49ers

On the walls of John Lynch's office

york-dwight-lott.jpg
AP

On the walls of John Lynch's office

SANTA CLARA -- John Lynch’s office is on the second floor of the 49ers’ team offices with glass doors that lead to large balcony that overlooks the practice fields.

Lynch oversees the entire 49ers football operation from this vantage point.

On Wednesday, he spoke on “The 49ers Insider Podcast” about the significance of the items he has placed on the walls and shelves of his office.

From his desk, looking straight across to the room, is a photo of his four children, taken at Levi’s Stadium on the family’s first trip to Santa Clara after he was named general manager.

The family remained in San Diego during a busy offseason that included finalizing a 53-man roster that includes 31 players acquired since he took charge of the team's player personnel.

“You always want to be with your family,” Lynch said. “There’s a lot to be done, so when they’re not here, I just work.”

His son, Jake, was going to transfer to the Bay Area for his senior year of high school. Instead, he will remain at Cathedral Catholic, where he plays linebacker on a team that went 15-0 last season and won the Division I-AA California state championship.

“His guys had an intervention with him down there,” Lynch said. “One guy took him out, and the next thing you know, the whole team was there, saying, ‘You can’t leave.’ He decided to stay down for the first semester.”

It should be noted that Lynch’s 9-year-old daughter, Leah, warmed quickly to the idea of her father working for the 49ers. She is wearing a red 49ers T-shirt in the picture. She was the biggest critic of her father’s move to join a team that went 2-14 last season.

Said Lynch, “I think her thing was, ‘How’s this a good thing, Dad? The 49ers are horrible.’ With kids, you’re going to get the real deal.”

On a shelf behind Lynch’s desk is a football he acquired at an auction during Winter Fest, a fundraiser for the 49ers Foundation. Dwight Clark personally drew the X’s and O’s of “sprint right option” – the play on which he made “The Catch.”

“Dwight Clark’s fight with ALS is close to everyone because of what Dwight stands for, but close to me because I lost my mother in law a couple of years ago to ALS, so we’ve been involved in that fight,” Lynch said.

“First off, it’s really cool. It’s a diagram of 'The Catch' and signed by Dwight on a ball. But (the proceeds) also went to Dwight’s cause and his fight.”

Next to the football is a photo of Lynch and Ronnie Lott, then with the New York Jets, after a preseason game in 1995. Lynch was entering his second NFL season and his first as a starter. Lynch still remembers what Lott told him that night.

“I’d just become a starter,” Lynch said. “(Lott) said, ‘I watched some of your film from the end of last year. … You’re going to play at a high level in this league. You’re going to be a star.’ Hearing that from Ronnie Lott gave me everything I needed to be excited.”

Another item of particular significance is a small bronze plaque that his father gave him. It reads: “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he does not mind who gets the credit.”

CEO Jed York hired coach Kyle Shanahan and Lynch as a team, and awarded them with six-year contracts to figure things out and work together over the long term. The 49ers have been torn apart in recent years by the inability of general manager Trent Baalke and the head coaches to work together. Lynch said he believes the relationship with Shanahan will remain secure in good times and bad. 

“I’ve got no doubt that it will just because the foundation is so strong,” Lynch said. “And the other thing we genuinely like being around each other. I kind of dig what I learn from him about football. I think he feels the same way. We’ve got similar philosophies on success and just how you deal with things.

“At the same time, we aren’t exactly identical and we challenge each other. And we’re not afraid to challenge each other. That’s a good thing. It’s worked really well. We haven’t played a game, yet, though. We understand that. We’re looking very much forward to kicking it off against Carolina this Sunday, though.”

Stanford's Meeks dreams of learning from 49ers' Sherman

meeksquentonap.jpg
AP

Stanford's Meeks dreams of learning from 49ers' Sherman

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers are likely to select a cornerback within the first three rounds of next week’s NFL Draft.

Stanford’s Quenton Meeks would like nothing more than to be chosen, so he can continue to learn from one of his mentors.

“Richard Sherman is a Hall of Famer, and we have similar body types.” Meeks said. “All of our combine numbers – it’s kind of scary – it’s almost identical in all of them.”

Meeks (6-foot-2, 205) has the size the 49ers want from a cornerback in this scheme. At the combine in 2011, Sherman, who also attended Stanford, measured 6-3, 195. Meeks ran the three-cone drill at 6.72, compared to Sherman’s 6.82. Meeks’ 20-yard shuttle was 4.23, while Sherman’s was 4.33.

“He even told me I remind him of himself, so that was the biggest compliment I’ve gotten,” Meeks said Wednesday at the 49ers' local pro day at Levi's Stadium. "I look up to him so much, and I try to model my game after him. He’s so smart. He’s always a step ahead.”

Meeks said he expects to selected in the second or third round, and the 49ers are among the teams that have shown the most interest during the pre-draft process.

“That would be a dream come true, honestly – just to learn from the best,” Meeks said of Sherman. “I think he’s still the best corner in the game right now. It takes someone who really knows how to study corners to see what he does really well. He always disrupts the receivers. The amount of times he gets thrown at during a game is very little, because if you throw at him, there’s a big chance it’s going to get intercepted.”

Meeks said he spoke with Sherman during the season to get some tips before a game against Arizona State. He wanted some advice on going up against 6-4 wide receiver N’Keal Harry.

Harry, who caught 82 passes for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns on the season, was held to just three receptions for 40 yards against Stanford. None of the receptions came when Meeks was in coverage against him, he said.

"He really helped me," Meeks said. "I asked him, in particular, one game I was playing this bigger receiver, so I asked him for some tips. He gave some tips, and I locked down that game and didn't allow a single catch."

Five NFL Draft options for 49ers at No. 9

Five NFL Draft options for 49ers at No. 9

The 49ers always knew there was a chance they would be without Reuben Foster for at least a portion of the 2018 season.

But, now, after the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office last week filed two felony domestic violence charges and one felony charge of possession of an assault weapon, the 49ers must prepare as if they will never see him on the football field again.

The 49ers signed veteran inside linebackers Brock Coyle and Korey Toomer during free agency. And there figure to be plenty of options as the 49ers look to fortify the middle of their defense in next week’s draft, too.

There could be two enticing possibilities at linebacker in front of the 49ers when their turn comes up in the first round with the No. 9 overall pick. Here are five legitimate options for the 49ers if they remain in their original draft slot:

1. LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
There might not be a player in the draft with more upside than Edmunds, who is big (6-5, 253), exceptionally athletic and will not turn 20 until the week after the draft.

Any team that Edmunds him will have the opportunity to mold him into their system at whichever of the many positions he has the skills to play. He can line up at any of the linebacker spots, and he also has untapped potential as a pass-rusher.

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh could have a lot of fun with the options of how to deploy Edmunds in the 49ers’ scheme.

2. LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
The advantage Edmunds has over Smith is his size. Smith is a bit on the small side (6-1, 236). But that’s about the only knock on him.

In addition to his unique athleticism (he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds at the NFL scouting combine), Smith also is a leader with great instincts and football smarts. While he probably could step in and play middle linebacker, he is likely a better fit for the weakside position.

3. DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
The 49ers like Jimmie Ward because of his ability to play all five positions in the secondary. Fitzpatrick is much the same way -- but only bigger, better and, seemingly, more durable.

Ward and Jaquiski Tartt are entering the final seasons of their contracts, so the addition of Fitzpatrick would make sense. He can step and in immediately compete with K’Waun Williams at nickel back or linebacker in the 49ers' sub packages. He play either of the 49ers’ safety positions. In a pinch, he might also be able to play cornerback. Fitzpatrick would be an outstanding asset within the 49ers’ three-deep zone due to his ability to make game-changing plays.

4. DE Harold Landry, Boston College
The more time the 49ers spent on Landry, the more they were sure to like him. He had his breakout season as a junior, recording 16.5 sacks. But his return for his senior season did not turn out as planned.

Teams were left scratching their heads about how his production fell off so dramatically. But a lot of his decline can be traced to an ankle injury that limited his effectiveness. Landry recorded five sacks in eight games.

His stock rose with an exceptional workout at the combine. His size (6-3, 252) is not a huge concern for the 49ers, who would play him at their pass-rush end position. He has all the other attributes of an elite edge rusher with his eye-popping 20- and 60-yard shuttles and three-cone drill.

5. DE Marcus Davenport, Texas-San Antonio
Do the 49ers really need another tall defensive lineman? They selected Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner in back-to-back years, then drafted another defensive lineman, Solomon Thomas, with the No. 3 overall pick last year.

Davenport, however, is different. He is a legitimate pass-rush threat. And that’s an element the 49ers need to add to their defense. Davenport (6-6, 264) was a stand-up rusher in college. He got away with simply being the biggest and best at his level in college.

The star potential is there. He could be a home run. But there is probably a lower downside than with many of the other players the 49ers will consider with the No. 9 overall pick.