McDonald, Smith form fine DE duo


McDonald, Smith form fine DE duo

SANTA CLARA -- If you wanted to see Ray McDonald in the summer months during the NFL lockout, all you had to do was find Justin Smith. The odds were pretty good that the two 49ers defensive linemen were working out with each other.
McDonald's game has taken off this season as a starter for the 49ers at left defensive end. He clearly has benefited from being around Smith, who starts at right defensive end and usually plays every defensive snap.Coach Jim Harbaugh might have given the 49ers a full six days off during the bye week, but McDonald and Smith were regulars at the team's practice facility last week -- just as they were regulars almost every day during the lockout at San Jose State's workout facilities."I always joke with him about how old he is," McDonald said. "But you know what? When I was in high school I was a big fan of his because I liked the way he played."In 2008, McDonald's second NFL season, the 49ers signed Smith to a six-year contract as a free agent from the Cincinnati Bengals.
"I wanted to pick his brain and see what kind of guy he was," McDonald said. "He turned out to be a real good guy. We both love the game of football. Both of us are down-to-earth, cool people. When there are two people like that, you get along real well."McDonald, 27, remained in-state and went to Florida. Likewise, Smith, 32, remained close to home to go to Missouri. And neither strayed too far from home during the bye week, either."I just wanted to stay here and stay in the football mindset," McDonald said. "I wanted to be here and kick back and relax. And I didn't want to have all that jet lag coming back."It's no coincidence that Smith (4.5) and McDonald (3) have combined for 7.5 sacks in the first six games -- a large figure for defensive ends in a 3-4 defense. After all, they worked out hard on their own and talked shop during the lockout just to be ready when the NFL finally opened its doors for business."We worked out quite a bit," McDonald said. "He has a wife and kids, so I let him do his family thing. And I did my own thing, too. But when we can, we try to hang out and talk football."McDonald went through the offseason with the uncertainty of being unsigned. When the lockout lifted, the 49ers and McDonald agreed to a five-year, 20 million contract.The 49ers invested more in McDonald than any other player in the offseason. The only higher-priced acquisition in the organization was coach Jim Harbaugh at five years, 25 million."When you're in a good situation, and I've been in a good situation the past four years, you want to stay in that place," McDonald said. "The grass isn't always greener on the other side. If I'd gone somewhere else, it wouldn't have been as good as it is. I probably wouldn't have clicked as well as Justin and I have clicked on this team."

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.”