

Like Martin, he could be a third- or fourth-round target. Wylie caught 56 passes for 716 yards and one touchdown as a fifth-year senior. (He sat out 2010 with a stress fracture in his foot.) Prototypical slot receiver: Very fast, accelerates quickly. Wylie averaged 15.4 yards on 29 returns with two touchdowns last season.

Pos: Wide receiver School: Miami Height: 5-9 78
Weight: 172 Speed: 4.31-4.37 Vertical: 38 inches

As a late-round option, Benjamin has tremendous speed. He caught 41 passes for 609 yards (14.9 average) and three touchdowns as a senior. His quick feet and ability to make the first man miss should enable him to be a dangerous return man. Benjamin averaged 11.0 yards on 11 returns last season.

Foster named 49ers starter -- likely for a long, long time


Foster named 49ers starter -- likely for a long, long time

SANTA CLARA -- Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster was promoted into the starting lineup with the season-ending injury to veteran Malcolm Smith.

The 49ers have reason to expect him to remain a starter for a long, long time.

Coach Kyle Shanahan on Tuesday said Foster was the starter at the team’s weakside linebacker position, alongside NaVorro Bowman. But he added, tthe onus is on Foster to hold onto that position.

“He could get beat out at any time,” Shanahan said. “If our guys behind him, we’ve got some good players behind him too, if they started performing at a higher level than him, then that wouldn’t be the case.”

The 49ers released their unofficial depth chart ahead of Saturday’s exhibition game against the Denver Broncos. The depth chart does not reflect the team’s decision to switch seventh-round draft pick Adrian Colbert from cornerback to free safety.

Also, veteran Tim Barnes is listed at left guard. He started all 32 games the past two seasons with the Rams at center. He is the team’s backup center, but his ability to also fill in at guard could determine whether he wins a spot on the 53-man roster.

The depth chart does not list nickel back or slot receiver. K'Waun Williams is ahead of Will Redmond as the nickel back, and Jeremy Kerley is ahead of Trent Taylor as the team's slot receiver.

Guard Joshua Garnett and safety Jimmie Ward are listed as starters despite being unavailable due to injuries. Garnett is expected back near the start of the regular season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to clean up cartilage in his knee. Ward remains on physically unable to perform while rehabbing from a hamstring injry.

WR: Pierre Garçon, Jeremy Kerley, Trent Taylor/Aaron Burbridge, DeAndre Smelter/Kendrick Bourne
LT: Joe Staley, John Theus, Darrell Williams
LG: (Joshua Garnett), Zane Beadles, Tim Barnes, Erik Mangnuson
C: Daniel Kilgore, JP Flynn
RG: Brandon Fusco, Norman Price, Andrew Gardner
RT: Trent Brown, Garry Gilliam, Andrew Lauderdale
TE: Vance McDonald, George Kittle, Logan Paulsen/Blake Bell, Garrett Celek/Cole Hikutini
WR: Marquise Goodwin, Aldrick Robinson, Victor Bolden/DeAndre Carter, Tim Patrick/Louis Murphy
RB: Carlos Hyde, Tim Hightower, Joe Williams/Kapri Bibbs, Raheem Mostert/Matt Breida
FB: Kyle Juszczyk, Tyler McCloskey
QB: Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley, C.J. Beathard, Nick Mullens

LDE: Arik Armstead, Elvis Dumervil, Aaron Lynch, Ronald Blair
LDT: Earl Mitchell, Quinton Dial, D.J. Jones
RDT: DeForest Buckner, Chris Jones, Noble Nwachukwu, Leger Douzable
RDE: Tank Carradine, Solomon Thomas,
SAM: Ahmad Brooks, Eli Harold, Dekoda Watson, Pita Taumoepenu
MIKE: NaVorro Bowman, Brock Coyle, Donavin Newsom
WILL: Reuben Foster, Ray-Ray Armstrong, Austin Calitro, Sean Porter
LCB: Rashard Robinson, K’Waun Williams/Will Redmond, Prince Charles Iworah, Asa Jackson
RCB: Dontae Johnson, Keith Reaser, Ahkello Witherspoon/Will Davis, Adrian Colbert
FS: (Jimmie Ward), Vinnie Sunseri, Lorenzo Jerome
SS: Eric Reid, Jaquiski Tartt, Don Jones

P: Bradley Pinion
K: Robbie Gould, Nick Rose
H: Bradley Pinion
PR: Jeremy Kerley, DeAndre Carter/Trent Taylor
KOR: Raheem Mostert, Victor Bolden
LS: Kyle Nelson

Paraag Marathe: I understand if 49ers fans say, 'How come he's been there?'


Paraag Marathe: I understand if 49ers fans say, 'How come he's been there?'

Paraag Marathe is entering his 17th year with the 49ers.

Back in mid-January, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wrote the following:

The impediment to attracting their preferred candidates isn’t owner Jed York; apparently, it’s Chief Strategy Officer and EVP of Football Operations Paraag Marathe.

On Tuesday morning, Marathe joined The Murph & Mac Show on KNBR 680 and was asked about combating those kinds of claims.

"I've got a lot of great relationships in this league and a lot of great friends in this league ... all I can do is do the best job that I can and focus on what I think is right," Marathe said. "And know that the sun rises and the sun sets and just focus on that."

Has Marathe had to train himself to develop thick skin?

[REWIND: Marathe: My job is to stay in my lane, help the coach and GM]

"Sure it's frustrating, right? But at the same time, I gotta say I get it, too," he answered. "We've had a lot of turnover, we haven't had winning seasons recently and I'm one of the one constants. I've been here.

"I'm not just an employee here. I'm also a fan of the team. I have been my whole life. So I get it. I understand fans' frustrations. If I was a fan and I didn't know, I would also say, 'Hey, well Paraag's been here the whole time. How come he's been there? What's he have to do with it?'

"I get that, too. Ultimately, we're judged on wins and losses and I'm a part of that. And hopefully I'm a part of the solution of getting this thing turned around."

As NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco wrote back in February:

A year ago, Marathe officially was replaced as team president and became the 49ers’ chief strategy officer and executive vice president of football operations. His duties with the football team have not changed.

In fact, York and Marathe roles with the organization took on a much-greater significance after the decision was made to fire coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke.