49ers sign top picks Davis, Iupati
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) – Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati have been practically joined at their rather large hips since becoming San Francisco 49ers this spring, and that continued Friday on the day rookies were required to report to team headquarters.
Both first-round draft picks signed five-year contracts a few hours apart, ensuring the highly touted offensive linemen will be in uniform for Sunday’s first training camp practice.
Davis was the No. 11 overall pick in this year’s draft and Iupati was selected by the 49ers six picks later. With their stalls next to each other in the team’s locker room, there hasn’t been much to separate the two burly youngsters who are expected to immediately challenge for starting spots.
“We’ve kind of had that bonding, that brotherly bonding, just that we wanted to be on time and try to get a starting spot,” said Iupati, the last of the team’s eight draft picks to sign.
The 49ers signed each of their final four draft picks Friday before the team’s 11 a.m. meeting for rookies. Second-round pick Taylor Mays and third-round selection NaVorro Bowman both signed four-year deals.
The headliners Friday were Davis and Iupati, whom the 49ers were eager to get into camp early so they can begin their quest to bolster an offensive line that has been one of San Francisco’s weakest areas in recent seasons. Davis will compete at right tackle and Iupati will get his starting shot at left guard.
Last year, San Francisco’s first-round pick, receiver Michael Crabtree, didn’t sign with the team until Oct. 6 and missed five games. But he became an immediate starter and was the 49ers’ top wideout by the end of the season.
Davis signed a deal worth a reported $26.5 million with almost $16 million guaranteed. Iupati’s deal could be worth as much as $18.25 million with $10.8 million guaranteed.
“That was the biggest priority,” Davis said. “That’s why I wanted to get done first, so I could get in and hit the ground running. It’s done and out of the way, and now we can do what I’m here for.”
While Davis and Iupati were brought in to help the offense, Mays and Bowman will make their mark on defense for a team tabbed by many as the NFC West favorite this season.
Mays and Bowman each were selected to several All-American teams last year. Mays will challenge for playing time at safety and Bowman is expected to compete at linebacker and contribute on special teams.
Along with the rest of San Francisco’s rookies, both hard-hitting defenders are eager to put on the pads.
“That’s football, and I feel that’s a strong part of my game,” Mays said. “It’s always good to get the pads on because you get to show a little more than you do when you just have helmets on. That’s kind of what separates some guys from other guys, and I think that will be what happens when we get the pads on.”
Said Bowman: “Like a lot of people say, we’re only going to go as far as the rookie class will take it. We have to be on point and ready to go.”