Five 49ers to watch: 2. Anthony Davis


Five 49ers to watch: 2. Anthony Davis

(This is the fourth part in a series that spotlights five 49ers players to watch in the team's exhibition game Sunday, 1 p.m. (FOX-TV), at the Denver Broncos.)
No. 5 --Ikaika Alama-FrancisNo. 4 --Anthony DixonNo. 3 -- Perrish CoxRight tackle Anthony Davis is not fighting for a roster spot. He is not fighting for a starting job, either.
Davis is entrenched as the starter, and should be ready for a breakout season. His pass protection looks better, as working in the 49ers' entire offseason conditioning program has him in better shape and more sound with his technique than at any point in the past.Yes, it's the exhibition season. But there's nothing inconsequential about these games for offensive linemen. Hits on the quarterback are just as dangerous -- and hurt just as much -- as they do in the regular season.The starters are expected to play longer Sunday for the 49ers and Broncos. So that means Davis will be entrusted to block Von Miller, the reigning NFL DefensiveRookie of the Year, for a long period of time. Miller recorded 11.5 sacks last season.Miller's quickness off the snap, combined with the possibility of crowd noise that could make it difficult for the tackles to hear Smith's cadence, will provide a major challenge for Davis."I think everybody in the NFL is pretty quick," Davis said. "But I know what you mean. He's exceptionally quick."Pass protection was a problem in the 49ers' exhibition game against the Houston Texans, though the offensive line was generally not to blame. Guard Mike Iupati allowed one hit on the quarterback. Running back Kendall Hunter did not pick up a blitz, and Alex Smith admitted making bad decisions that left him exposed.Left tackle Joe Staley will be equally tested on the other side against Broncos' edge rusher Elvis Dumervil."With crowd noise behind them, it will be great work for us," 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "It will really be good work for us. I think just the way their defense is built right now with those two players coming off the edges, it's tremendous work for us. We have to be on our 'A' game."

49ers scheduled to meet with Garrett, the likely No. 1 overall pick

49ers scheduled to meet with Garrett, the likely No. 1 overall pick

The 49ers have a visit scheduled with the presumptive top pick in the upcoming draft.

The 49ers, owners of the No. 2 overall selection, will visit with Texas A&M pass-rusher Myles Garrett, he told reporters Thursday at this pro day, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

General manager John Lynch attended Garrett's pro day workout in College Station, Texas.

"I thought it was impressive," Lynch told Wilson in a video posted on social media. "Here’s this kid who really doesn’t need to show everyone much more, but yet he shows up and runs a 40. I think it just speaks to the kind of kid he is. It was impressive. It’s well-documented – I’m not saying anything ground-breaking – he’s a special athlete.

"He checks all the boxes. That’s why people are talking about him in the way they are."

Garrett said he has upcoming visits with the 49ers and Chicago Bears.

Each NFL team is allowed to bring in 30 draft-eligible prospects from outside their area. The 49ers have their list of 30 prospects already finalized, Lynch said.

In addition, teams can visit with an unlimited number of local prospects. The 49ers’ local pro day -- featuring athletes from Stanford, Cal, San Jose State and prospects from the Bay Area who played college football elsewhere – is scheduled for April 12 in Santa Clara.

The Cleveland Browns hold the No. 1 overall pick, and coach Hue Jackson ruled out the possibility of the team trading that selection for a quarterback. Garrett is considered the overwhelming favorite to be chosen with the No. 1 overall selection.

"We're getting closer to it but the draft is the 27th (of April),'' Jackson said at the NFL owners meetings. "I think it's a little soon to really say it's this guy or that guy.”

Garrett (6 foot 4, 272 pounds) recorded 31 sacks and 47 tackles for loss during his three-year college career.

Kyle Shanahan: 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garcon plays angry

Kyle Shanahan: 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garcon plays angry

Among the players the 49ers first targeted for their rebuilding project is a wide receiver who has nine years of NFL experience and turns 31 early in training camp.

Coach Kyle Shanahan pinpointed Pierre Garçon to be his top addition at wide receiver. Garçon is coming off the second 1,000-yard season of his career. His career-best output came was his 113-catch, 1,346-yard season in 2014 with Shanahan as Washington's offensive coordinator.

“I’ve always loved Pierre just because of how angry he plays,” Shanahan said at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix. “He gives you his all. He plays extremely aggressive. The best leaders are the guys who lead by example. Pierre’s not going to say much, but you know he’s going to go out there and fight every single play no matter what the situation is, whether it’s run or pass. That elevates everyone around him.”

Within the first two days of free agency, the 49ers signed Garçon, Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson. The 49ers had earlier signed slot receiver Jeremy Kerley to an extension, while not pursuing Quinton Patton, who signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets.

“You go into free agency and you study all the free agents who are available and then you stack them and see who can help you team the most,” Shanahan said. “Pierre was at the top of that list. Also knowing him made me feel better about that because you know exactly what you’re getting.

“But it all starts with the tape. It was very encouraging to turn on the tape and watch the level Pierre is still playing at. When you see that on tape and you also know the type the guy. I was very excited to get him.”