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Report: 49ers scouts feeling demoralized

Anddddd we’re back!

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

It feels like a decade ago, but remember when Bleacher Reports Matt Miller said that there’s possible friction between John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan that could lead to a potential breakup? What seemed exaggerated at the time—especially when Miller attempted to explain himself—has resurfaced precisely three months later.

In an in-depth feature piece on the 49ers by Tyler Dunne, he referenced an anonymous former team staffer that opened up about how there’s an ongoing rift between the 49ers’ scouting and coaching staff. The staffer mentioned how the scouts were upset that their voice wasn’t being valued enough.

“Where Lynch sees ‘synergy,’ “ Dunne wrote, “others see an imbalance. With Shanahan wielding so much control, coaches are far, far more empowered on draft day. As the staffer puts it, it is literally the scouts’ jobs to study prospects two years at a time, so ‘to see your work not valued as highly is demoralizing. Voices are being heard,” the staffer added, “but they’re not the right voices.”

In every NFL circle, this happens to a degree. Scouts go on the road all day and night throughout the college season collecting info, watching the player, gathering insight from his teammates, coaches, and everyone around him, only to be overruled by a coach that fell in love with a guy that ran really fast at the combine but can’t touch his toes. It happens—all the time.

In this situation, Dunne quotes the staffer who cited the NFL draft as the most significant disconnect in the front office. The three players he used as an example were Solomon Thomas, Joe Williams, and Nick Bosa.

“A handful of 49ers scouts who watched Thomas in person several times never viewed him as a top-five pick, and the former staffer cannot recall one serious conversation about taking a quarterback.”

It’s easy to use hindsight now that DeShaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes turned out the way they did, but many people throughout the process were highly skeptical of both, especially Mahomes. This came after Dunne cited the two quarterbacks turning out the way they did, and being selected well after Thomas. I can buy the scouts not falling in love with Thomas, but tying the quarterbacks in is fishy.

We know how Kyle Shanahan got his way with Williams, but scouts wanted the team to consider Quinnen Williams this past draft, “but the choice was Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa all the way.”

That’s common as well. General managers fall for a guy if they see him live, and he lights it up, and you can’t do much to change his mind about it. Dunne did reference how Shanahan was on George Kittle early in the process, and how DeMeco Ryans found Fred Warner. There was some balance in the article.

The reason this is news is that it’s the second time this has been brought up. It’s naive to think that everyone agrees on a selection. There were probably plenty of people in the front office that didn’t want Deforest Buckner. The question now becomes will we hear more about this if the 49ers struggle this season. Or do we just move on and acknowledge that with all the egos in one room this is going to happen organically? Probably the latter.