Stanford linemen improve NFL stock


Stanford linemen improve NFL stock

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jonathan Martin felt the pressure. Sure, he felt the pressure.After all, his duty as Stanford's left tackle was to serve as Andrew Luck's insurance policy. That's a lot of responsibility.
"You're definitely conscious that you have a potential No. 1 pick and potential Heisman winner in the backfield for two years," Martin said at the NFL scouting combine.
Luck appears ticketed to the Indianapolis Colts the top overall selection, and later in the first round a couple of the players who helped protect him will likely be chosen.
Both Martin and guard David DeCastro redshirted as freshmen at Stanford under then-coach Jim Harbaugh. DeCastro started all 39 games during his three-year career, while Martin started 37 games. Each player decided to forego his final season of eligibility to enter the NFL.RELATED: Stanford's 2012 NFL scouting combine class
"When guys on the offensive line can start for three and four years, I think that's something that pops at you, that the guys find a way to start in college football, major college program, for three years and they would've started a fourth year had they come back," Harbaugh said.DeCastro, expected to be chosen in the mid-first round solidified his reputation among NFL types with a solid workout Saturday morning at the annual scouting combine."(DeCastro) looked very coordinated during positional drills," Wes Bunting of National Football Post wrote. "He was able to keep his base down, maintain balance laterally and showcased 'plus' change of direction skills. Honestly, if I had a need at guard, I wouldnt have any qualms using a top 10 pick on him."DeCastro's standing as the No. 1 guard in the draft appears set. Meanwhile, Martin has plenty of competition from other tackles in the draft, including USC's Matt Kalil and Iowa's Riley Reiff."He's a great tackle," Kalil said of Martin. "He's really athletic, really big. One of the best tackles I've seen when I've gotten to watch him. I respect the kind of player he is and think he'll do a great job wherever he goes."Kalil and Martin disagree on one thing, however: Each believes he is the best tackle available in the draft."Without a doubt," Martin said. "As a competitor, you've got to think you're the best. Matt's a tremendous player, but I think I'm better than he is."Said Kalil, "I would definitely say I am the best tackle in the draft. Especially at my position, or quarterback position or any big-time position, confidence is definitely a big part of your game. And I think they want to hear that you do think you're the best tackle. And I think I am."

49ers activate Jimmie Ward


49ers activate Jimmie Ward

SANTA CLARA -- Safety Jimmie Ward was cleared Wednesday morning to begin practicing with his teammates after missing nearly four weeks of training camp with a hamstring injury.

Ward underwent conditioning tests on Monday and Tuesday to complete the final hurdles before the club activated him off the physically unable to perform list.

Ward sustained a hamstring injury during the conditioning test on the eve of training camp.

Ward was moved to cornerback last season, where he started 10 games.

He finished the season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. He was the 49ers' primary nickel back in his first two NFL seasons.

Jaquiski Tartt originally took over at free safety at the beginning of camp. But after Tartt missed significant practice time with a ribs injury, undrafted rookie Lorenzo Jerome stepped in.

Jerome started the 49ers’ first two exhibition games at free safety.

Shanahan evaluates Hyde's performance in early goings of 2017 preseason


Shanahan evaluates Hyde's performance in early goings of 2017 preseason

SANTA CLARA – Carlos Hyde, the 49ers’ No. 1 running back, has gained just 26 yards on 10 carries in the first two exhibition games.

But aside from a play Saturday night against the Denver Broncos when he did not gain as many yards as coach Kyle Shanahan thought he should, the 49ers appear satisfied with what they’ve seen from Hyde.

“It takes 11 guys to execute a play,” Shanahan said on Wednesday. “Usually, the guy with the ball in his hands is the one who’s rewarded or blamed. But I’ve been happy with Carlos’ reps during the preseason.

“I definitely want to do better. I want to score every time we call a play, so I’m usually disappointed if it doesn’t end in a touchdown. But he’s done a good job for us.”

That does not mean that Hyde has been perfect. Shanahan recounted a play on Saturday in which Hyde did not read the blocking correctly and gained fewer yards than his coach expected.

“There was one run in particular I thought the O-line blocked it for about a 4-yard gain and he got 1 yard,” Shanahan said. “(He was) trying to do too much on one play, which happens a lot with running backs. So there was one play he left about 3 yards on the field.”

Hyde finished the first half with gains of 6, 2, 7 and 7 on a series that ended with a lost fumble from backup running back Tim Hightower.

“We blocked well and he got to the right hole and when contact hit him at 5 yards, he fell for 2 more,” Shanahan said of Hyde. “So I thought he got exactly what we blocked for and a little more after that.”