The San Francisco 49ers head into the 2017 NFL draft with a new head coach and a new general manager. John Lynch’s personnel experience is limited to some defensive back work for John Elway, and his television analysis. Kyle Shanahan has history as an assistant coach to give us some ideas of what he might like in terms of personnel, but even that is limited since he has not been in charge.
All of that leads us to Mike Mayock’s comments on Friday. The NFL Network analyst had a conference call, and he was asked what kind of players he could see Shanahan and the 49ers looking at in the upcoming draft.
Mayock did not get into specific players, but he offered some thoughts as to the offensive and defensive looks Shanahan likes and what it might mean. Here’s Mayock’s full comment:
Yeah, I think what we need to understand is that Kyle and John Lynch are now tied at the hip. And I thought John made a great hire with Adam Peters coming over from Denver. He hired Martin Mayhew who was a former GM in Detroit. So I thought John made a couple of really key personnel signings by helping give John some depth in that front office.
As far as Kyle's concerned, he's going to walk in day one and say: I'll play the same kind of defense we just played in Atlanta. Which is the Seattle, blah, blah, blah, single high thing.
So what they're going to want to be on defense, I think, is what Atlanta converted to over the last two years. Atlanta did a great job with Dimitroff and Pioli in converting that entire defense over to the single high thing. And even though the numbers weren't great, it helped them to the Super Bowl.
What it is was they drafted a bunch of speed and toughness. It doesn't matter, if you look at linebacker, they took the kid out of LSU in the second round, Deion Jones. They took Keanu Neal in the first round (indiscernible) trendsetter at safety, which is similar to Seattle with Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas.
So it's speed at the linebacker position. It's safeties that can flat-out play and tackle, and it's a four-man rush getting off the ball and coming in waves. That's what the defense is all about.
Now, offensively, it's a different conversation. They signed Brian Hoyer, and I think Hoyer is Shanahan's top type of guy. Ball comes out, play action, understands what to do with it. Obviously not in Matt Ryan's category, and they've remade -- I think they've made more changes on offense because I think -- when I'm talking about free agency, because I think Kyle wanted to get some of his guys, type of guys in there. Pierre Garcon. He had a couple wideouts that could run like Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson, get Jeremy Zuttah center.
But there is an awful lot. They've got three starting offensive linemen in their 30s. And one of the cardinal sins is you can't let your offensive line get old, ever. So they're trying to sign Gilliam from Seattle.
But what I think you're going to see big picture is a very fast, aggressive, tough team, because that's what got them to the Super Bowl a year ago.