Healthy Jacobs forces issue on special teams

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Healthy Jacobs forces issue on special teams

SANTA CLARA -- Brandon Jacobs came off the practice field from his individual workout Tuesday and went into the locker room where the media waited to hear the status of his injured left knee.

Im ready to play. Its nothing now. Its all gone now, Jacobs said.

The knee injury has kept Jacobs out of the first four games of the season. But before the 30-year-old running back can return to play his first game, he has to return to a full practice with his team, which he has not yet done.

Hopefully I can get out and go practice this week take some reps and do some hard running and see where things go from there, Jacobs said. The hard running is in me to be that way, but I want to go out and be able to get out and do some fancy fast running and really put em down and pick em up and see how things feel. I just finished running outside, I ran some 60s. Thats as far as I can run. I felt pretty good. Its the little kinks I gotta run out, but I feel good.

The 49ers brought Jacobs in on a one-year deal before the start of the season, hoping to cash in on his explosive power. That power showed during the preseason where he was a perfect four-for-four in converting all of his short-yardage situations into first downs. He gained eight yards on his only carry on a first-and-10, the same play in which he injured his knee. But Jacobs feels hes close to a return.

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I feel good about my explosiveness. Ive got fresh legs other than the injury. My legs are pretty fresh. They havent been banged on like a lot of these guys in the league, Jacobs said. I know its coming, but I feel good, just leaving it up to coach and our medical staff to put me where they think I should be.

Where the coaches think Jacobs should be come game time against Buffalo creates an interesting choice for them. The 49ers' stable of running backs is full and doing just fine with the overall running game ranked third best in the league. But Jacobs' power is needed on third downs. San Francisco converted only 4-of-12 (33) third downs against a Jets defense that at the time was the worst in the league on third downs. San Francisco's offense currently ranks 22nd in the league in third down efficiency.

Activating Jacobs to help bolster their third down struggles will leave the 49ers short-handed elsewhere. More than likely, a player on special teams will have to be inactive for Jacobs to be a go. Jacobs is one of the few players on the roster who does not play a dual role, though he's not opposed to it.

I havent been in the special teams meetings, but whatever they need, Jacobs said. Coach, hell come to me, hell talk to me but nothings been spoke of yet.

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But the possibility of having Jacobs available to help keep drives going seems to be worth the risk.

You put a guy that size and with his power and strength behind that offensive line, said fullback Bruce Miller, I dont think youre going to see him going backwards. Hes going to fall forward and get the tough yards that we need and move the chains.

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. 219 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.

Reuben Foster: Shoulder recovery on pace for training camp clearance

Reuben Foster: Shoulder recovery on pace for training camp clearance

SANTA CLARA – Linebacker Reuben Foster is likely to be a spectator when the 49ers hold their rookie minicamp next week.

But Foster said he is on pace to be fully cleared for football activity by the time the 49ers open training camp in late July. Recent national reports have suggested Foster would require another surgery on his right shoulder.

“That’s not accurate at all,” said Foster, who took part in a press conference on Friday after the 49ers selected him with the No. 31 overall pick in the draft on Thursday. “I’m fine. I’m on schedule.”

Foster said he sustained the tear of the labrum in his right shoulder during Alabama’s national semifinal game against Washington. He played in the championship game against Clemson with the injury.

He underwent surgery on his rotator cuff that forced him to sit out drills at the NFL scouting combine in February. Foster was sent home from Indianapolis after an argument with a hospital worker while he was waiting to undergo a physical.

There were reports Foster could require additional surgery after he went through the medical re-check in Indianapolis.

“I’m making big progress,” Foster said. “I’ll be limited in OTAs. Training camp, I’ll be full-go, but if it’s my decision, I think I can go now.”

Later, Foster said the 49ers have all of his medical information.

“I guarantee they have enough X-rays, exams, MRIs to know where I stand,” he said. “I had the surgery. They already knew how many weeks I was out.”

Foster dropped in the draft over apparent concerns about his shoulder and character issues. Alabama coach Nick Saban told AL.com on Thursday that Foster did not consult him before undergoing surgery.

"Look, the way we like for things to get handled, that didn't get handled," Saban said. "We have the best doctors in the world in Dr. (James) Andrews and Dr. (Lyle) Cain who operate on most NFL players and his agent chose to take him someplace else. I think (Andrews and Cain) have tremendous credibility.

"So, you know, all these choices and decisions that you make have consequences and I hate it for our players when they do it, but he didn't seek my advice in what he should do. So, if that was an issue, that was an issue. It shouldn't have been an issue but if it was, I don't really know much about it."