Everything came up 49ers during last week's 2020 NFL Draft.
Not only did the 49ers draft two foundational pieces in Brandon Aiyuk and Javon Kinlaw, but they also acquired Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams from Washington to replace a retiring Joe Staley. Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch weren't planning to have to replace their franchise left tackle, and Staley's retirement almost altered how they went about executing their draft plans.
"We also were kind of preparing for Staley to play a couple more years," Shanahan told The Athetlic's Tim Kawakami on "The TK Show." "Some of the injuries that he had went through, some of the things he was dealing with with his neck and stuff, that wasn't an option. It wasn't totally part of the plan. This happens in football. But we also -- the reason it was so tough for us is we didn't have a full draft. We just lost Buckner, didn't expect to lose Staley, we'd lost Emmanuel [Sanders] and a No. 1 receiver and we're trying to get back and contend for the Super Bowl while also not mortgaging the future.
"So when it happened it's like, 'Man, OK you got to get a tackle.' Well, that would have been great for the future but it also really would have hurt us because now you can't go get the three-technique. We also wouldn't have been able to get the receiver we just got because we wouldn't have been able to trade back and come up. So that was something where, 'Hey we either get a tackle and we fix this surprise that happened or we keep building this team the way we planned, where it will help us for next year to compete and it also won't kill us for the future but the tackle will be somewhat of a risk.' We felt that we had a chance at Trent, but by no means did we think it's for sure going to happen. Everything goes in a certain order. You have to take what would have been the most important things first."
Shanahan, who was an assistant coach under his father Mike in Washington, has no love lost for Washington owner Dan Snyder and he was concerned that animosity would hurt the 49ers' ability to land Williams. It ultimately did not, and Shanahan, who coached Williams in Washington, knows the elite-level player he is getting.
"I worried that it could be for obvious reasons, but it ended up not being," Shanahan said. "I was kind of surprised when it happened and I was pumped that it did. It was nice having [Washington assistant general manager] Kyle Smith and Ron Rivera there. Those are the ones that John dealt with the whole time. I wasn't involved with it at all. So those guys were able to pull it off and get it done.
"The longer it took, I wasn't always so positive about it. But I ended up being wrong and it ended up working. Thank goodness for that. I'm pumped to get Trent here. We've got him at least for a year. I know he's hungry as could be, just talking to him.
"I was with Trent when we drafted him and Trent's a hell of a player, a hell of a guy. The guy is so fired up to play football."
Losing Staley caused the 49ers to weigh different approaches to their two first-round picks in the draft, since they didn't know if they could land Williams. Ultimately, Shanahan, Lynch and the 49ers elected not to address their left tackle need first, and the gamble paid off.
"We probably would have gone tackle first because of our situation and if we couldn't have traded out of it and if Kinlaw wasn't there," Shanahan said. "I'm sure that would have been a much more realistic thing that would have been bittersweet because we had to do it because of Joe. But I don't know how much that would have helped us this year. It would have been great for the future. We want to do both and we feel this avenue we really helped ourselves for this year.
"You've got to get lucky, too. Can't say that we knew that it would go that way. We hoped it would. But it all worked out."
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