Report: 49ers sign Rugby League star Jarryd Hayne to futures contract

Twenty-seven-year-old Rugby League star Jarryd Hayne just announced he has signed a futures contract with the 49ers. The contract guarantees Hayne a spot on the Niners’ 90-man offseason roster.

Good, creative signing. Hayne has the physical traits of a first round pick. He is 6’2″, 226 pounds and he reportedly ran a 4.53 40-yard dash a few weeks ago. Compare Hayne to Melvin Gordon, who is expected to be a first-round pick in May. Gordon is 6’1″, 215 pounds and he ran a 4.52 at the NFL Combine.

Hayne never has played football. He may not make the 49ers’ final 53-man roster. If he does, God love him. If he doesn’t, at least we know what the Niners are looking for in Frank Gore’s replacement — a 220-pounder who runs about a 4.5.

This article has 197 Comments

  1. I’ve had the pleasure of watching Jarryd Hayne’s rugby league career. He is quite simply an excellent athlete and intuitive football player. One of the most naturally gifted rugby league players I’ve ever seen, which is why he was a two time winner of player of the year.

    I’m not sure how he will go transitioning to the NFL, but if he doesn’t make it it won’t be for a lack of natural talent, it will be for a lack of understanding the game.

    1. I’m not familiar with rugby, but I did watch the highlight reel. A few concerns:

      1) He seems to carry the ball like a loaf of bread. I guess that is required in order to actually throw laterals or fake the laterals as he is running which seems to be a big part of his game. However, in the NFL that won’t really be an option unless the 49ers want a trick play or two.

      2) Removing the weapon of throwing laterals to other players might affect his game and his faking ability.

      3) NFL players are much bigger especially at the line, so I’m sure that will be an eye-opening experience for him.

      Looks to me like he could have an impact on special teams. Besides being an excellent athlete he looks tough as well. It will be an interesting experiment and if he does make the 53 (possibly 55), I’d be expecting a trick play or two. But I suspect the big concern will be ball protection. In watching the reel it doesn’t look like rugby league players attack the ball for turnovers like they do in the NFL.

      1. Scooter can check me on this, but I think the rugby ball is fatter than the NFL ball, so can look melon-ish when being carried.
        “The proof’s in the pudding.”, as they say. tbd

        1. Rugby union yes, as they tend to do a lot more kicking in that game. Rugby league is actually a bit less round, as players tend to do more running with the ball in hand.

      2. “In watching the reel it doesn’t look like rugby league players attack the ball for turnovers like they do in the NFL.”

        You are correct – it is actually disallowed if there is more than one person in the tackle.

        Good pick up regarding not being able to use the ability to offload the ball in the NFL like he did in rugby league. Not being able to do that (or more accurately, being told by the coach not to do that) in the NFL will take some getting used to for him.

        1. One other thing just occurred to me. Is there an equivalent of a fair catch in rugby? If there isn’t, then that might be a problem for him. Knowing when to call for one and when not to isn’t always straightforward.

          1. Another good point, cubus.

            There is nothing such as a fair catch in rugby league. When fielding kicks, it is up for anyone’s taking. It can make for some very exciting moments when you have offensive and defensive players fighting to take a kick on the goal line – its actually one of the more commonly used offensive tactics, putting the ball high in the air and having your chasers steam downfield to catch it while typically the fullback (where Hayne played) has to try and beat them to it. Unlike in the NFL, if the team kicking the ball fields the kick it is play on, they don’t have to stop and give the ball to the other team.

            I think aside from learning when to call for a fair catch one of the harder things he’ll need to learn is to not jump up in the air when fielding punts when there are players around him. In league, because both teams are able to go field the ball from a kick the players have learned to try and jump up as high as they can to try and high point the ball. If he does that and doesn’t call for a fair catch he’s liable to get the snot knocked out of him.

            1. I’m a Brit who’s more of a rugby union fan than rugby league (slightly different rules), but I’m pretty sure they do have a fair catch equivalent. In union players can ca for what’s called ‘a mark’ when they’re defending deep in their own territory. If a high kick goes up, the catcher can signal to the referee (official) with a gesture that’s similar to NFL’s fair catch gesture, and he can catch the ball unchallenged. Players are not allowed to touch him while making the catch. Although I’m not 100% sure they have ‘marks’ in rugby league, Jarryd would definitely have played some Union in school etc. I’d be amazed if he has a problem with high balls and fair catches. It should be natural to him.

              1. There is nothing such as a mark in rugby league, and Hayne played rugby league as a kid.

    2. Ode to Jim Harbaugh…(a day in the life in 49erland)…

      I pull toward my parking space at 4949 Centennial, and a car, personalized: plate #: ( Exec. of Year is parked there).
      I pull my team off the field from their 1st practice at Levi Stadium, bad turf I swear…(Press Democrat, San Jose Merc, SF Chron)..
      Just enough time to Christen the new stadium, I excuse myself from practice a moment or two, but I’m wearing Khakis and sweatshirt there, so pissed off all suits in attendance everywhere. ( SJ Merc.) ..
      I want to run MY OFFENSE…Baalke won’t Pass…False start, holding..clock expiring in PSL Time Shares…
      Game day, ref call against us, I challenge, look up to challenge booth, wonder what’s taking so long, Paraage Marate will challenge, nevermore…
      After a tough practice, players in the nude-locker room-, Silicon Valley’s finest, storming through..I yell..Get your asses out of there, players only (merc, Knbr)…
      Baalke sends me a text, run more Jim (“Text gate, Browns may lose draft Pick, Farmer may be Suspended”, NBC)…Game day, tought call against us, I challenge play, But Paraage stands in the way, Look up at coaches Booth, Paraage play…I am fired the next day…Who wants to coach here, the suits call the plays, coaches don’t matter.

      1. Addendum: 49ers being sued for age discrimination for firing older personnel to replace them with Techies ( Possibly from) Silicon Valley.

  2. BTW, Grant, if you want to get a leg up on your competition, refer to him as a “rugby league” convert, not a rugby convert. They are two different sports. Hayne played rugby league.

      1. They are similar sports and come from the same origin.

        Basically rugby (or rugby union in Australia) is an unlimited tackle (or, for NFL fans, an unlimited set of downs) sport, so field position and ball control are paramount. When someone is tackled, a scrum is formed within the flow of the game (i.e., someone gets tackled, both sides come in and form a pile, trying to push each other off the ball and rake the ball back for their team). Defenses can line up in line with where the tackle/ scrum forms, so there is limited space between the defense and offense.

        Rugby league on the other hand is a limited tackle (or set of downs) sport. You have six tackles to go from your end of the field and score points. If you fail to do so, you turn the ball over to the other team. When a player is tackled, there is no scrum formed. The player just gets up and rolls the ball between his legs to another player to get the next play started. The defense has to back up 10 metres away from where the player was tackled, or they are off-side on the next play (with the exception of two players that are allowed to line up one behind the other right in front of the person that was tackled).

        Rugby league tends to be a faster and more free flowing game as a result.

        1. Scooter – based on your knowledge of the subject, I was wondering what your thoughts were on all the comments suggesting he won’t be ready for the “speed” of the NFL. I have never set foot on either (field or pitch), so I can’t speak with any authority, but it seems to me that rugby and rugby league both have some awfully big, awfully fast guys running around out there. He is 6-2, 225 lbs, and he doesn’t look all that big compared to the rest of the players on the tape.

          1. I’d not seen that listed as a potential issue anywhere, but I think it is unlikely to be an issue for him. Rugby League is a very fast game. The only difference is there isn’t as much stopping between the periods of action to get your breath back.

            1. Thanks. Perhaps not as much on this string, but I have read a good number of comments suggesting that despite his impressive highlights, he won’t have seen anything that compares to the size and the speed of NFL players. I am not saying whether he will or won’t make it, but having had the unique opportunity to watch an All Blacks test match in Dunedin circa 1997-98, and I have a hard time imagining anything much more imposing or awe inspiring taking place on on a field/pitch than that Haka. I know that is a slightly different deal, but my point is that I can’t imagine him being intimidated by much.

      1. George – I saw one of Haynes highlight reels. He’s a confident barbaric brute! However, his boldness could change when he is introduced to the combination of NFL speed and helmet contact……This is a very intriguing signing though…. I’m really pulling for this dude. Atta boy Baalke!!..Future goal line carries??

        Does anyone know this guys nickname?

            1. :-P

              In the film Grant embedded in his article, he’s actually doing the Hayne Plane (yes, its both an action and a nickname!). He did pretty much whenever he scored a try (or TD for NFL fans).

  3. Guess were soon to find out how rugby translates to football. One thing for sure, the offseason has been interesting to say the least.

  4. Hanye essentially told the sports world “Forget the sure thing safe money. I want a ridiculously hard challenge.” For any team that cares about “class”, he’s the perfect addition.

    Hayne’s an absolute stud. There are a gazillion question marks and concerns, but that’s what makes the decision to forgo the big money to gamble on an NFL career so dang cool.

    So only the gazillion questions…
    – Runs extremely upright. Will he lower the pad level?
    – What position will he play? Running back? Safety? ILB? I see him as a special teams ace to start. Gunner or kick off returner. A natural in a option system.
    – Will he be happy making flunky practice squad money?
    – Will he have an LMJ physiology where he’s the fastest man on the field in a hurry up game, but just another guy in a start-stop game like conventional NFL.
    – Will he drown in terminology?
    – Can he learn to say “I’ve been polishing my deck with a belt sander in the hot sun all day” without offending anyone? (if you happen to know any Kiwis or Ausies, try to get them to say it. Hilarious.)

    I think Okoye might have a better chance of sticking because of the respective ages. Okoye’s 23. Hayne just turned 27.

    1. Aussies don’t especially like braggerts; if Harbs was perceived that way, I could buy into their non-preference. Aussies, imo, prefer understatement; even exaggerated understement. Our Olympic track athletes made a seriously negative impression at the Aussie Olympics with their braggadocio.

      1. You have no idea. Its a very different culture. Someone talking up how good they are over here will instantly become public enemy number 1.

        1. Scooter
          I once followed a route (rock climbing) that a previous (Aussie) climber had characterized as “Interesting”.
          JFC! Thought I was going to die! When I complained later, an Aussie said, “Oh yeah, he once called the surf break at Tahiti “interesting”; Okay, 25 foot waves break over a reef buried only 5 feet. It’s OK when you make it. Its 50/50 Death when you don’t. Freaking ‘Interesting!’
          There’s an Anctient Chinese curse that goes:
          “May you live in Intersting Times.”

          1. Heh, I think that guy was just bat s%$# crazy, Brotha! I’d like to think he isn’t representative of all Aussies…

        2. Retiring this year ,got to make it over there with the wife sometime Scooter just think I would love the place.My father travelled around the world several times as a merchant marine before joining the Army in WW2. Australia is the one place he mentioned with fondness repeatedly.(I used to kid him about it being the beer!)If I do will have to catch a rugby league game or two!

          1. I highly recommend it hightop, both visiting the country and catching a game of rugby league.

      2. I sometimes wondered how I would feel about the constant “who’s got it better then us?” or “[player name] is an elite [position name] with the greatest [body part name] known to mankind.”

        But that’s just harbs. The “who’s got it better then us” isn’t “who’s better then us”, but a way of reminding players what a great thing it is to be a 49er. Came from his childhood.

  5. Rugby league is an easy game to watch,fast moving and exciting.Gridiron football is a hybrid relative and the connection is easily perceived for me. Anyroad,Hayne has good speed and exceptional peripheral vision excited to see how he does in a new sport!

  6. I think everyone is forgetting the most important question as to Rugby vs NFL football. What is the relative psi. of the balls?

    1. Maybe someone should check the air pressure in Congress. Of course that’s more like Methane gas than air.

  7. If they could get him to be a fairly decent punter it would really throw the defense off balance. They would have to constantly be ready for a fake punt.

  8. This guy has no shot. One hit and he’s a wrap. They don’t go for turnovers in rugby. Their speed is slow. And don’t hit as hard. Nice ploy though SF. Yes he picked you, but the worldwide money and attention should help. Smh.

    1. “One hit and he’s a wrap”,maybe but don’t count on it. Those guys may not hit as hard but they don’t play with pads either,nor do they break for huddles and they have good core strength through constant grappling.There are distinct differences in the games and the difficult aspects will come in adjusting to some of the things mentioned above-different ball.and how one carries it, wearing pads etc.changing muscle memory and visceral instincts to a new format these take time.However his skills as a runner may translate to KR fairly quickly.

    2. Okay, Eeyore, thanks! Way to put a damper on our only bit of uplifting news to come out of Ninerland in months!

    3. “Their speed is slow. And don’t hit as hard.”

      Hahahaha! Mate, you clearly have not watched much rugby league. Its very fast, the players are very fast, and there are plenty of bone rattling hits – and without pads to protect them.

      But he is an incredible long shot to ever amount to anything in the NFL. Worth a gamble for the 49ers, and as an Aussie I hope Hayne makes it, but realistically it is highly unlikely.

      1. I’m not saying they don’t hit hard an aren’t fast as athletes. I’m saying they’re not as strong or as fast as NFL athletes. Sorry no knock on Europe but they don’t have the roids we do or they may not take them like we do. My son plays rugby. (Ugh) wanted him to play baseball or football but he likes it. And I suport him and I like the sport. It’s just not there with the NFL as far as athletes and strength. Sorry bruh but it isn’t. He won’t make it in the NFL. A partly because he’s going to have to really show something no other RB can. Hey I’ll take my lumps if I’m wrong.

        1. And 1 more if I may…
          He’s flyong by guys running a 4:5,40.
          You aren’t running by NFL players with that speed. It’s a good speed but he will not be breaking long runs like his highlight tape. That’s another sign as to how fast and strong NFL players are to rugby players

          1. The guys you see him flying past are typically the tired forwards, who are the slower guys on the field.

        2. Yeah, sorry MD, but rugby league has some excellent athletes in Australia, that are just as fast as the guys in the NFL. Hayne ran a 4.53 40, and while he certainly had good speed for the sport he was nowhere near the fastest guy to grace a rugby league field.

          The main difference is rugby league is more aerobic, so they focus training on building up endurance and not as much on power and explosiveness as in the NFL. In that I will say he is likely a little behind guys that have been training for an NFL type body.

          1. Agreed. They like soccer players are built for longer hauls. Idk I love the idea they are looking at him, and I’m sure he’s tough as nails. I just don’t see him wowing the 9ers enough to get a spot. Maybe a good fullback. I’d love that idea.

            1. I completely agree he’s very unlikely to ever play a regular season game.

  9. I see many fumbles in this guys future if he doesn’t learn how to carry the football and lower his pad level when he runs….

    1. That will be part of his transition, along with wearing pads for the first time.

  10. Andre Johnson will be released by the Texans once they see they don’t have a trade partner. What is everyone’s opinion about him? I think we should attempt to make that move.

    1. And Crabs signs with the Texans? Push.
      Andre can play, but at this point in his career isn’t he another Boldin?

      1. He may be similar to Boldin but I believe his size is something we need. Plus he has experience. As far as his cap hit, if he’s released, we give him an offer. If he rejects, oh well. I think his size and experience allows us to draft a WR later. Right now we have a couple of young “short” WR’s.

        1. All true, I’m just hoping for more speed to stretch the coverage and open some throwing lanes..

  11. For some reason the 49ers think they are magicians. They think they can turn track athletes and rugby players into footballers. They also think drafting injured players is not an issue and these guys can recover and be productive.

    1. Prime Drafting\signing injured players is right out of the B. Walsh playbook see Kevin Fagan and we will see this yr whether or not signing rugby players is worthwhile, the Okoye experiment will be over either he will win a roster spot or he will be cut. Either way what did it hurt.

    2. You’ve got 90 spots to play with. What is the harm in giving 1 or 2 spots to super athletic guys to see if they can make it?

    3. Advantages to drafting NFI players

      – They can be had with much lower draft picks
      – They don’t count against the 53 man roster or 10 man practice squad
      – Cheap rookie contracts
      – Get a 5th year tacked onto their rookie contract
      – If they do pan out, they are extremely cap cheap because of their late draft slot
      – They can’t be claimed off 24 hour waivers like PS squad players can
      – An entire year at the team facility. NFIs can watch film, attend meetings, work out with team trainers, study the playbook. The only thing they can’t do is attend the regular team practices. They have to be inside the facility.

      There are risks. Lattimore is an example. But I think its worth it.

      – 4% of players chosen in Lattimore’s spot make pro bowl. Same with Brandon Thomas, though the odds of him recovering are thought to be far greater.
      – 3% Keith Reaser players chosen in Tre Millard’s spot spot make pro bowl.
      – 2 % players chosen in Tre Millard’s spot spot make pro bowl.

      If one of these guys pan out, its worth it.

  12. For those interested there’s a piece on ESPN website about Jim Tomsula. Mostly a rehash but it fills in a few details about him.

  13. Hayne is a very gifted athlete, and even against international competition that might not border on a parallel with premier US athleticism, one can see his explosiveness and tremendous acceleration. Definitely an athlete worthy of an opportunity to see what he can do in the NFL, and kudos to the Niner FO for thinking outside the proverbial box to investigate and then to sign Hayne. He is an exciting athlete, and I wish him the best. Now it is up to the Niners new staff to be able to educate him and to coach him on the nuances of the American game.

    1. While he may turn out to be a good athlete, do they really have time to train him? First, they have to win. Not winning and making the playoffs would really be unacceptable. Second, who have they truly developed? Let turn to our head coach. Okoye has been in the system for 2, almost 3 years now. If he’s not getting playing time, our head coach dropped the ball on this one. Patton, Ellington, and LMJ were all players that needed some development. Where are they now?

      He has the skill set, he may be able to make the jump, but does Tomsula have the time and the knowledge to develop him?

      1. “While he may turn out to be a good athlete, do they really have time to train him?”

        Sure. This move is a lot easier transition than what Okoye went through. The biggest learning curve is going to be pass protection.

        “who have they truly developed? Let turn to our head coach. Okoye has been in the system for 2, almost 3 years now. If he’s not getting playing time, our head coach dropped the ball on this one. Patton, Ellington, and LMJ were all players that needed some development. Where are they now?”

        The last time I checked Patton and Ellington are both on the roster and will likely have increased roles in 2015.

        “He has the skill set, he may be able to make the jump, but does Tomsula have the time and the knowledge to develop him?”

        That will be more of Tom Rathman’s job, but like I said above, the running part should come naturally. The pass blocking will probably be the main area that they need to work on with him.

        This isn’t much different than any other UDFA signing that takes place during the offseason.

        1. Jack:

          I don’t know anything about rugby, but hell that’s never stopped me from commenting before :). From what I saw on the highlight reel, it looked like Hayne generally had a fair amount of space around him and things looked relatively open around him. I wonder if his ability to run in rugby league will translate to the NFL where defenses create tight spaces. Will he be able to slip through tight spaces like Gore, for example. At his height, Hayne won’t be able to hide behind the offensive line like some of the smaller scatback types.

          1. cubus,

            Comparing a guy who’s never played football to Frank Gore isn’t fair. Heck, even Carlos Hyde can’t slip through tight spaces like Gore.

        2. Those guys were on the roster yes, used sparingly at the end of the season. That’s not real development.

          While I do not questions Rathman’s knowledge, other than Gore, we have not had a back come on and make a major difference.

          1. “That’s not real development.”

            Don’t you think that played a role in what went down over the last year?

            1. Could be…. Too many questions… I believe coaches should have more control over who they want on their team. Or GM’s should hire a coach whose vision is directly in line with theirs.

              1. “Or GM’s should hire a coach whose vision is directly in line with theirs.”

                Isn’t that what they did, and have been raked over the coals for?

              2. That is not what they did before…. They fired one of the most successful coaching staff in NFL history during a 4 year span. That is why they are being raked over the coals. Then they hired someone they really didn’t want, IMO.

              3. When Harbaugh was first brought in the style of play showed that he was on the same page as Baalke. I think that changed over time, and played a role in why he was let go.

                Now they have a coach who’s vision align’s with the general manager.

        3. @Hey Jack….you’re exactly right…the head coach (former) should be world famous for his dropping the ball on younger players development….incidentally, LMJ is on the ‘phins roster….#33

    2. “and even against international competition that might not border on a parallel with premier US athleticism”

      Yeah, its comments like this that tend to get up the noses of people from other countries. Just check out Hayne’s pro day numbers, he’s every bit as good an athlete as those of “premier US athleticism”. SMH…

      1. Oh good god, that got me going lol.

        The arrogance! denigrate his potential to assimilate the game, to learn the nuances of “american” football.

        If the US athleticism is so superior why is the US soccer team so far away from the best, or indeed the US rugby team? Its got NOTHING to do with strength or speed or athleticism, and everything to do with an intrinsic knowledge of sports built from childhood, based on development that goes back over decades, over a century.

        If he fails it will be because he cant overcome his instincts, rugby instincts that he has built since he could walk as a child. I will admit its a mighty mountain he is choosing, one he stands only a small chance of conquering. But like Okoye, it says much of the man that he is willing to try.

        And as an Englishman who has suffered more than his fair share of sporting pain at the hands of the Aussies, I wouldn’t be surprised if he went and bloody did it.

  14. For all of the ‘experts’ on here, the largest change, IMHO is the tackling that he’ll face. Rugby tackling is to surround the runners hips from the side, slide down to his knees, and squeeze. I’m sure that he has experimented with the ‘pads’, but in American football, we tackle from the front, and are prone to sudden stops administered by several 300 lb. ‘Prop forwards’, and as many 260 lb. ‘scrum halves’ who can run short distances as fast as he can. As a wideout…possibly…but that’s one hell of a transition. Also, he’ll need a good ‘hooker’ to get him the ball…..

    1. Oregon, the tackling technique you just described is the text book cover tackle (i.e., when chasing someone down). Most of the tackles are made front on. And trust me, in rugby league you are taught to tackle square up and driving with the shoulder.

      Have you watched much of the sport? These guys are given the ball and told to charge into a wall of defenders running at them. Some of the collisions are huge.

      1. @Scooter….Ironically, my only full match was in Sydney, against a team from the Australian Royal Navy. NOT their ‘first team’ by far….still they managed to beat the living daylights out of our team of misfits and the 1 “Bloody Yank” who couldn’t quite adhere to the Off-sides rule (several times). I managed to introduce them to the ‘forearm-shivver’ now illegal in american football and they were grateful. What a terrible and terrific bunch of lads….That’s over 30 years ago, and to me it’s like yesterday…I was the only one tackling from the front. For years, I followed the New Zealand ‘All Blacks’ during their championship run in the ’70s, and later the Irish national team during their championship years.

      2. Pretty intense scoot.

        I’m assuming careers don’t last very long in this sport. Do they even have a concussion protocol?

        1. Leo surpisingly there are far fewer concussions in rugby than football. Helmets do’nt protect from concussions helmets and face masks turn the head into weapon. My little brother played 4 yrs of H.S. football and 1 yr at the JC during that time he had about 5 concussions. He played 20 yrs of rugby including 3 national championships with out a single concussion.

          1. It’s true that rugby league players are taught not to tackle leading with the head, and are not allowed to tackle a player above the shoulders. This should lead to fewer concussions, however, in the National Rugby League it is pretty common for a player to accidentally tackle an opponent slightly above the shoulder line and there are usually a couple of people each week that are knocked out.

            The concussion protocol is actually very new to rugby league. It used to be a case of team discretion whether to get the player back on the field (in fact most players would just refuse to come off). Now the player has to pass a concussion test or they are ruled out of the rest of the game.

            1. I would actually argue that Rugby players are better form tacklers than many NFL players. The lack of shoulder pads and helmet mean that a player has to wrap up. Players don’t just launch themselves into an opponent with their shoulder or helmet trying to blow them up.

              Here is an interesting comparison but take it with a grain of salt as sports science is uhhh not always so factual.

            2. “….Why was he born so beautiful, why was he born at all;
              he’s no bloody use to anyone, he’s no bloody use at all…”

  15. Anyone who was around here 2 yrs ago remembers all the excitement over the Okoye signing. Many here were predicting great things for him and yet here we sit 2 yrs later and 2 yrs spent on the practice squad. Why would anyone expect this signing to be any different. There are hundreds and hundreds of phenominal athletes with football experience out there who never sniff the NFL. What makes anyone think this latest guy will be any different? I hope this yr is a breakout yr for Okoye. I also hope Hayne is the exception to the rule and makes the team but i certainly would’nt bet any of my hard earned money on it.

    1. I think the general skepticism, or at least hesitation on him is healthy; curb our enthusiasm until he passes the eyeball test. BUT… doesn’t cost much to sign him to the 90, and it’s all about opportunity, nobody is giving him a job, so what’s the harm?
      I’ll offer two more thoughts on international competition.
      1/ Lets not be too stuck-up about Yanks and our athletes. The best of the Futbol players have a combination of skills and athleticism that combines basketball and football talents.
      2/ Scooter is one of the better player skill evaluators among our amateur rag tag mob, and one of the very few (D. Clark also) who can offer cogent opinions on Rugby, and he seems optimistic that this fellow can make the difficult transition. Quite different than a sprinter or hurdler.
      Depending upon his actual speed I could see him getting some work as a receiver too to get him into open space. Not sure if he could be the RB/wr to compliment Ellington’s WR/rb.

  16. Margus Hunt from Estonia is an example of a football player, who like Okoye was a former track and field star (although Okoye also played rugby). He went to SMU in 2007 to train in track and field, but that was the year SMU dropped the program. He started football in 2009 and was drafted after four college football seasons by the Bengals as a defensive end with the 53rd pick.

    Hunt may be the “model” for how long it takes an excellent athlete to become a pro football player. It took Hunt four years so I think it’s reasonable to expect three to four years for Okoye. But I’m not sure if the 49ers will give him any more time if he doesn’t make the 53 this year.

    With Hayne I’m expecting a quicker, “development” cycle especially if they limit him to special teams.

    1. Actually, I guess you can argue it took Hunt less than four years, because if he wasn’t a very good player in his final college year, he wouldn’t have been selected with pick #53.

    2. And even after 4 years of college football Hunt hasn’t been a very good for the Bengals. He’s played only 373 snaps in two seasons

    3. College football and the NFL are two totally different beast. There are a lot of people who can dominate in college and not even make a mark in the NFL.

      1. True. There are a fair number of second rounders that don’t become stars. I never meant to imply that after four years he would become a star – just that it might take around four years to become good enough to play in the NFL.

        1. I can see that. I just don’t know if they have 4 years to develop someone. I look at Okoye and see he can’t make it on to the roster. All we need him to do is get to the QB and stop the run. A running back has a lot more responsibility than a DL. i also get that it’s cheap. I just feel we need to be done with projects.

          1. “A running back has a lot more responsibility than a DL.”

            I know you didn’t use the word “develop”, but the posts here lead me to believe that it might be easier to develop a running back from “scratch” than a DL (assuming that the individuals have the measurables and athleticism for the positions). I really don’t know. I’m actually a little surprised that people seem to think that Hayne can readily be developed into an NFL running back. Nothing against Hayne, it’s just that I thought it would take time to learn plays and assignments. And the 49ers require that running backs be good blockers.

            But it seems like he could develop into a special teamer pretty quickly. I’m mostly concerned about fumbles.

  17. It seems to me to be premature to think of Hayne’s chances as a NFL running back. It will be a long shot for him to play on special teams.

      1. This morning. A lot of readers made the good point that the Niners need a swing tackle.

        1. I wonder how mad the 49ers are about Boone’s holdout.

          Why not extend Boone, and get a dedicated Guard like AJ Cann in the late 3rd? Use pick 15 on another position.

          A) Use pick 15 on an Guard / Swing Tackle

          B) Extend Boone. Use pick 15 on a receiver, running back or edge rusher.
          Trade pick 79 back for a late 3rd+4th. Pick AJ Cann.

          I still don’t know why they didn’t move Boone to right tackle when Davis went down. Either Boone wasn’t ready, or Looney is a terrible right guard.

    1. Grant i agree with you about the need for a swing tackle but i dont think the 9ers will use their first pick on a back up. I believe that Thomas will replace Iupati. I think this is going to be a trade back year with the 9ers ending up with as many as 4 extra picks in the first 5 rds. I think they will pick up a swing tackle in rds 2 through 5.

    2. Good write-up Grant.

      I’ve been thinking about Torrey Smith lately and wondering if he really offers anything that Devin Smith wouldn’t. Obviously the experience. But they really are very similar players, except one would cost a whole lot less. And your point on Henry is spot on. I would hope that they would listen to him very closely when making their selection. It could also be Dorsett. A lot of speed should be available in the 2-3 rounds.

      What are the chances Devin’s not there when we select in the 2nd?

    3. I sincerely hope you’re wrong about the offense being quarterback run centric because that type of offense has been shown to be nothing but a flash in the pan.
      Also I think you’re wrong on the team going with an OL in the first round. Excluding the 2012 draft, every first round pick that he has drafted were to not only feel a need but also an area where the team was exposed. This year that area is a deep threat on offense.

  18. Grant, I took a look at your article on BR. I thought the suggestion of going after Roy Helu was interesting and made a lot of sense. I also hope we draft Devin Smith at WR.

    What do you think about getting Devante Parker at 15 (if he drops that far, or if we execute a trade up a few spots to get him)?

  19. Well, wouldn’t surprise me for this kid to make his mark in the NFL. A man’s got to be tough to play that game without pads, and elusiveness and power are pretty much the same in the two sports. It isn’t like discus throwing, where you have to learn a new game from scratch, so don’t be discouraged by the slow transition of Lawrence Okoye as an indication of what’s going to happen. It will be fascinating to watch.

  20. He looks fast, but man hes got alot to learn. Blocking schemes/blitz pickups and he runs way to high. Should be interesting but seems to be a long shot.

  21. A late rd or UDFA to keep an eye on Corey Grant RB Auburn Great speed, good size and good vision along with alot more american football experience than Hayne.

      1. George i was not aware of his pro day. I just remembered him from 2013 when he had a great yr. If Hunter is’nt able to come back all of the way from his injury I think Grant might be a good change of pace back and a great deal late in the draft.

        1. I’d say so. From the article:

          The Alabama transfer wasn’t used extensively last season, as Cameron Artis-Payne and Nick Marshall accounted for a huge bulk of Auburn’s carries. Grant rushed for 334 yards on 55 carries, averaging 6.4 yards per crack. He also caught ten passes for 92 yards and scored four combined touchdowns.

          Grant also had a 37-inch vertical jump, a 10’4 broad jump along with 22 reps in the bench press

  22. I hate to say this but our team has a classless owner. Why would you take down harbaughs stuff from the HOF?
    Bitterness because he told the truth? What a tool we have running the San fran 49ers. Smh

    1. don’t worry whinner, JH still shows up in the 9erHOF when talking about the Playoff game against NO, “the one Alex Smith threw a TD catch to V. Davis”…..

      we don’t have clothes of coaches who have won a SB, talk less of coaches who have not won a SB in the 9erHOF

    1. E.J. Manuel is so frickin’ giddy right now.
      Typical Rex Ryan move. Cover up putrid QB play with a solid run game.

  23. During his chat today, Maiocco was asked about potential free-agent backups for CK. I found this part of his response interesting:

    “But one thing that should not be overlooked was Alex Smith’s role that first year after he got benched. He went through every game plan and served as Kaepernick’s support system in telling the coaching staff what would and would not work with Kaepernick. That’s part of the reason Kaepernick had such a good first season.”

    1. That is precisely why I have been advocating for signing a highly experienced vet to be either the #2 or #3 QB the past couple of years. Jason Campbell has been on my wish list for three years.

      I said at the time losing Smith’s experience on the sideline was a big loss for Kaep as he provided a set of eyes that had been there and seen it all before. I recall quite a few people telling me that was what the QB coach was for, but its just not the same as having a guy that has recently been there and done that pointing out what he is seeing to the young guy.

      1. Kaepernick admitted as much when he acknowledged Smith was instrumental in his success.

        Spiller would be a great pairing with Mr. Hyde, but you’re right. He’s likely looking for more than the 49ers would be willing to spend….

      2. I’m thinking this far into his career he shouldn’t need a vet helping him anymore. He got help from smith but still played he dawn when he left. Last season was bad all around the offense. Smiths “help” wasn’t going to help him last season. He shouldn’t need smith or anybody after this offseason. Time for him to put up or shut up.

        1. I think having someone on the sideline with decent starting experience to talk through what they are seeing would be valuable for any QB, and especially someone like Kaep who is still a work in progress when it comes to reading defenses, etc.

          The past two years he’s had McCoy, Gabbert and Johnson – none of those guys have seen significant experience or had much of any success in the NFL.

          1. I agree if it’s a rookie qb or one in his second year. Ck did ok his second year. He’s going into his 4th year. He should know these things by now. No doubt smith helped him develop his first year. But imO I don’t want a qb who needs another vet to help him in his fourth year. Especially with the offseason he’s having with Warner and that school for qb’s. That’s just my take. He should be ready and he should be helping a rookie qb next season if they draft one.

  24. Well, I guess with McCoy off to the Bills, CJ Spiller will definitely be heading elsewhere. Could be a good change of pace option for the 49ers, but might be too costly.

    1. Why do you think the Eagles traded McCoy? Do you think it was something mostly non-football related.

      1. I think they will get some pretty big salary cap savings for a guy that was coming off a down year.

          1. Or Bush…. The Eagles arent a traditional running team. Hands and speed will flourish with philly

  25. “Hayne never has played football. He may not make the 49ers’ final 53-man roster. If he does, God love him. If he doesn’t, at least we know what the Niners are looking for in Frank Gore’s replacement — a 220-pounder who runs about a 4.5.”
    ~ Grant

    Don’t we already have someone similar to those numbers in C.Hyde who btw, has been playing American Football since high school.

    In Hayne’ case, have the 49ers even assigned a position for him? The only thing we know is that he is a physical talent and will be on the 90 man team.

    Let’s see if this guy can get past the 90 man squad before getting over exuberant and mentioning his name in the same sentence with Frank Gore.

    1. According to Hayne the 49ers have told him they will try him at RB, at least to start with.

      1. Thanks Scooter.
        At 6’2″ 220, and a 4.5 40 Haynes certainly has the physical attributes, but wearing football equipment may feel like a ton of weight for him and he will need to adjust and familiarize himself with that as well as the speed of a game he’s never played before.

        Our own Lawrence Okoye is also a physical specimen. Here’s a report by Chris Wesseling
        Around the NFL Writer
        Published: April 7, 2013 at 03:47 p.m.

        “At nearly 6-foot-6 and 304 pounds, Okoye ran the 40-yard dash in 4.88 and 4.78 seconds while posting a 10-foot-5 broad jump and a 35-inch vertical jump in a “real, first-class show.” Brandt called him the class of the defensive linemen in attendance Sunday.”

        Very high praise by a longtime football talent analyst, Gil Brandt. But two years after those comments, Okoye is still on the outside looking in.
        Maybe the Okoye’ and J.Haynes of the world have a chance to make it in the NFL and at the very least I’m ok that the 49ers are willing to give them a chance.

    1. Why are we excited about Ted Ginn returning?

      His only asset to a team is as a decent punt returner and an average at best kick returner. His career kick return average is 22.2, if you put that on the list of 2014 kick returners that would place him at #20. Which he’d probably prefer since he only actually averaged 19.0 yards on kick returns in 2014 so he was ranked 21st on that same list.

      He’s a better punt returner although he didn’t become so until he came to the 49ers.

      As a WR no team outside of Miami has ever seriously considered him for the role. Since leaving Miami he’s started at WR only 5 times.

    2. Ginn would be an upgrade at PR, but we need someone who can be an upgrade at KR.

      1. We had the 7th ranked KR based on avg yards per return in Ellington. I think we’re fine. Ginn would be a minimal upgrade at PR over Ellington as well.

        1. That may be true, but I think we can do better at the position. Having someone other than Ellington to handle kickoffs would also give him a better chance of being utilized on offense.

    1. Do you have a firstborn to go with the arm and leg that it will cost you to get him?

      1. Good things cost money Mid. They just saved a bunch of money on firing the most expensive coaching staff, have yanked in a bunch of dough on a new stadium, and will be hosting a bowl game and super bowl this year. They have plenty of cash!

        1. They are going to have to cut or release players, restructure contracts, or go way over the cap in order to sign Cobb.

          1. Nah! Paraag can get creative. Don’t assume you have to revamp your entire roster for one guy.

            1. The ways that I mentioned are how he would be able to get creative. Another way would be having Cobb’s first year salary amount to peanuts and then blow up after this season or the following one, but I don’t see that happening.

  26. Rotoworld:
    ESPN’s Josina Anderson reports the Cardinals, Jets, Dolphins, and 49ers are “potential suitors [with] considerable interest” in free agent C.J. Spiller.
    We’d add the LeSean McCoy-less Eagles after they reportedly tried to trade for Spiller last March before acquiring Darren Sproles. The Cardinals weren’t prepared when Andre Ellington got hurt last year, while the Jets have been dubbed the favorites for Spiller. San Francisco needs a return man and COP runner to Carlos Hyde if free agent Frank Gore skips town. Miami is in the market for an upgrade on free agent Daniel Thomas next to Lamar Miller. Spiller is going to have a hot market despite injury concerns coming off a down 2014. He’s our No. 2 available back behind DeMarco Murray.

        1. I hadn’t, but the question is how much the 49ers are actually counting on him due to his injury history.

          1. It’s futile counting on little running backs being available late in the season heading into the playoffs….

            1. @Razor….I have to agree with you, that late in the season, unless you use them sparingly, smaller backs are susceptible to being a bucket of bruises or injuries unless you do treat them as a COP back….Mercury Morris after Csonka and Kiick

    1. It would be a good add I think. Like stated before, Hunter can’t be counted on, Spiller has tremendous upside and would pair very nicely with Hyde. I have a few hunches for this off-season, one is that Gore won’t be coming back, and two is we might see a more aggressive Baalke/Paraag in Free agency. They (especially Baalke) may be feeling the pressure from Jed to make sure we have the talent to make that post-season push. If Trent can clear the cap space, he’ll have the ability to make some solid moves.

      As for Dockett, I also would like the pick-up, he’s got a few (literally like 2) more years in him and will be very productive, and like Grant said, and upgrade over Rmac. I would like to see more of a rotation with Tank and Dial, so we can continue to develop them, while also keeping Dockett fresh for late in the season. My only concern would be if we keep both Dockett and Smith it may stunt the development of our young talent behind them.

  27. We are becoming the definition of insanity. If we sign Ginn I hope that means increased playing time for Ellington and Patton. If them signing him bumps them down further the WR depth chart I will be highly upset.

  28. On the Shady Deal, er, the Shady trade:
    Arians commented he knew of Shady’s availability but thought he wasn’t a good fit for Az; fitting his contract being the unfit part I guess.
    I wonder if Indy made a pitch; seems like a good fit for a team with needs.
    Is Chip Kelly a control freak? Chatter on NFL Net is that he’s been systematicly jettisoning any strong voices in the locker room; DJax, Shady, Cole, Williams. idk

  29. Instead of the 9ers drafting a swing tackle how bout signing Jeremy Parnell FA OT from the Cowboys. I believe he has a huge upside and would’nt cost too much.

    1. I tossed around the idea of extending Boone yesterday, but the free agency route might be better. The choices seem to be:

      A) Use pick 15 on an Guard / Swing Tackle

      B) Go free agent or extend Boone. Use the 3rd rounder as trade bait, or a dedicated left guard Pick like AJ Cann.

      It boils down to certain questions…

      – Is Boone really a good swing tackle?
      – If he held out before, will he hold out again?
      – Will he demand pay higher then Davis or Staley?
      – Is the first round swing tackle on the board projected to be a high level starting tackle some day?

      I still don’t know why they didn’t move Boone to right tackle when Davis went down. Either Boone wasn’t ready, or Looney is a terrible right guard.

    1. George it looks like the Pack is keeping Jeff Janis over Dorsey. I hope the 9ers keep their eye on the Waiver wire for Janis he was my draft crush last year and he had a great camp and preseason for the pack. He may be the reason the Pack feels comfortable letting Cobb go.

      1. I imagine the progress of Davante Adams last season would be another reason they might feel ok if Cobb leaves.

  30. the Hearst run vs NYJ is playing on NFL network. One of the best games I’ve been to. Man those uni’s are hideous. And I mean Jake from State Farm hidious. Lol

    1. “The running back weighed in at 238 pounds, ran a 4.58 40, put up 23 reps in the bench press, had a 33 1/2 vertical leap, and a 10-foot broad jump.”

  31. According to Mike Mayock, Sammie Coates looked very good at his pro day catching the ball, especially deep passes. He’s saying Coates could be a late first round pick and no worse than a second rounder.

    1. Thanks, Scooter. I think someone’s gonna get a good player in Coates. I hope it’s us.

      1. I’ve made my thoughts on him known, but he certainly has a lot of admirers. Its not hard to see why – he’s one of the best put together WRs you’ll find with a great combo of size, strength, speed and quickness.

        Really the only question marks on him are his hands and route running. I do think he may struggle tracking the football deep, but I’ve not seen anyone else suggesting it could be an issue for him so it may just be me seeing things that aren’t there.

        1. Hands are important. If Kaep didn’t throw the ball so hard, it would not be an issue. He does, if you have brick hands with an average QB, you will struggle initially, maybe longer, catching a pass from Kaep.

  32. For you Roy Helu fans:

    Free agent RB Roy Helu will test the open market.
    Helu has been an intriguing player the past few years, but had been unable to find consistent work with the Redskins behind Alfred Morris. He’ll look for a bigger role elsewhere, but Helu is going to be hurt by such a robust running-back market. He’s still just 26 years old and owns a career 4.43 YPC average.

  33. I already like Haynes for the way he celebrates his TD’s!
    None of that Mamby-Pamby Fairy crap that we have to watch in the NFL.

Comments are closed.