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Morning Tailgate: Round 1 Recap

Posted by Taylor Price on April 26, 2013 – 11:07 AM

For a second consecutive year, Trent Baalke pegged a first-round draft pick at least 24 hours before the actual draft.

In 2012, it was A.J. Jenkins who was the preferred pick of the San Francisco 49ers general manager. In 2013, the honor went to LSU safety Eric Reid.

Baalke’s 24-hour preference of the SEC safety was shared by Jed York.

The 49ers CEO offered a glimpse into Baalke’s pre-draft mindset in a Thursday night conversation with Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports.

“We weren’t nervous,” York said of the 49ers draft room. “Trent made up his mind yesterday what he wanted to do and he went out and did it. And if it hadn’t worked out, we’d have still had some pretty good options.”

Perhaps the 49ers will have those other options in play for the No. 34 overall pick, a selection they acquired from a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The fast-paced first-round of the NFL Draft is recapped in today’s Morning Tailgate.

On to the links…

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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: 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: Kendall Hunter Back Sprinting

Posted by Taylor Price on April 18, 2013 – 10:07 AM

The San Francisco 49ers enjoy a bevy of talented running backs who can run Greg Roman’s complex offensive system. One of them, third-year runner Kendall Hunter, is back running sprints this offseason. He’s doing so five months removed from a torn left Achilles. Perhaps, Kobe Bryant might want rehab notes from the 49ers running back.

Hunter shared details of his progress with Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.

“I’m just doing what the trainers want me to do,” Hunter told Branch. “That’s the process. I feel and know I can do more, but I’m not going to rush whatever the coaches and trainers want.”

Hunter rushed for 371 yards in 2012, good for 5.2 yards per carry. Hunter also scored two rushing touchdowns before injuring himself on Nov. 25 against the New Orleans Saints.

Hunter told Branch he’d like to participate in OTAs in May or San Francisco’s mandatory minicamp in June, but the talented running back understands the importance of a patient rehab process and expects to be held out of action until training camp.

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

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Draft Chat with Mel Kiper Jr.

Posted by Taylor Price on April 11, 2013 – 12:56 PM

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. discussed his predictions for the 2013 NFL Draft in a Wednesday conference call.

The long-time draft analyst mentioned several players profiled in 49ers.com’s “49 in 49” draft series as potential first-round targets for San Francisco.

The first name mentioned from Kiper was a standout Pac-12 defensive lineman.

Datone Jones, a defensive end from UCLA, that would be a little bit of a curve ball,” Kiper explained. “He’s a had a great Senior Bowl week.  He had a heck of a year for Jim Mora.  He’s ideally suited for what they do.”

Kiper continued on his possible first-round targets for San Francisco by highlighting a player 49ers.com featured on Wednesday.

“As a safety, Jonathan Cyprien from Florida International, good football player,” Kiper said. “He’d be a great pick at 34 or 31.  Matt Elam, a safety at Florida, would be in that mix as well.”

The final possibility Kiper discussed was a player the 49ers coaches have worked with that also fits a position of need with the departure of tight end Delanie Walker.

“At tight end,” Kiper began, “do they look at Zach Ertz from Stanford?  Do they wait until late second round and look at either Ertz, if he’s still there, or Gavin Escobar from San Diego State or Dion Sims from Michigan State?”

Kiper summed up his thoughts on what the 49ers should do with their first two picks, No. 31 and No. 34 overall.

“I would think at defensive end, safety, and tight end, if you can get those three positions filled with those picks at 31, 34 and 61, it would be a nice draft for Trent Baalke and company.  And hope that A.J. Jenkins can come back year two and give you something at wide receiver.”

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49 in 49: Best of the Rest

Posted by Taylor Price on April 8, 2013 – 3:15 PM

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It’s a broad designation, but there’s plenty of talented NFL prospects outside of the NCAA’s power conferences. Our 49ers.com “49 in 49” series continues with the top talent removed from the SEC, Big-12, Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC. We’re calling it, “Best of the Rest.”

Every year impact players are drafted outside of the nation’s top football conferences and they end up carving out highly successful careers in professional football. The 2013 NFL Draft figures to be no different.

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Morning Tailgate: Nnamdi on Radar

Posted by Alex Espinoza on March 20, 2013 – 9:41 AM

The 49ers bolstered their roster on Tuesday with the additions of veteran kicker Phil Dawson and receiver Marlon Moore. But the team might not be done making offseason moves just yet.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com spoke with 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke at the league owners meetings in Arizona to get an update on the recent activity. Baalke also told Maiocco the team is still “considering” free agent veteran defensive back Nnamdi Asomugha after he had a “great visit” last week at team headquarters.

“The 49ers’ top five cornerbacks from last season are in line to return,” Maiocco wrote. “Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox are under contract. Tramaine Brock was tendered as a restricted free agent. If Asomugha and the 49ers come to a contract agreement, Asomugha would join the 49ers with no guarantees of a starting job or playing time, Baalke suggested.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate features the latest headlines on the newest 49ers and more.

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Morning Tailgate: Improved NFC West

Posted by Alex Espinoza on March 18, 2013 – 11:57 AM

By the end of last season, Jim Harbaugh argued that the NFC West could be named the toughest division in football. After watching the first week of free agency unfold, it looks like the road to a third consecutive NFC West title for the 49ers will be formidable. Peter King of Sports Illustrated took stock of the division heading into 2013.

“They’ll have more draft choices in 2013 than any other team — 14 — and GM Trent Baalke, despite what the Niners say publicly, has to be thinking about what it would take to acquire Darrelle Revis, with extra picks in the second, third and fourth rounds as chips,” King wrote. “Whatever, San Francisco has to be markedly better in the back of the defense to have a chance to win the Super Bowl in 2014. Clutch physical receiver Anquan Boldin will help Colin Kaepernick make plays downfield.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate gets you primed for the NFL team owners meetings and more.

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Morning Tailgate: Smith Undergoes Surgery

Posted by Taylor Price on February 22, 2013 – 6:50 AM

INDIANAPOLIS – All the attention this week at the NFL Scouting Combine is on the incoming prospects and the domino effect they’ll have on pending free agents. It’s deservedly so.

But one non-prospect related item from Thursday’s opening media session should not go unnoticed.

General Manager Trent Baalke revealed positive news on 49ers four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Justin Smith. After the Super Bowl, San Francisco’s defensive co-captain underwent successful surgery on a partially torn left triceps tendon.

The comments, shared with CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco, indicate Smith will have a brief rehab and will be ready for training camp.

Smith missed the final two regular season games from the triceps injury, but returned for all three postseason games. Mock drafts around the country have the 49ers taking a defensive lineman to lighten the workload on Smith’s plate, but all that will play itself out in the coming months.

For now, let’s enjoy the combine process and get to know the top talent headed to the NFL Draft. Also, Jim Harbaugh will speak with reporters at 11:30 am P.T. make sure you watch it live on 49ers.com.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 15

Posted by Taylor Price on January 15, 2013 – 10:14 AM

Get used to hearing about Colin Kaepernick.

San Francisco’s starting quarterback continues to become a household name now that the second-year player is gracing one of four regional covers for Sports Illustrated.

It’s certainly well-deserved. The youngest starting quarterback in 49ers postseason history had a game for the ages  against the Green Bay Packers – 181 rushing yards – the most by a quarterback in any game. Ever.

Furthermore, Kaepernick threw two touchdown passes and rushed for two more, joining Hall of Fame quarterback Otto Graham and Jay Cutler as the only players to throw and rush for a pair of touchdowns in a postseason game.

Now, Kaepernick is 6-2 as a starter with a 98.7 QB rating to go with 12 touchdown passes , four interceptions, as well as 419 rushing yards and four rushing scores.

Find out more about Kaepernick’s postseason mindset by picking up a copy of the cover story written by SI’s Austin Murphy.

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