D.J. Reed

49ers’ Weston Richburg, D.J. Reed Undergo Surgery

49ers center Weston Richburg and cornerback D.J. Reed both recently underwent surgery, leaving their availability for the start of training camp in question, San Francisco announced today. Richburg’s operation addressed an ongoing knee issue, while Reed went under the knife to correct a shoulder injury.

Richburg inked a five-year, $47.5MM contract with the 49ers last offseason, and proceeded to play in 15 games despite dealing with his knee injury. His production wasn’t great, as Pro Football Focus assigned Richburg the lowest grade (51.9) of his five-year career, but it’s fair to assume his health questions factored into his reduced level of play.

Although Richburg could return for training camp, knee injuries can often last longer than initially expected. The 49ers don’t have a ton of depth along the interior of their offensive line, so they could potentially be in trouble if Richburg is forced to miss any regular season action. Erik Magnuson would presumably take over at center, but San Francisco could look to free agency and/or the draft to shore up their line in case Richburg isn’t ready for the 2019 campaign.

Reed, a fifth-round pick last year, appeared in 15 games (two starts) for the Niners. At 5’9″, 188 pounds, he’s mostly suited for the slot, and that’s where he primarily played in 2018. All told, Reed saw action on roughly a third of San Francisco’s defensive snaps and 43.2% of the club’s special teams plays.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Rumors: Rams, 49ers, Thomas

Despite the Rams‘ dominance through four games, they haven’t deployed much in the way of name talent at linebacker. They traded Alec Ogletree to the Giants and shipped Robert Quinn to the Dolphins. Los Angeles is in line to have its top current ‘backer back in Week 5, however. Sean McVay expects Barron to make his season debut against the Seahawks after missing the first four games due to a lingering Achilles injury that caused him to miss all of Los Angeles’ offseason program.

We’ve kind of got a plan in place where we’re anticipating him being able to go. And that’s subject to change based on how he responds. But he’s feeling good up to this point,” McVay said, via Myles Simmons of TheRams.com. “We’re hopeful to be able to get him back and if that’s the case we’ll be excited to get Mark out there.”

Barron started 44 games for the Rams the past four seasons and is in the third season of a five-year, $45MM contract. The Rams have started Cory Littleton and Ramik Wilson at inside linebacker this season.

Here’s the latest from this division, one that features a clear-cut favorite at the quarter pole.

  • Although McVay said earlier this week Greg Zuerlein had a chance to return Sunday, that probably remains at least a week away. The second-year Rams coach said the signing of Cairo Santos likely indicates Zuerlein is still a bit way from resuming his season. He’s been sidelined since Week 2 warmups after sustaining a groin injury.
  • Richard Sherman‘s per-game bonus-laden contract makes it critical he stay on the field as much as possible, and the veteran cornerback has a chance to play this week. The 49ers defender participated in a limited practice on Thursday and would be in line to start upon returning. However, not much else is known about the 49ers’ corner situation, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. Ahkello Witherspoon, Jimmie Ward and Greg Mabin could continue a rotation on the outside, Robert Saleh said, adding this is a product of Mabin’s progress rather than the coaching staff having issues with Ward or Witherspoon’s play.
  • Don’t look for D.J. Reed to usurp the rehabbing Adrian Colbert. Kyle Shanahan confirmed, via Maiocco, the original San Francisco free safety starter will get his job back once he returns from a hip contusion. Shanahan would be “surprised” if Colbert isn’t ready to return this week. The second-year player did not start last week but got in two full practices this week.
  • The Seahawks could franchise Earl Thomas for $12.48MM, but the three-time All-Pro could well hit the market. If he’s not franchised, it’s incredibly hard to envision Thomas back with the Seahawks. And if he is, another long holdout almost certainly commences. Despite having a broken leg end his season, Thomas may see a robust market come March, with Joel Corry of CBS Sports citing big deals given to Allen Robinson (coming off an ACL tear) and Matt Kalil (off a hip injury) as why Thomas can be expected to be a coveted commodity. Thomas has already surmounted a significant leg injury; he returned from that season-ending malady to be a 2017 Pro Bowler. He should have immense incentive to get cleared by the time free agency opens.

49ers Notes: Rookies, Pettis, Tight End, Garnett

49ers second-round wideout Dante Pettis has an opportunity to contribute right away. Thanks to injuries to Trent Taylor and Marquise Goodwin, the Washington product received plenty of practice reps during OTAs, spending time in the slot and on the outside. While the rookie probably won’t be starting by the time the regular season comes around, the coaching staff is still confident he’ll play a role next season.

“It’s just nice when you have guys who can do different things that you aren’t handcuffed in a game,” head coach Kyle Shanahan told Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee. “Similar to how Aldrick Robinson has been for us. He’s fast enough to do some of that stuff, but he also can do the things that other guys do, which just allows you to overcome. If we could dress 15 receivers every game, none of that stuff would matter. But it’s what you get up on game day and how to get through a game.”

As of right now, Pettis is competing with Robinson, Victor Bolden, and Kendrick Bourne to be the team’s fourth wideout.

Let’s take a look at some more notes out of San Francisco…

  • Moore has notes about some of the team’s other draft picks and their progress during OTAs. The writer observed that third-rounder Fred Warner was starting at one of the team’s two inside linebacker spots, while fifth-round defensive back D.J. Reed should be the team’s backup safety. Moore was predictably impressed by first-round offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey, noting that he was a seamless fit on the offensive line and in the locker room.
  • In his 49ers mailbag, Barrows lists quarterback, offensive tackle, and cornerback as the “most vulnerable” positions. The writer also notes that a Goodwin injury would leave the team with a big hole, as his speed his valuable on offense and (potentially) in the return game.
  • While George Kittle and Garrett Celek will likely see the bulk of the 49ers snaps at tight end, Barrows believes the team will still end up keeping three players at the position. Tight ends coach Jon Embree previously implied that Cole Hikutini was the team’s definitive third tight end, but the 49ers are also rostering Cole Wick and Malcolm Johnson.
  • When asked who his pick would be for a “surprise cut,” Barrows points to offensive guard Joshua Garnett. The 2016 first-round pick started 11 of his 15 games as a rookie, but he missed all of last season after undergoing knee surgery. While the 24-year-old will have to come back from his injury, he’ll also have to hold off a pair of offseason acquisitions in Michael Person and Jonathan Cooper.

Draft Pick Signings: 5/11/2018

Here are the rest of Friday’s draft-pick signings:

  • In addition to signing Marcus Davenport, the Saints also inked Florida State offensive tackle Rick Leonard (Round 4, pick 127), Wisconsin safety Natrell Jamerson (Round 5, pick 164), Boston College cornerback Karmin Moore (Round 6, pick 189), Louisiana Tech running back Boston Scott (Round 6, pick 201), and LSU center Will Clapp (Round 7, pick 245), The Advocate’s Nick Underhill tweets.
  • The Cardinals continued to ink their draft picks to deals, signing Fordham running back Chase Edmonds (Round 4, pick 134), cornerback Christian Campbell (Round 6, pick 182), and offensive tackle Korey Cunningham (Round 7, pick 254).
  • The Giants followed suit, signing UTEP guard Will Hernandez (Round 2, pick 34), Georgia linebacker Lorenzo Carter (Round 3, pick 66) and Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta (Round 4, pick 108).
  • The Panthers also inked cornerback Rashaan Gaulden (Round 3, pick 85) and linebacker Andre Smith (Round 7, pick 234).
  • The Bills added another signing in Weber State cornerback Taron Johnson (Round 4, pick 121).
  • The Bengals were also busy, tabbing cornerback Davontae Harris (Round 5, pick 151), defensive end Andrew Brown (Round 5, pick 158), quarterback Logan Woodside (Round 7, pick 249) and guard Rod Taylor (Round 7, pick 252).
  • The 49ers signed their fifth pick so far in the offseason, inking Kansas State defensive back D.J. Reed (Round 5, pick 142).
  • The Patriots added a slew of draft picks to the ranks, signing linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley (Round 5, pick 143), linebacker Christian Sam (Round 6, pick 178), wide receiver Braxton Berrios (Round 6, pick 210), quarterback Danny Etling (Round 7, pick 219), cornerback Keiron Crossen (Round 7, pick 243), and tight end Ryan Izzo (Round 7, pick 250).

Bay Area Notes: Johnson, Hurst, Miller, DBs

It sounds like Jon Gruden and Derrick Johnson hit it off in a one-on-one meeting, which led to the Raiders signing the 14th-year linebacker earlier on Friday. Johnson’s deal is a one-year agreement, Terez Paylor of Yahoo.com reports, adding that it’s worth up to $3MM. Gruden looks to have been a Johnson fan for a while during his years as ESPN’s Monday Night Football analyst, and that intel may have played a key role in the 35-year-old off-ball ‘backer landing with Oakland.

I’m one of Gruden’s favorite players — he’s always had a soft spot for me,” Johnson said, via Paylor. “He’s always said that over the years. I’m not playing for a rebuilding-type year. I sensed an urgency from Coach Gruden that winning is important right now.”

The Chiefs’ all-time leading tackler, Johnson has not played in a 4-3 defense since the 2008 season. Prior to the Chiefs switching to the 3-4 look in 2009, Johnson worked as an outside linebacker with Kansas City during his first four seasons. The Raiders signed Tahir Whitehead as well. He, Bruce Irvin and Johnson could be the Raiders’ three linebacker starters, despite Johnson telling Paylor he’s not quite the same player he was since the second of his severe Achilles injuries shut him down late in the 2016 season.

Here’s the latest out of the Bay Area:

  • Gruden, though, did not rule out a NaVorro Bowman reunion (Twitter link via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area). Bowman is nearly six years younger than Johnson but also carries injury baggage. However, Bowman graded as Oakland’s best linebacker by a wide margin last season. The Raiders have maintained they’re still interested in Bowman throughout the offseason, but they’ve now added four linebackers — with Emmanuel Lamur and Kyle Wilber coming to California as well — since Bowman became a free agent.
  • The Raiders began their rookie minicamp with Kolton Miller working at left tackle, where he’ll likely be Donald Penn‘s backup. Gruden confirmed the team’s first-round pick will start his career there, per NFL.com’s James Palmer (on Twitter), despite the team being in need of an immediate right tackle starter. Third-round pick Brandon Parker will work at that position.
  • Maurice Hurst Jr.‘s been cleared for workouts and participated in the first day of the Raiders’ minicamp. Gruden said (via Bair, on Twitter) the team doesn’t have any reservations about the Michigan product, whose heart issues played a major role in him sliding into the fifth round. Gruden believes the Raiders landed the top two interior pass rushers in the draft in Hurst and second-round pick P.J. Hall, per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (via Twitter).
  • The 49ers plan to move third-round pick Tarvarius Moore from cornerback to safety, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee notes. The Southern Mississippi alum ran a 4.32-second 40-yard dash at his pro day, and his 6-foot-2 frame also makes John Lynch believe he could stick at corner. Interestingly, 5-9 safety D.J. Reed — an outside corner at Kansas State — will compete with K’Waun Williams for the slot job, per Barrows, but also practice at safety. San Francisco’s brass is clearly unafraid to shuttle its defensive backs around, having Jimmie Ward ready to potentially switch positions for the fourth straight offseason.
  • Would-be third-year DB Dexter McCoil broke a bone in his foot training independently, leading the 49ers to waive him with an NFI distinction, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. A 16-game Charger participant in 2016 and having played eight games with the 49ers last season, McCoil is facing a four- to six-week recovery period, per Maiocco.