The San Francisco 49ers sit at 0-6, firmly in the depths of a rebuilding year. They were incredibly active this offseason, turning over a majority of the roster under new general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan. But looking back with hindsight, what one thing would you do differently?
This week, all the SB Nation football sites are taking a look at what the team would do today if they could go back and change one move they made in the offseason. I have a couple ideas I would have considered, but as always, I‘m curious what y’all would have done differently. And given how much the 49ers did, along with the things they decided not to do, there are a host of ways to approach this.
1. Draft Deshaun Watson
The Houston Texans moved up to No. 12 in the 2017 NFL Draft to select quarterback Deshaun Watson. There were question marks about all of this year’s rookies, and while Watson was coming off a very successful career at Clemson, there were still questions. Through six games, however, Watson is showing all sorts of ability. He has thrown 15 touchdown passes, matching the Texans’ total for all last year. He has the record for most rookie touchdown passes through six games, and became the first rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw three touchdown passes in three straight games.
This all comes as the 49ers have made the switch from Brian Hoyer to their own rookie, C.J. Beathard. The 49ers have ten weeks to see if Beathard can be an answer, or if they will need to invest heavily in a quarterback in 2018. I don’t know how much longer Deshaun Watson will keep up his ridiculous pace, but I am taking considerable enjoyment out of his performances thus far. His situation in San Francisco would be entirely different than Houston, but given his performances thus far, it’s hard not to want to see what he would have done for the 49ers through six weeks.
The 49ers spent their No. 3 overall pick on Solomon Thomas, and he is off to a solid start. He has had some inconsistency, but he’s emerging as a solid presence on the line. It’s looking like a fairly solid selection, but if the 49ers could have landed a franchise quarterback there, it makes all the sense in the world. It’s too early to say Watson is going to keep this up, but it’s hard not to be impressed.
2. Sign Alshon Jeffery
The 49ers added a lot of options at wide receiver, but the return on investment has been hit and miss. Pierre Garçon has been an absolute beast, with the best hands I’ve seen in some time. Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson have had their moments, but the 49ers lack a sure option alongside Garçon.
Jeffery is an injury concern, and we certainly don’t know if he would have wanted to join a rebuilding 49ers squad, but if they could have landed Jeffery, I would have liked that. His targets are a bit all over the place, but I think he would have this offense looking better than what we’ve seen thus far.
3. Sign Jabaal Sheard
The 49ers need some help in their pass rush, and Sheard would have been an intriguing addition to Robert Saleh’s defense. He seems a little bit better suited as a 3-4 OLB, but as a pass rush option, I could have seen him being a solid edge rusher for the 49ers. He’s off to a relatively slow start in Indianapolis, but he could have been a worthwhile gamble for the 49ers.
4. Draft Carl Lawson
There has not been a hugely dominant pass rusher emerging from the 2017 rookie class, but fourth round pick Carl Lawson is off to a solid start, with 3.5 sacks. He’s not a huge guy, but as a situational pass rusher, I could have seen some value in him. And really, it’s about just adding any and all pass rush help the 49ers could find.
What would you have done differently this offseason?