Gannon: Harbaugh says Randy Moss 'our best receiver'

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Gannon: Harbaugh says Randy Moss 'our best receiver'

The Randy Moss gamble is already starting to pay off.According to Rich Gannon, Moss is trying to be a leaderand set a good example for Michael Crabtree and the 49ers other youngreceivers.On the field, Moss has impressed head coach Jim Harbaugh aswell.(Harbaugh) said, This offseason hes been incredible,Gannon said while hosting The SiriusXM Blitz show. He said, Hes our bestreceiver right now.RELATED: 'Randy freakin' Moss' impresses Harbaugh, teammates
Although 49ers fans may need to see some proof on the field,thats a promising sign that Moss may have regained some of the skills anddrive that led him to six Pro Bowl appearances.Gannon and Harbaugh have had a relationship since Harbaughwas an offensive assistant with the Raiders in 2002. Gannon won the AP NFL MVPaward that year as Oaklandsquarterback.Equally important for a player with the history Moss has,Gannon said Moss has bought in to what Harbaugh wants him to do.When (Harbaugh) first sat down with Randy, he talked abouthis past, Gannon said. He just really laid it on the line, what theexpectations were, how they practice, how they prepare, what the meetings aregoing to be like and really what they are expecting from Randy.At the end of the meeting, Randy turned to Jim Harbaugh andsaid, Coach, what do you want me to do? What can I do for you? And Jim lookedat him and said, You know what, for starters Id like you to sit in the frontrow of my meetings.Moss has complied with that request, Gannon said, sitting inthe front row for every team meeting, even taking notes. By doing so, Moss hasset a trend for the 49ers wide receivers.(Harbaugh) said, By doing that, its brought guys like (Michael)Crabtree, who would hang out in the back, and some of these other young guys,now theyre sitting up front with Randy Moss, Gannon said. They dont havethe hoodies on anymore. Theyre alert. Theyre paying attention.Randy is trying to do the right things. Randy is trying tobe a leader. Hes trying to set a good example for these young players.Gannon said this team-first attitude of Moss is a sign thathe recognizes what Harbaugh needs him to do and what hell get out of that inreturn.It gets back to what the expectations are. Jim Harbaugh,not a ton of rules, but what the expectations are for a pro like Randy, Gannonsaid. Im here to help you. We can get you back to playing like you did acouple of years ago. You can be a huge addition for our offense. You can helpus in the vertical passing game.This is a contract between two people. Heres what Imgoing to do for you. Heres what you need to do for me. And so far Randy Mosshas bought in.In the seasons that Moss has bought in to what his coacheswanted him to do, he has been one of the NFLs best wide receivers. Moss brokeJerry Rices record for touchdown receptions in a season in his first year withthe New England Patriots, catching 23 touchdown passes in 2007. He has averagedmore than 80 receiving yards per game in six of his 13 NFL seasons.Moss hasnt done so, however, since 2007.

49ers: Solomon Thomas capable of playing anywhere on D-line

49ers: Solomon Thomas capable of playing anywhere on D-line

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers selected defensive linemen with their top picks in the final two drafts under general manager Trent Baalke.

The 49ers fired Baalke at the conclusion of the team’s 2-14 season, and new general manager John Lynch stepped into a tear-down project.

That complete rebuild began Thursday evening with Lynch’s selection of another defensive lineman. The 49ers traded back one spot and selected Solomon Thomas of Stanford with the No. 3 overall pick.

“We see a special football player, disruptive football player, who has tremendous versatility,” Lynch said. “I think he fits in with the current group that we have because he’s a little different than the guys we have. And when I think of Solomon, I think of speed and quickness and disruption.”

The 49ers expect to play more of an aggressive, attacking style of defense under first-year coordinator Robert Saleh. Perhaps, the team’s biggest need is at the “Leo” position, the weak side end that is considered more of a pass-rusher.

Thomas appears better-suited at the other end or at a defensive tackle position, but the 49ers are keeping an open mind about using him at nearly every spot along the defensive line in the team’s new 4-3 scheme.

“There are four defensive linemen and what’s intriguing about Solomon is he has the ability to play all four of them,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “That’s what makes him so unique. That’s why I think John says he’s a little bit different than some of the guys we have, because you can move him around. He has the quickness and speed to play on the outside. He has enough sides to play on the inside, so you don’t want to put him in one spot.

“We don’t think he has to be one specific role. Obviously, he is a defensive lineman, but there’s four spots he can play at and I think that’s going to depend on down and distance, whether we’re expecting run, whether we’re expecting pass and the type of personnel we’re going against.”

49ers 'ecstatic' with first-day haul in the 2017 NFL Draft

49ers 'ecstatic' with first-day haul in the 2017 NFL Draft

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers began Thursday with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.

When his first day as 49ers general manager reached its conclusion, John Lynch had selected two of the three top players on his draft board and picked up additional third-round picks for this year and next year.

After Myles Garrett, the 49ers’ top-rated prospect, was the Cleveland Browns’ selection at No. 1 overall, the 49ers traded back one spot with the Chicago Bears. The 49ers still got their No. 2-rated prospect, Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.

The 49ers started making calls to teams with selections in the teens, according to coach Kyle Shanahan, to inquire about trading up for Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster. The 49ers finally worked out a deal with the Seattle Seahawks to move up three spots to No. 31.

The 49ers selected Foster one spot ahead of the New Orleans Saints, who were apparently ready to select Foster with the No. 32 pick.

Said Lynch, "Reuben thought that because we were at 34, we made a trade at the end with Seattle and when I was talking to him, he said, ‘Coach, New Orleans is taking me.' And I said, ‘No, we’re taking you.’ It was hard because it happened late in the process and so, he was really excited when he found out that we had pulled off that trade and we were certainly very excited.”

And all the 49ers gave up to make the necessary move was a fourth-round pick acquired from the Bears earlier in the day.

The 49ers got everything the could have ever wanted from Day 1 of the draft.

“In terms of how we rated them, we got two of our top three players,” Lynch said. “We’re thrilled. We’re ecstatic. I think these guys have traits that encompass what we want to be about as a football organization.”

Lynch said he began speaking with Bears general manager Ryan Pace more than a week ago. Because the 49ers had picks scheduled next to the Bears in every round, Pace suggested to Lynch that the two teams should be willing to work with each other throughout the draft.

The 49ers had other offers for the No. 2 pick, Lynch said. A source told NBC Sports Bay Area just prior to the start of the draft that the 49ers had fielded three solid offers.

The team’s chief strategy officer Paraag Marathe worked out the details to finalize the trade with the Bears.

The 49ers did not know which player the Bears were targeting at No. 2, but Shanahan voiced his opinion while the trade was going down.

“This guy is a pretty bright,” Lynch said of Shanahan. “He said, ‘That’s not for a defensive lineman. That’s for a quarterback.’ And he was right.”

The Bears made the trade to select North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick. In order for the Bears to trade up one spot, they delivered the 49ers a third-round pick (No. 67), a fourth-round pick (No. 111) and a third-round pick next year.

Jacksonville executive Tom Coughlin, whose team held the No. 4 pick, watched and admired the 49ers' move from afar. 

"To get what you had in mind right off the bat and pick up those extra picks? Pretty nice deal," Coughlin told Jacksonville reporters. "I’ve never seen one of those. . . Oh, my gosh. Nothing like that has ever come my way.”

When asked if the 49ers would have selected Foster if the Bears selected Thomas, Lynch said, “Perhaps. It was very likely.”

Instead, the 49ers waited and waited and waited before finding a trade partner in an unlikely place. The 49ers made a deal with Seattle, giving up the 111th pick obtained from Chicago, to select Foster before the Saints had a chance.

“He’s my kind of player,” Lynch said of Foster. “He plays sideline to sideline, and he’ll hit anything that moves. I think that’s contagious for teammates.”

Foster is recovering from shoulder surgery and his stock was negatively affected by character concerns. He was sent home from the NFL scouting combine after an argument with a hospital worker during his medical check. He also had a positive drug test due to a diluted urine sample.

Lynch spent a lot of time with Foster during his visit to Santa Clara, as well as a meeting him at the combine. Both Lynch and Shanahan spoke regularly with Foster on the phone and on FaceTime in the past few weeks.

The 49ers also dispatched vice president of football affairs Keena Turner and team chaplain Earl Smith to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to meet with Foster for two days. The team will have a plan in place to help guide Foster as he transitions to professional football, Lynch said.

“I would tell you that his character is what drew us to him,” Lynch said. “When you start talking football with this young man, he lights up a room. He’s a good kid. I believe in the kid. I think he’ll be a great player for this organization for a long time.”