It only takes one great start to get the hype train (and t-shirt production) going. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens was wildly impressive in his debut against the Oakland Raiders, and will make his second start this Monday against the New York Giants.
Given the Thursday nature of Mullens debut, the 49ers had fewer media obligations shortly after the game. They returned to practice this week, and we’ve heard from Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch about Mullens’ debut. And naturally, the origin story has been playing big this week in the media.
Quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello has been getting a lot of press for his work in championing Mullens to Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. On Friday, Lynch was on KNBR offering more context into how the 49ers came across Mullens. He said regional scout Darrell Moody first noticed Mullens, and “really took a liking to Nick.” Moody is in his fourth season with the 49ers, and was retained by John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan when they took over the football operation in early 2017.
After taking over, Lynch and Shanahan worked together, with the coaches and scouts sorting through what they liked and wanted in building the roster. Scangarello was breaking down quarterbacks and took a liking to Mullens as well. Matt Barrows put together a great feature breaking down how Scangarello first really noticed Mullens while breaking down film of other players from the East-West Shrine Game practices.
During his Friday KNBR interview, Lynch went into detail about where things went from there.
“And so I do remember, at the Combine you have 50 visits. You get 15 minutes with 50 guys, and so you have to use those judiciously. And then after the Combine, you have what you call your 30 visits where these guys come in. And so you bring in a Reuben Foster. But that’s usually for guys at the top of the draft, that you would like to spend some time. But we brought Nick Mullens in because Rich Scangarello, our quarterbacks coach, and really taken a liking to him.
“And I’ll never forget, we were giving Rich a hard time, but he felt that passionate. We said, ok, we’ll use one of our 30 visits on him. And we were giving him a hard time, and then he showed up, and Kyle and I came out of his office, and he was in this suit with no tie, and he looked like he was about 15 years old. We literally excused ourselves and said, ‘Are you kidding me, Scangarello?’
“But then we went and sat down with the kid, and we had watched his film and were very impressed — a four-year starter, broke a lot of Favre’s records at Southern Miss, and Kyle started quizzing him on the board, we start just talking, just talking life, just talking ball with him, and you became very impressed with him very quickly.”
It’s only been one game, but expectations have quickly grown for Mullens. He faces a bad Giants squad this week, and depending on his performance, would face a bad Bucs defense in Week 12. He has a chance to build some serious momentum before reaching a closing stretch that includes the Seahawks, Broncos, Seahawks, Bears, and Rams.
That’s going to tell us something, and if he finds some success over these final seven weeks, the origin story is going to increase all the more!