The San Francisco 49ers head into the 2017 NFL draft in less than two weeks with plenty of questions to answer. There are roster spots to be filled, and with a first-time duo at head coach and general manager, there are a lot of mysteries as to what we can expect. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have talked plenty about football character, and we’ve heard what Robert Saleh likes on defense. But in reality, there is a lot of mystery right now.
NFL Network draft analysts Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah conducted a conference call earlier this week in advance of the draft. They answered questions posed about most every team. When it got around to the 49ers, the question was kind of an obvious one:
When a team has a clean slate like the 49ers now, what would be your educated guess as to the way Kyle Shanahan is going to operate?
We have some things from which to work, but not a ton of specifics. Here’s what Brooks and Jeremiah each had to say about what to expect.
BUCKY BROOKS: It's a tough one because it's first year head coach, first-year general manager, you're trying to connect the dots. When you try to connect the dots, the people that are there, you have Adam Peters who comes from New England, then Martin Mayhew, who has been a former GM. You wonder how much influence and sway they will have.
When you look at style of play, you can put together some of it offensively, what they want to do defensively. Then you hear the words from Shanahan and also Lynch. The one thing that we do know, they want smart, tough, very competitive team-oriented players.
Now you're trying to figure out in the draft when they've said, We want to get stars. Stars to me means they're going to take blue-chip players, guys that can come in and make an immediate impact. Regardless of the position, I think they're looking to hit home runs on the guys that they get.
I think there will be a little more sizzle to their draft class than it was to their free agent class.
DANIEL JEREMIAH: To answer the question, it's impossible kind of to predict what they're going to do. We're really just kind of guessing. Traditionally when you have first time guys, they tend to be a little bit more safe, you know, maybe not as aggressive. If you watched Kyle Shanahan coach the Super Bowl, I don't know that 'safe' is the way you would describe him.
Trying to predict what they're going to do is difficult. Bucky mentioned what they do schematically, trying to find players that fit in there. Defensively you just look at John Lynch, the great defenses he was a part of, the elements of those defenses. You can look at guys like Reuben Foster, he can be your Derrick Brooks; Solomon Thomas, can you use him like your Warren Sapp, as your three technique. Then John Lynch maybe sees a little bit of himself in these safeties.
That's kind of what you work off of there. Again, it's pure guesswork. There's no track record.