The San Francisco 49ers have numerous decisions to make with the quarterback position, and the hiring of Kyle Shanahan as head coach is going to play a critical role. Although reports have stated that John Lynch will have control over things like the draft, free agency, and trading, Shanahan is likely to have significant say on the quarterback position.
Shanahan is the offensive mind who has done wonders with a host of quarterbacks over the years. Lynch might pull the final trigger on a decision, but Shanahan is going to have the most significant input in the process.
On Tuesday, Lynch made an evening appearance on KNBR, and naturally he was asked about the QB position. He did not provide anything in the way of specifics on what he might look for, but he did talk about some possible ways this could play out. He would not commit to a particular course, be it trading for or signing a veteran, drafting someone early, or some combination of things. But he did leave the door open to a long-term process.
Most importantly, Lynch specifically stated about working with Shanahan that, “we’re gonna get together and find out exactly what he’s looking for in a quarterback.” Draft picks and cap space will factor into all this, but clearly Shanahan will be providing a rundown of what he wants.
He also had some interesting thoughts on scouting college prospects given how much the college game has changed compared to the NFL. Here’s a full rundown of his comments.
On importance of QB position:
That’s a big question. When I played, I had to play against those guys, and so I don’t know if I ever, in my mind I think I knew but I couldn’t really admit it to myself because it would only be surrender. Because when you go against a great one, you’re helpless. So I’ll tell you, that changed when I went up in the broadcast booth and you start just seeing the effect these guys have on football teams. I think there was a stat that I saw recently, where on the AFC side, 14 of the last 16 Super Bowls have been Brady, Manning, then Ben Roethlisberger had a couple in there. And so, that just speaks to how important that position is.
The answer for us is that Kyle and I are going to get together, and we’ve already discussed it, but we’re gonna get together and find out exactly what he’s looking for in a quarterback. And then we’re gonna evaluate the guys we have, we’re gonna evaluate the draft, and we’re going to look hard at free agency, trades, whatever we need to do to get a guy. And it may not be this year. It may be that we draft and develop. We’re looking at every scenario, but we’re both big believers, and I don’t think this is anything revolutionary, everyone knows how important that position is; but we certainly place a huge emphasis on it and we’re gonna work hard to get that right.
On scouting college quarterbacks with changes to the college game:
Well that is such a good point, and I think a perfect example is a guy like Dak Prescott. Why did he get drafted in the 4th round? Because no one ever saw him do the things that he would need to do in the NFL to be successful. The Dallas Cowboys, they can say they something, “Well you drafted him in the fourth round, why wait till then?”
But we’ve been looking at quarterbacks all day, and that is such a good question. Paxton Lynch, a guy on the Broncos, is an immensely talented kid, and I was out at their training camp a lot last year. Every time they went into the two-minute drill, and it became street ball, he scored. But you put him in a huddle, and he had to turn and look to his coach for help because he had never called a play. He had looked to the sideline, they had held up cards. And you get in Kyle Shanahan’s system and you’ve got 15-word plays. And the coach is in your ear but you still have to replicate that with confidence and authority. And so it’s a big challenge for this entire league. I think it extends deeper than just the quarterback position, but at that position in particular, that’s a challenge.
So what you have to keep in mind is, if you get a guy like that, Paxton Lynch I think’s gonna be just fine, but you maybe should have known, year one, it’s maybe gonna be a developmental year. So you have to keep that in mind, because it’s just the reality, these guys are playing a different style of football. I don’t think it’s great for the game, but it’s the reality, because it’s all over college and high school football. So that’s gonna be a challenge moving forward.