No matter how old a father gets, he’ll never stop trying to save his child from making a mistake. Conversely, no matter how old a son gets, he’ll usually at least hear out advice from his father. With the biggest decision of Kyle Shanahan’s professional life less than a month away, it’s fair to wonder just how much input Kyle’s father Mike Shanahan will have on the quarterback the Niners select later this April.
Make no mistake about it; Kyle Shanahan runs the San Francisco 49ers. Yes, he has help from Adam Peters and the scouting department, but nothing happens without Kyle Shanahan’s approval. John Lynch is free to offer his analysis of a player or situation, but never forget that he asked Kyle for the job. Kyle essentially hired John Lynch, not the other way around.
Kyle, though, is not an island unto himself. Like anyone, he has people that he bounces ideas off of and trusts to help him with his biggest decisions. One of those people is clearly his father, Mike Shanahan. As this story from NBC Sports Bay Area in January of 2020 says, Mike is as plugged into what the 49ers are doing as anyone inside team headquarters. That includes watching team meetings, drills, and practices about a half-hour after they happen, thanks to a video setup provided to him by the 49ers themselves.
“He does not have an office in Santa Clara because he does not need one.”
This isn’t to suggest that Kyle blindly listens to what his dad says, of course. That isn’t what I mean at all. As I said, this is the most important decision Kyle Shanahan the head coach, has ever had to make, and I’m sure he will consult with many different people about the pick. But I think it is fair to wonder how the elder Shanahan ranks the quarterbacks of college this year and how much Kyle trusts those evaluations.
In today’s Niners Nation Radio podcast, Michelle Magdziuk and I wondered if Mike Shanahan’s years working with John Elway (and some guy named Steve Young) taught him to value quarterbacks that can use their mobility to extend plays and gain yards outside of the structure of the offense. I want to think that if Kyle is leaning towards taking Mac Jones, perhaps his father’s Elway/Young experience will open up the possibility of Justin Fields or Trey Lance - but that is pure speculation on my part. For all I know, Mike actually prefers pocket passers, and he could be pushing Kyle towards taking Mac Jones.
The main point is that Mike is in the know about what the 49ers are doing, Kyle clearly values his opinion, and I don’t think people have considered that enough when talking about who will go third overall in this draft. Listen to the episode and decide for yourself. It’s here for you and available on all major podcast platforms.
Other topics in the episode
- One stat to know for each of the big four quarterbacks the Niners could draft
- The biggest misconception when it comes to Justin Fields versus Mac Jones