49ers

49ers GM John Lynch believes free agency work set team up for NFL draft

49ers GM John Lynch believes free agency work set team up for NFL draft

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Through the first wave of NFL free agency, 49ers general manager John Lynch said he believes the club has set up itself for the next month's draft.

“In terms of what we did, it gave us flexibility,” Lynch told NBC Sports Bay Area on Wednesday at Ohio State’s Pro Day. “We had some ideas of areas where we had to get better. And what we did gave us flexibility to just focus on going out and getting the best player available, particularly with that top spot, regardless of the position.”

The 49ers own the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. Lynch and vice president of player personnel Adam Peters spent the past two days getting to better know two of the top candidates for the 49ers’ first-round selection.

Lynch and Peters were in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Tuesday and met with Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. On Wednesday, Lynch and Peters were heading off to have a late lunch with former Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa.

“He’s a great kid and a tremendous player,” Lynch said of the meeting with Williams. “I enjoyed it.”

Lynch first met Bosa in Pasadena when he attended an Ohio State practice before Rose Bowl. Bosa withdrew from school in November to focus on his rehabilitation from core muscle surgery. Bosa was working out in Southern California and came by to support his former teammates when he met Lynch. The 49ers also met with Bosa last month at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“He’s a good kid,” Lynch said of Bosa. “We’re looking forward to spending more time with him.”

Lynch said the 49ers have not compiled their list of 30 official pre-draft visits, but Williams and Bosa appear to be strong candidates to make a visit to Santa Clara before the draft, too.

Neither Williams nor Bosa worked out at their pro days, opting to stand on their results from the combine. Kentucky outside linebacker Josh Allen, whose pro day is Friday, will also not work out. Lynch and Peters will not attend Kentucky’s pro day.

“Most of the top guys aren’t working out, especially if they did well at the combine,” Lynch said. “But you have an opportunity to come sit with them and talk with them.

“I think it’s good to be out for a number of reasons. The schools we visited the last couple of days, Alabama and Ohio State, I don’t think they’re going anywhere. They’re going to be producing players, so it’s good to continue to foster those relationships that we can help them and they can help us. And it’s really invaluable to just spend time with these guys.”

Lynch said the 49ers are still in the preliminary process of putting together their draft strategy with the No. 2 overall pick. Bosa, Williams and Allen are the prohibitive favorites.

“We’ve done a lot of work on those guys,” Lynch said. “We’ve done a lot of work on the entire draft class, but it really gets hyper-focused now. We’ve condensed a lot of the information. Now the coaches come up and we put it all together.”

Part of the puzzle for the team's plan for the draft was the first week of the NFL free-agent signing period. The 49ers signed starting linebacker Kwon Alexander and acquired starting defensive end Dee Ford in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The 49ers also added potential starters at cornerback with Jason Verrett and safety with the re-signing of Jimmie Ward. The signing of wide receiver Jordan Matthews gives the 49ers a needed veteran presence to compete for significant playing time.

[RELATED: Why Quinnen Williams remains so humble before NFL draft]

The 49ers have 75 players under contract and are $37.2 million under the NFL's salary cap, according to NFLPA figures.

Lynch acknowledged the 49ers are rolling the dice on Verrett, a first-round draft pick in 2014 who has appeared in just 25 games in five seasons due to a variety of injuries.

“We recruited him hard because there were a number of people that were interested, and we’re glad we landed him,” Lynch said of Verrett. “You’re always thinking risk-reward. The potential reward with that one is pretty special. He’s made of the right stuff. We just got to see if we can help him and he can find a way to stay healthy.”

Kyle Shanahan undecided how much 49ers will play Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Broncos

Kyle Shanahan undecided how much 49ers will play Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Broncos

DENVER – Jimmy Garoppolo has participated in every practice and taken twice the number of snaps of the other 49ers quarterbacks during training camp.

But 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is uncertain how much Garoppolo will play Monday night when the 49ers face the Denver Broncos in a preseason matchup.

“I haven’t decided how much we’re going to play him on Monday night,” Shanahan said. “Want to play him. A lot has to do with when we watch his film from these two practices, how long we do play all our starters, what O-Linemen are available and things like that.”

Garoppolo saw a lot of action against the Broncos during joint practices on Friday and Saturday. Garoppolo did not suit up for the 49ers’ preseason opener last week against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium. 

Aside from the brace on his left knee, there have been few signs this summer that Garoppolo is returning from such a significant injury.

“I think what’s important, all the time, is you look at the totality of a camp and I think he’s had a really good camp, I really do,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “I think the best thing for all of us is that is, I get hesitant and reluctant to say it, but is his recovery from his knee has been flawless.”

[RELATED: Why 49ers' John Lynch is confident in Jimmy Garoppolo's successful return]

Clearly, Shanahan wants to get some playing time for Garoppolo ahead of the regular-season opener on Sept. 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After all, Garoppolo has started just 10 regular-season games in five seasons in the NFL.

Garoppolo’s heaviest workload is expected to come Saturday in Week 3 of the preseason against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, where he sustained his season-ending torn ACL in his right knee on Sept. 23.

“I’d like him to get in there for a little bit -- not as much as Week 3,” Shanahan said. “It gets very monotonous in camp going against the same coverages every day, some different fronts, different looks, different techniques. We get more out of these two practices than we will in the game.”

Why Kyle Shanahan's father Mike calls coaching 49ers 'ideal situation'

Why Kyle Shanahan's father Mike calls coaching 49ers 'ideal situation'

ENGLEWOOD, Colo — Former head coach Mike Shanahan didn’t return to coaching because the elements weren't quite right but he believes all the pieces are in place for his son Kyle and the 49ers to be successful. 

It was a homecoming of sorts for both Mike and Kyle Shanahan to return to Broncos headquarters during training camp. Mike spent several years in Denver as a position coach before finally becoming the head coach in 1995, where he remained for over a decade. 

After his time with the Broncos, the Mike spent four seasons as head coach in Washington with Kyle as his offensive coordinator. After Mike was relieved of his duties at the end of 2013, he has not coached since. He did, however, reveal that there were options open to him at the time. 

“Close, I was close,” Shanahan said. “One thing that has to happen is we all have to be on the same page. One thing you have to make sure of when you are a head football coach is that the owner, the GM and the quarterback are all on the same page. 

“If it doesn’t happen, the chances of winning a Super Bowl aren’t very good. Anyway, if that situation happened, I was going to take it. If not… But anyway, I had a great conversation with John [Elway], as everybody knows, and it didn’t work out and sometimes it works out for the right reasons.”

On the other hand, Mike believes Kyle has an ideal scenario in Santa Clara. 

“I think he’s in a great situation,” Mike said. “You have a chance to get a guy like John Lynch to be the general manager, being around the support staff that I’ve had a chance to talk to, besides Mr. York."

“Then you get a chance to make decisions on who you want as your coaching staff, who you want as players, bring in the right improvement through free agency. All you want to have is the opportunity to have success and Kyle is given that opportunity and I think people would say this team will get better.” 

Mike has been spending time at 49ers practice since Kyle was named head coach. He also had a chance to break down film with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo while the quarterback was rehabbing from his ACL injury. 

“A lot of people don’t understand when a quarterback gets hurt in the second or third game, and then you have surgery, and then you have your coach coaching and the quarterback’s getting ready for the game. 

“I had a chance to sit down with Jimmy and maybe just talk about defenses for a couple of weeks, talking about terminology of defenses, blitz schemes, zone schemes, and go through the daily installation, or he can just sit back and relax and we can just talk football being part of that terminology system. Obviously knowing the installation schedule, it got a chance for him to relax and have some fun and at the same time, we could study football together.”

Kyle described what it meant to have his father out at practice and reminisced about their time together in Denver. 

[RELATED: Richard Sherman, 49ers defense 'light years ahead' of last season]

“It’s pretty cool. I didn’t see him at all because I was pretty focused on practice. I heard he was doing a press conference in between it, that’s what these guys told me. No, I love having my dad out. 

“He comes out to San Francisco, too, so that’s not that unusual to see him out there. But, this is my first time back here since my dad left, which is college for me. It’s good to see a lot of old people and really enjoyed our time here.”