In the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft, the 49ers considered one quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick.
Indeed, that quarterback was selected with the second pick – one slot behind No. 1 overall selection Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns. But a blockbuster draft-day trade enabled the 49ers to move back just one spot and secure additional young talent.
The 49ers still got the player, defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, they would have chosen with the second pick. And the Chicago Bears took no chances to get their quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky.
Trubisky will make his eighth consecutive start as a rookie Sunday when the 49ers face the Bears at Soldier Field.
“He was definitely on the radar,” 49ers coach Kyle Shahanan said of Trubisky on “49ers Game Plan,” which airs Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Bay Area. “I really liked Mitchell. He was really the only guy I flew out and saw. I spent some time with Mitchell and got to work him out. I spent a few hours watching tape with him.
“But that wasn’t something we were going to do with our pick. We felt like we had to go a lot of other different directions. Our goal was to add picks and get as many players as possible, and we are happy with what we did.”
The 49ers were able to use one of those picks from the Bears to trade up into the first round and select linebacker Reuben Foster with the No. 31 overall selection. The 49ers have an additional 2018 second-round pick as a result of the Bears trade, too.
The 49ers were going to select Thomas over Trubisky, if there were no trade between the organizations. Shanahan said he did not believe the 49ers – having already signed veterans Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley on the first day of free agency – were in a position to select a quarterback so high in the draft.
“I don’t look at it as taking him (Thomas) over Mitchell,” Shanahan said. “I didn’t think our answer was to just pick a quarterback right now. I thought we needed a number of picks. We wanted to get as much as possible.
“We added some other picks later that enabled us to maneuver around. We got us a second-round pick for next year, where I felt that it gave us a chance to really build our organization the right way and not only help us this year but give us some ammo for the future.”
The Bears are 2-5 in games in which Trubisky has started since taking over for Mike Glennon in Week 5. In Chicago’s two wins against Baltimore and Carolina, Trubisky was little more than a bystander. He completed a combined 12 of 23 pass attempts in those two games for 220 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.
“He’s a talented guy and he’s going to be a very good quarterback. He’s shown signs of that throughout this year,” Shanahan said of Trubisky. “I think something that’s been valuable for him is all the time he’s been given to play.
“It didn’t surprise me at all that Chicago took him. I thought it was a smart pick for them. I think it’ll end up paying off for them in the future.”