If there’s anything we’ve learned about Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch, it’s how they are able to not only identify talent with players others may overlook, but also how they are able to get a bit of a bond created so said talent will join the team when decisions need to be made for undrafted free agents. Matt Breida said the reason he went with the 49ers was because they were honest with expectations when bringing him in for workouts and Jeff Wilson Jr. has echoed much of the same thing.
Wilson was on Matt Maiocco’s recent 49ers Insider Podcast and got to talk about the wild ride he’s been on the last few weeks and had this to say on why he choose the 49ers when he went as a UDFA.
They were the only team who came and worked me out. On top of that, Bobby Turner, I think he had a big big big role on me coming here, just talked to me every day. Not just football, but as a person as a player coming out, he knew all the stuff I was dealing with. He knew it was a rough time for me.
The ‘rough’ time was the 2018 NFL draft where Wilson got to watch players get the phone calls and the press for their new teams while he sat got no communication. The fact the 49ers showed interest means a lot to those prospects who don’t get their name called at the podium. It turned out to be a good decision for both parties, because Wilson has made the decision making for 2019 that much harder and may have found himself a career in the NFL if not with the 49ers.
Remember how disappointed everyone was when Jerick McKinnon tore his ACL to start the season? While the injury is horrible, the one silver lining is that we were able to see what the 49ers had at running back, which is a lot considering Matt Breida’s blow-up, Alfred Morris showing good things (when active) and Raheem Mostert displaying promising development until breaking his arm. Jeff Wilson is the latest break-out star showing that he could run and catch and started this season buried on the depth chart on the practice squad.
Wilson will be making things very difficult for 2019 when Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have to make some decisions at the running back position now that he’s shown great things along with everyone else. These guys know how to find young running backs, but they also make sure they know how to keep those prospects interested when the ball is goes to their [the prospect’s] court.
I’ve timestamped the podcast below. You can listen to it using the widget above or click here if it doesn’t appear.
00:35 - Feeling like a rookie
01:03 - Playing at North Texas and not getting drafted
01:55 - Why he choose the 49ers
03:02 - Bobby Turner
04:09 - Playing for Tashard Choice at North Texas
04:58 - Jeff Wilson Sr. and growing up
07:05 - Growing up in the same town Adrian Peterson/A.P.’s game
10:05 - Leveling Tedric Thompson in Seattle
11:00 - Recruitment by Boise State
11:56 - Playing on the 49ers’ practice squad
13:07 - Getting the news he was coming to the 49ers during his grandfather’s death
14:02 - Catching the ball
14:52 - Kyle Shanahan’s system
15:52 - Focus on the future or the present