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MT: McDonald Shines at Minicamp

Posted by Taylor Price on June 17, 2013 – 8:21 AM

San Francisco’s second-round draft pick caught the eye of many practice observers at 49ers minicamp.

Vance McDonald also caught several passes in the three days of mandatory camp. Some were high, some were low and some were even behind the 6-foot-4, 270-pound tight end. No matter, the former Rice standout showcased his soft hands throughout the minicamp with intermediate and downfield receptions.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee singled out McDonald’s play as one of the key takeaways from veteran minicamp.

“Vance McDonald may have been the biggest standout among the 11-man (rookie) draft class,” Barrows wrote. “He was a favorite for all the quarterbacks this spring, and he showed a real knack for catching passes that weren’t exactly on target… He also is quite agile for his size, and on several occasions was able to twist his body and reach back for passes that were thrown behind him. Quarterbacks love to see that, and it builds confidence that he is a safe and reliable target.”

More 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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MT: Jim Harbaugh’s Bucket List

Posted by Taylor Price on June 6, 2013 – 11:06 AM

He just might be the closest thing to the world’s most interesting man.

Jim Harbaugh’s off the field activities as the San Francisco 49ers coach are unique to say the least. It speaks to his wide-ranging interests when he’s not working with professional football players.

On Tuesday, Harbaugh told Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News that his bucket list included the wish of purchasing a motor home.

Harbaugh’s only driven an RV once, but would like to own one at some point.

After the 49ers coach made a cameo on Judge Judy this week, Inman noted the numerous activities Harbaugh has taken part in during his tenure in San Francisco:

– Drive the pace car in last month’s Indy 500. (Harbaugh has been a co-owner of a racing team since his late-1990s playing days with the Indianapolis Colts.)

– Meet baseball idol Willie Mays. He did so last year when Mays attended a 49ers practice (and later hosted Harbaugh and his father Jack at his house to watch a Giants game).

– Play in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He’s done that the past two years, even placing a respectable 13th this year with partner Jason Day.

– Receive inspirational speeches from military heroes, including Gen. Martin Dempsey (Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman), Marine Corps Col. Jim Minnick, four-star Army Gen. Bob Cone, Sgt. Dontae Skywalker (at Arlington National Cemetary) and an anonymous Navy SEAL.

– Moonlight as a team manager at an Indiana University men’s basketball game, which he did last year for Hoosiers coach (and brother-in-law) Tom Crean.

– Have his silhouette depicted on a T-shirt. OK, he never publicly opined for this, but Nike has come out with a $28 shirt featuring a side view of Harbaugh in a black top and khaki pants.

– Phone into John Madden’s daily radio segment, which he did in January for advice on being a first-time Super Bowl coach.

More 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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MT: Joe Staley Temporarily Sidelined

Posted by Taylor Price on May 29, 2013 – 11:25 AM

The 49ers starting left tackle was not practicing at Organized Team Activities on Tuesday. Joe Staley was in attendance, but not participating in the two-hour workout.

After the open OTA session, Jim Harbaugh informed reporters that Staley had a minor procedure done this offseason.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reported it was a minor meniscus tear in Staley’s left knee.

Staley went to Twitter to alleviate any concerns from the team’s fan base.

“Procedure I had this offseason was very minor but necessary,” Staley wrote. “I will be 100 percent and better than ever by training camp.”

More 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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MT: Levi’s Stadium is Born

Posted by Taylor Price on May 10, 2013 – 11:31 AM

The San Francisco 49ers have a name to their future home, Levi’s® Stadium.

Thanks to a unanimous, 7-0 vote buy the Santa Clara City Council, the $220 million stadium naming rights deal between the iconic Bay Area brands is now official.

“It’s a testament to why we always thought this project would work,” 49ers CEO Jed York told the San Jose Mercury News. “To anybody who ever doubted this project would happen, these numbers speak for themselves.”

York spoke at the city council meeting along with Levi’s® CEO Chip Bergh, who wisely wore 49ers-colored Levi’s® jeans.

Following the approval, both CEOs shook hands with big grins. Soon after, they posed for photos with members of the City Council and members of the 49ers front office.

LevisStadium.com is now the place to learn all about the team’s future home. Book your tour of Levi’s® Stadium today.

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MT: 2013 NFL Draft Preview

Posted by Taylor Price on April 25, 2013 – 10:21 AM

Finally.

The wait is over. The draft board is finalized. The prospects are eager. The fan base is ready. The draft bash is all set.

The 2013 NFL Draft begins tonight and it couldn’t have come any sooner. We broke down prospects and spoke with analysts about the endless possibilities, but that was all build up to the inevitable conclusion. The three-day draft gets underway tonight at 5 p.m. PT and the future of the San Francisco 49ers will come into greater focus when the team makes its first selection.

Will it be at No. 31, or will San Francisco move up to select a player they’ve been coveting all along? The outcome will be known shortly.

In Trent Baalke’s three drafts leading the team’s draft-day decisions, the 49ers general manager has traded nine times. In 2010, Baalke’s first year as Vice President of Player Personnel, Baalke moved up to select tackle Anthony Davis, a player who recently signed a five-year contract extension through 2019. Baalke also traded back in 2010 to select, two-time All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman, another player who has been extended until the 2018 season.

It’s worth noting that Baalke has never traded out of the first-round in three years. In 2011, he moved up in the second-round to select quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

With 13 selections heading into draft day, the possibilities for Baalke and his personnel staff are endless.

It’s safe to say the world will be watching. NFL Draft prognostications are endless, but they’ll stop very soon. We’ve compiled the top mock drafts for your consideration in today’s Morning Tailgate.

Share your draft opinions on social with #Draft49 and if you’re having a draft party or attending our event in San Jose tonight, use #49ersDraftBash to showcase your experience.

Thanks everyone for checking out our blog and enjoy the draft. 49ers.com/Draft will have you covered all weekend long.

Now, on to the links…

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Morning Tailgate: Seven-Round Roundup

Posted by Taylor Price on April 24, 2013 – 10:53 AM

If you’ve projected a seven-round mock draft this week (Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com and Josh Norris of NFL.com) hats off to you.

It takes guts to fill out a 32-pick mock draft and even more fortitude to make 254 draft predictions. But that’s exactly what those two NFL scribes have done.

The 49ers have 13 selections in the upcoming draft, five of their own – five from trades with Kansas City, Carolina, Indianapolis, Cleveland and Miami – three were awarded as compensatory selections.

San Francisco has multiple picks in the second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh rounds. The 49ers draft pick, noted by round and overall selection are listed below.

49ers draft picks (round, #): 1, 31 / 2, 34 / 2, 61 / 3, 74 / 3, 93 / 4, 128 / 4, 131 / 5, 157 / 6, 173 / 6, 180 / 7, 237 / 7, 246 / 7, 252.

For perspective on first-round and late-round targets, we’ve summarized Schrager and Norris’ seven-round mocks in today’s Morning Tailgate

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Morning Tailgate: 49ers Draft Scenarios

Posted by Taylor Price on April 23, 2013 – 10:36 AM

The guessing game continues. What will the 49ers do with the No. 31 overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft – trade up, trade back or stay at 31?

According to a report from Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, the 49ers could be looking to move up in the draft.

General Manager Trent Baalke said “Anything’s possible,” last week in his pre-draft meeting with the Bay Area media.

So, in essence, Cole’s report isn’t out of the question.

For now, the speculation game will continue until the clock hits 5:00 p.m. PT on Thursday night and the official decisions can begin.

More 49ers draft scenarios are discussed in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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MT: Seifert, Young Join SB Committee

Posted by Taylor Price on April 11, 2013 – 9:23 AM

The Bay Area’s quest to host Super Bowl L or LI received a boost this week with the two key former 49ers joining the region’s Super Bowl bid committee.

According to the SF Gate, Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young and two-time Super Bowl winning coach George Seifert, have joined the committee that features many other well-known Bay Area personalities (Condoleeza Rice, Charles Schwab, Thomas Keller and others).

NFL owners will decide the host cities for both Super Bowls at the annual owner meetings on May 21. If the Bay Area wins, the game will be played at the new Santa Clara Stadium which is set to open in 2014.

The Bay Area is up against the Miami region to host Super Bowl L in 2016. It would be the 50th anniversary of the biggest game in professional sports. The runner-up from that vote will compete with Houston to host Super Bowl LI in 2017. Bay Area mayors, Jamie Matthews of Santa Clara and Ed Lee of San Francisco, recently held a press conference on March 7 to discuss the Super Bowl bid.

Learn more about the future home of the San Francisco 49ers at NewSantaClaraStadium.com and book your personal tour of the facility today.

You can also learn more about the San Francisco Super Bowl bid on their official site and Twitter account.

More 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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MT: Lattimore Compared to Frank Gore

Posted by Taylor Price on April 10, 2013 – 11:05 AM

Both Frank Gore and Marcus Lattimore suffered multiple knee injuries in college. Both, however, are considered highly talented running backs, ones who have been known as explosive play-makers during their respective careers.

Gore stands as the San Francisco 49ers all-time leader in rushing yards, carries and rushing touchdowns. At 29, Gore is also coming off a Pro Bowl season, the fourth of his career.

Lattimore,  the NCAA’s national freshman of the year in 2009, has yet to make a lasting career in the NFL. He’s still aiming to be drafted in 2013 after suffering his second major knee injury at the University of South Carolina.

However, the comparisons between the two are still easy to dissect.

Gore was a third-round draft pick by the 49ers in 2005 and proved to be a brilliant selection for San Francisco.

Lattimore, on the other hand, stands poised to follow in Gore’s footsteps. The two also developed a relationship last year. Thanks to 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver, a college teammate of Lattimore, the two were put in touch after the running back prospect tore all three major knee ligaments in his right knee against the University of Tennessee.

Lattimore later compared himself to Gore at the 2013 Scouting Combine.

“I feel like we both run hard,” Lattimore said. “He runs like nobody’s there. He runs with total destruction. I feel like if I could compare my game to anybody, it would be Frank Gore. He’s got low pads, he’s got great vision, he can see the whole field. Great balance.”

The comparisons between the two running backs continued this week in a recent episode of John Gruden’s Camp on ESPN.

The former NFL head coach asked Lattimore about both major knee injuries he suffered in college and how he’s been able to bounce back from the hardships.

“Anything that comes to me in life,” Lattimore began, “I feel like I’ve been through it all. Nothing can ever take the smile off my face because I’ll never take anything for granted again.”

Lattimore continued to detail the lessons he’s learned through rehab and why he’s pursuing a career in the NFL.

“I love football,” the South Carolina star told Gruden. “My kids they’re going to watch this one day and they’re going to see my dad never gave up.

“My story relates to everybody…Adversity introduces a man to himself.”

Gruden later commented that his father ribbed him for not drafting Gore back in 2005. When the 49ers running back broke a big run against a Gruden-coached Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, the elder Gruden immediately sent his son a text message with a reminder of his praise for Gore.

It remains to be seen where Lattimore gets drafted in 2013, but his story is one to watch come April 25, especially with how it compares to San Francisco’s own starting running back.

More NFL Draft and 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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Morning Tailgate: Davis Extension

Posted by Taylor Price on April 5, 2013 – 11:24 AM

Anthony Davis earned a second contract from the San Francisco 49ers. With the starting right tackle agreeing to a five-year extension that’ll keep him with the 49ers through the 2019 season, the team has continued its recent trend of rewarding hard-working draft picks with long-term financial commitments.

Davis joins NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis, Andy Lee and Joe Staley as 49ers draft picks to sign extensions to stay in San Francisco.

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