We are a day away from overreacting to the 49ers’ brass and their facial expressions after every Justin Fields throw at his pro day.
At 212 pounds, he’s built like a running back. At Clemson’s pro day last month, he hoisted 225 pounds on the bench press 24 times. That’s a huge number for any receiver, much less a slot receiver. In fact, it’s a number you’d love your tight end to reach. In 2017, for example, George Kittle managed 18 repetitions. Observers seemed delighted when Florida tight end Kyle Pitts — who could be a top-five pick this month — recently pumped out 22 repetitions. (The famously chiseled Metcalf had 27 reps in 2019. Show off).
In fact, some teams wonder about Rodgers as a tailback. He took some snaps out of the backfield alongside Travis Etienne and the other Clemson tailbacks at the school’s pro day. Would you like to see a linebacker try to cover him out of the backfield on third down? I’ll bet Kyle Shanahan would.
Finally, Rodgers can return punts. No, his numbers weren’t mind-blowing in this category. He averaged 7.8 yards per return.
Offensive line: The 49ers have three good options at tackle in Trent Williams, Mike McGlinchey and Shon Coleman. Still, they have to make a decision on McGlinchey’s fifth-year option next month, and Coleman is signed for just the 2021 season. It might make sense to take advantage of an unusually deep group of tackles this year. Right guard, where Daniel Brunskill is penciled in, has been a problematic position in recent seasons and the 49ers may want to find someone who can be groomed at center behind veteran Alex Mack.
Wide receiver: The 49ers have 12 receivers under contract, but only three — Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and special-teamer Trent Sherfield — seem like locks for the Week 1 roster. As with offensive tackle, this is a strong draft for receivers and there might be some excellent slot receiver options in Rounds 2 and 3.
The Loss of Draft Picks
While the loss of first-round picks may sting the 49ers, the impact may not be as significant as initially believed. During the next two years, whether Jimmy Garoppolo or another quarterback is under center, the 49er roster should be good enough to propel them into the playoffs, lowering the value of those draft picks.
In addition, the 49ers have had much success with their mid-round picks in recent history, suggesting that their eye for talent has been successful in those spots. Over the last four years, they have found C.J. Beathard and Fred Warner in the third round, George Kittle, D.J. Reed, and Dre Greenlaw in the fifth round, as well as D.J. Jones and Justin Skule in the sixth round.
“I can see (why the 49ers traded up),” Caskey said Monday. “The way the draft works, I can totally see it. Especially if one of those teams has met with him like I’ve met with him and they see that kind of stuff, I can see where they would feel comfortable with that. He’s a fairly safe pick. He’s not a (guy) that would go off the rails or something.”
“This guy, he’s sharp, now,” Caskey said. “He doesn’t have the (Matthew) Stafford arm to him, I get it, but not a lot of them do. I think the mental side of this kid is, as long as he stays humble and where he’s at right now and wants to learn, I think he’ll be fine. Cause he’s been asking me if I wanted to Zoom again and I’m like, ‘You just tell me, we’ll Zoom any time.’“
“It’s a blessing to be able to come from a small town and be one of the guys who made it out,” Walter said. “Not a lot of people made it to the NFL or the NBA from Crosby High School. To be one of the first, it’s an amazing feeling. It’s a blessing and an honor.”
On Thursday, April 15, Walter will host The Night of Champions to benefit the Crosby High School Booster Club from 6-9 p.m. The event will be a weight lifting competition at Crosby High School for student-athletes around the area to showcase their talents and abilities.
In addition to hosting a weight lifting showcase, Walter will also share his life teachings with student-athletes in attendance. Perseverance and not taking no for an answer will be one of the most vital messages the Crosby native will share with aspiring pro-athletes. It’s the two virtues Walter has leaned on from little league football to the NFL. And as an undrafted prospect in 2019, it was that same morale that helped him outshine six other running backs during the 49ers rookie training camp that same year.