The San Francisco 49ers finished their second draft with John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan calling the shots. At their final draft press conference Shanahan detailed how the team made balanced choices to rebuild the roster. While last year the top picks in the draft were a focus to solidify the defense, this season, was all about the offense. It was an interesting clarification on how they added to all three levels on each side of the ball, as opposed to just arbitrary positions.
Shanahan: What I love, now that the draft’s over and we can look back at it all, I was saying to these guys last night, I think the coolest thing is, you look at your first three picks, usually the big ones each year that say a lot and I love how our first three picks our first year were at all three levels of our defense. We got [DL Solomon Thomas] Solly as a D-Linemen, [LB] Reuben [Foster] as a linebacker and we got [CB] [Ahkello] Witherspoon as a corner. Then this year, I feel all three of our picks were at all different levels of our offense, where our first-round guy was our right tackle in [Mike] McGlinchey and our first second round pick was our quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo.
Lynch: Good pick.
Shanahan: And our next second-round pick was [Dante] Pettis, so we have six players that are on young contracts that you know you’re going to have for a while, three that are spread out through the defense, three that are spread out through the offense, and I feel as far as in two years, the rest of the roster, we’ve tried to just build it after that. We are going to always try to be at competitive as we can be ask do the right thing in free agency and be aggressive in trades that we feel will help us and we’ll never try to never miss an opportunity to improve our team, whatever it is. I’m just really happy with the opportunities that we’ve taken advantage of in the draft and I think it went very well for us.
Is that always possible?
Shanahan: Yeah, but you don’t just do it do it. But, if you could write it up on how to do it, I would like it to play out that way. I wouldn’t like to say man, our six picks we had in our first two years are all D-Linemen or they’re all O-Linemen. It’s like, all right, we’re solid here, but we have to get everyone else and now we have to go spend three agents on the rest of the team. It’s neat to have draft picks invested at six different spots, to me.
When you hear this explanation, it explains more about the team’s draft philosophy and why they chose the players they did. Earlier in the week, Lynch said it had to be a combination of taking the best player and drafting positions of need. If you read between the lines, they believe in the defense enough for now, that they didn’t feel the need to draft Minkah Fitzpatrick, Vita Vea or Marcus Davenport over McGlinchey.
From previous press conferences, the front office and coaching staff clearly have a solid belief in Thomas and his potential going forward and no one questions the talent of DeForest Buckner. They aren’t pass rushers but this draft only had a few worth a top pick and the 49ers chose offense. They will work with Cassius Marsh, Jeremy Attaouchu and Eli Harold to get to the passer.
While the 49ers didn’t make glamorous picks, they took players that will hopefully be “cornerstones” for seasons to come.