The 2017 NFL Draft saw the 49ers and new general manager John Lynch select Stanford defensive tackle Solomon Thomas with the No. 2 overall pick, the first pick for Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan after the two were hired. But as ESPN's Adam Schefter explained to KNBR on Thursday, San Francisco could have gone in a completely different direction had it made a different choice in the interview process for GM.
"They had the opportunity to actually take Josh Allen," Schefter said on the "Murph & Mac" show (h/t 49ers Web Zone). "They're interviewing the great Terry McDonough, with Arizona's front office, for general manager, a job that went to John Lynch. And let me say, John Lynch, great choice, great man, great everything. Can't go wrong there.
"Terry also is excellent, and Terry would make a great GM somewhere. But Terry was being interviewed for that job, and Terry was with the Niners brass in 2017. It was the year that the Niners were scheduled to have the second overall pick. This actually would have changed a lot of different things.
"And they asked him his plan, and he went on. And Terry was very close with the agent who was going to represent Josh Allen, Todd France. He told the Niners, 'If you hire me as the GM ... that will enable Josh Allen to come out because he will know I will take him at No. 2 because I'm close with his agent.'
"So, the Niners could have hired Terry McDonough and gotten Josh Allen as their quarterback at No. 2, which would have changed, really, the way football unfolded because as it was, they traded the pick to the Bears for Mitchell Trubisky, and the Niners would have had Josh Allen with Terry McDonough as their GM, but they went with John Lynch."
Allen ultimately chose to remain in college for an extra year at Wyoming, before the Buffalo Bills made him the No. 7 overall pick in 2018. He just got his first chance to face the team he grew up supporting in Firebaugh, a city about 115 miles from Levi's Stadium, as his Bills beat the 49ers 34-24 on "Monday Night Football" in Week 13.
McDonough now is in his eighth season working with the Arizona Cardinals' front office, but a combination of him and Allen is an interesting alternate universe to imagine for the 49ers. Of course, had the 49ers hired McDonough and elected to choose Allen with the No. 2 pick, eventual superstar QBs Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes still would have been passed over.
Given that the organization was a few misfires away from a Super Bowl title last February, it's fair to say the 49ers and CEO Jed York are confident they made the right decision.