The San Francisco 49ers have two weeks left in their offseason workout program, and they are slowly gaining a firmer grasp on where their roster stands before training camp. They entered the offseason with a host of questions, and while plenty remain unanswered, they are starting to figure out some answers.
Back in early February, shortly before the Super Bowl, Jason La Canfora put together a list of the top offseason priorities for the 30 non-Super Bowl participants. For the 49ers,
This is a total and complete rebuild, outside of perhaps the defensive line. They need to hire the best scouts and execs possible to put around rookie GM John Lynch, because this is nothing like John Elway in Denver. Elway inherited some stud players, had a nice front office in place around him and Peyton Manning fell in his lap. Lynch has none of that. The 49ers had better establish a legit infrastructure above all else so they start to make shrewd decisions, because this is going to take time. College scouting director. Player personnel director. Pro personnel director. Get those right, or else.
The 49ers front office was active in free agency and the draft, but the work in establishing the people around John Lynch could prove to be the most important over the long haul. The team hired Adam Peters as VP of player personnel, Martin Mayhew as Senior Personnel Executive, and Ran Carthon as Director of Pro Personnel. All three have extensive experience, and generally are praised around the league.
The team still has to hire a college scouting director, after Matt Malaspina left for the Green Bay Packers. For the time being it would appear the 49ers have not turned over their various regional scouts (Fooch’s update: Correction, southern regional scout Bob Morris left). Normally a new front office will turn over some scouts, but that usually happens not long after the draft. It appears the 49ers will continue with their current set for the time being. There is plenty of work for the college scouts to do in preparing for the 2017 college football season, with 2016 tape to watch as the team begins the lengthy process of building a 2018 draft board. I would think the team will hire a college scouting director fairly soon.
In some ways, we will not know how the front office hirings pay out until we’ve seen some free agency and draft classes on the field. Peters, Mayhew, and Carthon all have lengthy reputations to date in the NFL arena. Thus far, it is a step in the right direction to setting up this front office for success. The next couple years will tell us plenty more.