It probably doesn’t mean anything, but it’s interesting that the one to show up at Stanford’s pro day is San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and not general manager John Lynch. Given that Lynch’s alma mater is in Palo Alto, there was a thought he’d be evaluating the Stanford prospects. He’s elsewhere, while Shanahan gets a look at the top prospects like Solomon Thomas and Christian McCaffrey.
Did you want to get a close-up look at Solomon Thomas too?
A lot of guys, but it was nice to see him up close. Christian [McCaffrey] did a good job too. They had a lot of good players. They were all very impressive.
Christian was lining up at a bunch of different spots. Do you see him possibly being a spot receiver or anything other than a running back?
Yeah, I think that's what makes him valuable. He can do a bit of everything. Special teams, all the skill positions on the offense—except for maybe quarterback. Maybe not tight end either. He’s good at all, he’s very versatile, but he’s good at running back which makes him special.
Are you still looking for a running back? I know you had Tim Hightower last week, are you looking at running backs?
There’s honestly not a position on our team we’re not looking at. We want to get better at every spot. Spots we feel good about we want to get more depth there. There isn’t a position we eliminated in whether it’s free agency or the draft. We didn’t look at free agency like “we have to get these positions”, we tried to get the right people available at those positions. Hopefully the same thing will work in the draft.
You have the number 2 overall pick now. How many options are being talked about behind closed doors that you can do with that pick?
It’s a process. You have to talk about every option. You never know what will happen. You have to be ready for anything someone will call you on, whether that’s a trade or not. So you got to go through all those because they can happen quick. Especially when you get closer to draft day. There’s lots of situations with players. Right now, it’s not necessarily in my mind the number 2 pick, it’s taking time to get to know the whole pool of people; who’s going to be available at 2, who’s going to be available halfway into the 1st round, what are the players you can get in the 2nd and the 3rd round? And that’s not something that just gets done. You have to watch a lot of tape, you have to listen to your scouts and listen to all the homework they’ve done with the characters on these guys. You gotta kinda soak it all in for a couple months. That’s why the way you feel sometimes at the combine is completely opposite by now and it might change before the draft. It’s just a process that you go through, it’s tough, because you only end up getting seven guys or whatever it is. You got to go through the whole process with everyone, because you don’t know who’s going to be available, you don’t know where you’re going to be, and you can’t stop looking at enough.
There doesn’t seem to be a consensus among the pundits on the number 2 player and the fact you just mentioned that all positions can be fortified on your team, seems like a trade down could be something you guys would want. Is that, I assume a possibility.
Everything’s a possibility. If it can improve our team, then that’s what we watn to do. If trading down and there’s an option to do it, and we think it will improve our team, we can add more valuable players, that will be great for anybody. If there’s a player that’s best available player at the second pick, whatever position that is, if we think that helps us the most then we’ll do that. There’s no set way of doing stuff, the right answer changes every year. That’s why you need to know all your options, who you can get. Sometimes you can get two great players or two really good players. That might be better than one great player, but it really just depends. You have to see who they are and who the options are.
Where do you guys stand as far as the veteran quarterbacks? I know you have two, if everything stands the way it is and nobody becomes available, are you guys fine right now with the two veterans?
Yeah. We always usually want to bring about four to camp. I’ve done three before, I’ve done five before. I’d like to bring four, we’ll continue to look at where they can come from. The draft is always the last thing remaining. And even after the draft, you still look depending on what your roster is. We got a rookie tryout camp where you look at people. And people get let go too after the draft so you want to look into that. We’re pretty comfortable right now with the options that we have and are available, but we never stop looking. It’s every day something can pop up. I’ll never tell you that we’re fully done because we never are.
Haven’t spoken to you since Aldrick (Robinson) was signed. Why bring him here? What’s he bringing?
Aldrick’s a solid receiver. Aldrick’s got a lot of speed, he backed up Julio Jones for us in Atlanta. Julio missed a lot of the year. He didn’t miss too many games, think he missed a couple, maybe one game. But he was in and out battling injuries all year. When he was out, Aldrick came in and did his job. He can run all the routes and has a lot of speed so he’s a guy who can be valuable to us.
As far as Solomon Thomas, this team has taken a defensive tackle in the previous two years in the first round. Did he show enough versatility with Stanford to make you think you could work him into a lineup that includes Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner?
Definitely. It really doesn’t concern me what we’ve done in the past or what we’re going to do in the future, it’s what we have now. If we think that player can help us or improve us, that’s what we’ll do. We want the best guy possible. There’s lots of options open, we’ve got lots of position to find.
Do you think he can line up in that Leo pass rusher position?
I believe so. He can line up wherever he wants. I’m still not done with my research yet, still working on more.
You guys are starting your offseason program a week later than you can, why is that?
Just because of when we wanted to end. We’re using the same amount of time that we’re given, we’re using all the days. We just wanted to have a little bit more time to get ready and then you don’t have as long of a break at the end too.