Justin Smith vouches for Aldon Smith's character


Justin Smith vouches for Aldon Smith's character

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers expect a lot more from outside linebacker Aldon Smith this season on the field as he makes the transition to an every-down player.But most of the news surrounding Smith during the offseason came from off-the-field incidents. First, he was arrested on suspicion of DUI in January. Last month, he was stabbed twice when his house party in the hills above San Jose got out of control.The second-year player has some of his more influential teammates firmly in his corner.
"He's a great guy, on and off the field," said veteran defensive lineman Justin Smith. "From my own personal standpoint, I've never seen where a victim gets called out."Justin Smith, a 12-year veteran who, like Aldon Smith, attended the University of Missouri, helped get the 49ers' first-round draft pick acclimated to the NFL and the Bay Area during the lockout last summer. Justin Smith has assisted Aldon Smith on and off the field.Justin Smith confirmed he has spoken to Aldon Smith, but he declined to share the message of the private conversations.
Aldon Smith sustained small stab wounds to his shoulder and abdomen on June 30, sources told CSNBayArea.com, from attempting to break up a fight at his residence. Two others sustained gunshots wounds at the party. The Santa Clara Sheriff's Department has yet to identify any suspects.A year ago, 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said of Smith, "If he stays humble and hungry, he'll be good."On Saturday, Fangio said he believes Smith has not wandered off that path. Smith was contrite when he spoke the media on Friday.
"I still think he's humble and hungry, as it relates to football," Fangio said. "I think he got himself into a couple of unfortunate situations. And I think he's learned from both of them. Hopefully, those will be few and far between as we move forward."He and I have spoken, and he's spoke to other people about it. I think Aldon's mature enough and smart enough to know the difference of what he needs to do and what he doesn't need to do and hopefully he'll do a better job of avoiding those situations in the future. I have confidence that he will."Fangio is also confident that Smith will step in and fulfill his responsibilities at right outside linebacker with the same success he enjoyed as a rookie pass-rush specialist. Smith set the 49ers rookie sack record with 14 sacks. This season he takes over the full-time role from Parys Haralson, who returns as the team's top backup outside linebacker."He's going to be expected to take over for Parys and do as well as Parys did or better," Fangio said. "Obviously, he's a lot further along right now than he was last year at this time. He got to practice a lot last year during the season. He got all this offseason work. But he's still nowhere near what he needs to be."

49ers select DE Solomon Thomas with No. 3 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft

49ers select DE Solomon Thomas with No. 3 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft

Position: Defensive line
College: Stanford
Height: 6-2 ½
Weight: 273 pounds
Selection: First round, No. 3 overall

SANTA CLARA – After some late intrigue surrounding the No. 1 overall pick, the Cleveland Browns went with the player universally considered the top NFL prospect.

Myles Garrett went with the first selection, then the 49ers traded back one spot with the Chicago Bears, who chose North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

The 49ers still got the player they would have chosen with the No. 2 overall pick: Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas with the second pick.

General manager John Lynch engineered a trade that enabled the 49ers to pick up third- and fourth-round draft picks this year, as well as the Bears’ third-round pick next year to move back one spot.

With the selection of Thomas, the 49ers have now chosen defensive linemen with their first picks in each of the past three drafts.

The 49ers picked Arik Armstead with the 17th pick in 2015. Last year, in Trent Baalke’s final draft as general manager, the 49ers chose DeForest Buckner with the No. 7 pick.

Thomas becomes the highest-drafted defensive player from Stanford in school history. The Minnesota Vikings selected Stanford linebacker Jeff Siemon No. 10 overall in 1972.

The 49ers finished with a 2-14 record last season in Chip Kelly’s only season to land in the No. 2 draft slot. CEO Jed York fired Kelly and Baalke at the conclusion of the season.

Lynch had been shopping the No. 2 overall pick in trade scenarios in recent weeks. The 49ers accomplished their goal, trading back one spot and getting a bounty of picks to help in the rebuilding project.

The 49ers chose Thomas over such players as running back Leonard Fournette, defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and safety Jamal Adams.

Thomas, who spent five years in Australia as a youngster, came to Stanford as a top 25 national recruit. In his final college season, Thomas led the Cardinal with 62 tackles, 15 for loss, and eight quarterback sacks. He was an All-American and chosen as the winner of the Morris Trophy, awarded to the Pac-12 defensive lineman of the year.

Thomas appears to be a fit at multiple positions along the line in new defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s scheme. While he might be best-suited for an interior position, new coach Kyle Shanahan said recently at Stanford’s pro day that he believes Thomas can play the team’s pass-rush position.

The 49ers have struggled to generate much of a pass rush since the departure of Aldon Smith, whom the club released prior to the 2015 season after multiple off-field incidents.

Ahmad Brooks and Buckner tied for the team-lead last season with six sacks. Brooks and Aaron Lynch led the 49ers in 2015 with 6.5 sacks apiece. Brooks and Lynch both recorded six sacks in ’14 to lead the team.

The 49ers have nine draft picks remaining. Their next scheduled pick comes Friday with the second selection of the second round, No. 34 overall.

49ers trade No. 2 pick to Bears for four total NFL Draft picks

49ers trade No. 2 pick to Bears for four total NFL Draft picks

The 49ers on Thursday dealt the No. 2 overall pick in the draft to acquire more selections to assist in the organization’s massive rebuilding project.

After advertising for weeks that the 49ers were “open for business,” first-year general manager John Lynch executed a trade on Thursday night with the Chicago Bears.

The Bears moved up to No. 2, while the 49ers took Chicago’s No. 3 overall pick. The 49ers received the Bears’ picks this year in the third round (No. 67) and fourth round (No. 111), as well as the Bears’ third-round pick next year.

Cleveland kicked off the NFL draft with the selection of Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. The Bears selected quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick.

The 49ers had engaged in preliminary trade discussions with six teams, a league source told NBC Sports Bay Area. Three teams were inside the top 10 and three teams were outside the top 10.

This draft appeared to set up for the 49ers to trade back because of their needs at so many positions. The 49ers finished 2-14 last season, leading to the firings of general manager John Lynch and coach Chip Kelly.

The 49ers entered the opening day of the draft on Thursday with a scheduled 10 draft picks, including the No. 2 pick in each of the first four rounds.