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John Lynch talked about building a nucleus with the 2017 NFL draft

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The 49ers have an intriguing core on defense.

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch made an appearance on NFL Network’s Total Access show Tuesday afternoon, and you can check out video above (or here). The 49ers GM has made numerous media appearances throughout the offseason to provide updates on his new job and the development of the 49ers roster.

The GM talked about the quarterback position, but also got into the broader developments of the 2017 draft class. The team spent their first three picks on defensive players, with Lynch joking about the defense vs. offense pull between him and Kyle Shanahan.

Both men were on the same page in terms of finding a nucleus for the team with this draft class. The first three picks addressed all three levels of the defense, adding defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, linebacker Reuben Foster, and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon.

The 49ers defense was a mess last season, overshadowing the development of some solid prospects. This year’s draft class joins a defense that welcomes back NaVorro Bowman, and will look for DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, and Rashard Robinson to take a step forward. Add in moving Jimmie Ward to safety and there are a lot of changes to look for this year.

The offense has its own share of problems, but the 49ers addressed that side of the ball through free agency. The collection of offensive players feels a bit more like a bridge group, similar to how Brian Hoyer is viewed by most as a bridge quarterback. The team seemed content to use the draft to focus on defense, and will have patience in addressing the offense. Joe Williams and Trent Taylor could both make an early impact, but the offense will take some time to potentially reach the peaks of Atlanta.

While the offense should show some improvement this year, the defense has a chance to take a significant step forward. There are plenty of questions across the defense given the many changes, but there are some significant opportunities to make a leap this year.