The San Francisco 49ers have a come long way during the first three years of general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan’s tenure.
After the Niners finished 4-12 in 2018, they were given the opportunity coach in the Senior Bowl, where college football’s best four-year players get to show their stuff to NFL teams before the draft.
This is where the 49ers were able to zero in receiver Deebo Samuel.
“To any other GM, I don’t recommend the process we went through because we were bad enough that we got to coach the Senior Bowl,” Lynch said to the NFL Network during the Combine. “As part of that process, we got to work with Deebo Samuel. He was a guy we had already established would be a tremendous fit, but we got an opportunity for a week to see just how strongly we felt about that.”
Samuel turned into a second-round gem, finishing his rookie season with 57 receptions for 802 yards and three touchdowns. The 24-year-old added 159 yards on the ground along with three touchdowns.
Lynch believes the extra time with Samuel helped the Niners gave the time to know the receiver would be a welcome addition.
“Sometimes being around, they say the guy can play or not play, but is he going to be a fit in our locker room with our culture, the things we believe in?” Lynch said. “That became very evident and clear with Deebo right away down in Mobile and then furthermore here.”
After missing on the first two picks of tenure in the 2017 NFL Draft, Lynch and Co. have done a good job of finding talent to make this team into a contender.
They added star tight end George Kittle in the fifth round in 2017, while also selecting several key contributors in 2018 and 2019.
Samuel will be at the top of the 49ers’ receiving depth chart in 2020, but the remainder of the list remains a question mark. Re-signing veteran Emanuel Sanders is an option, while the team should also have the injured Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd back healthy.
Lynch and Shanahan will also have some pass-catching options in the draft and free agency.
Are there any players available that you think the Niners should target? Let us know in the comments below.