Heading into the NFL Draft, we knew the 49ers would pick a 3rd overall quarterback. After that, many analysts including myself thought the 49ers might add depth to the wide receiver and onboard rusher.
When we went through the best available players heading into Matchday 2, we mentioned how the teams’ confidence in Jalen Hurd and Dee Ford would be expressed based on their selections for the remainder of the draft.
Several choices later, and there was no selected edge breaker or pass breaker. It’s an endorsement for both players. Head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch were asked why they overlooked both positions in the draft. Here’s what Shanahan had to say:
“I think that’s something that’s always difficult with the draft from the perspective of the fans or people just watching it. Everyone thinks you know the needs and a lot of people are specific with certain things, but you don’t get into the rough by just choosing everything you want. There is a huge assessment. You don’t know who will get there. Yes, there are some positions you want more than others.
So if some guys are in the same area of talent and stuff you always go with the need but it doesn’t always work that way. We did not go into this draft thinking that we are going to take two running backs. We really liked where it was.
So I wouldn’t say to watch this more than that. I would still like to take a receiver. I would always like to take an advantage but it has to be a guy that you think could be part of your team and it all depends on where this round was, what was there and when. we have arrived.
I heard someone over the weekend say something like “you want to recruit guys from the rounds they’re targeted at”, which means you want to understand the value of those players.
The 49ers were probably on a wide receiver or an edge rusher, but the value never matched where they chose. This explains an exchange in the second round. It also explains why the team traded for Trey Sermon.
Lynch continued on Shanahan’s point:
Yeah, and I think that’s telling, [OL] Jaylon Moore, our first choice in the fifth, our intention was not to take a guard. It was that he really was the guy we had the highest marks on and that we weren’t content with just marks. We take a look at how people feel in this room and how doomed we are all. We felt a great conviction there, so I think at this point we weren’t married in certain positions in some cases.
Yeah, you got a need, you gotta try to fill it, but we’re just kind of, I think Jaylon, [RB] Élie [Mitchell] Probably fit into that category where they were the best players at that time. When you can do both, what I think we did with [CB Deommodore] Lenoir and [S Talanoa] Hufanga, so it really lines up.
The 49ers draft was defined by the best player available.
Everyone wants their team to draft the best available player until they’re in a position they don’t believe is necessary.