Kyle Shanahan details how Trent Williams trade, 49ers' draft plan worked

Kyle Shanahan details how Trent Williams trade, 49ers' draft plan worked

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."

[RELATED: GOAT by the Bay: Shanahan discusses 49ers' pursuit of Brady]

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."

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

NFL rumors: Seahawks 'talking to both' Everson Griffen, Clay Matthews

NFL rumors: Seahawks 'talking to both' Everson Griffen, Clay Matthews

Jadeveon Clowney no longer fits into the Seattle Seahawks' plans -- nor is he a consideration for the 49ers -- due to the free agent's salary demands. It's difficult to see a path in which he would return for a second season with the Seahawks -- that is, unless he significantly lowered those demands.

Nobody, including the Seahawks, is counting on that. Consequently, they reportedly have turned their attention to two other free agent pass-rushers: Everson Griffen and Clay Matthews.

NFL Media's Mike Silver reported Thursday that Seattle could soon come to an agreement with one or both of the veteran free agents.

"The Seahawks' price has come way down," Silver said. "Clowney's price, if anything, is above their original $15 million-plus offer. So, maybe the (Tennessee) Titans, but we'll see on Clowney. But yeah, Everson Griffen -- long career with the (Minnesota) Vikings -- and then Clay Matthews, who had I thought a pretty good year with the (Los Angeles) Rams after he was healthy after his long run in Green Bay. Two former (USC) Trojans who can get after the passer. They are talking to both and I think a move could come pretty quickly, at least with one of them."

Griffen was drafted by the Vikings in the fourth round in 2010 and has spent his entire career with the franchise up to this point, amassing 74.5 career sacks over that span. Matthews, meanwhile, spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Packers before joining the Rams for this past season. He has totaled 91.5 sacks over 11 seasons, including 8.0 in 2019.

[RELATED: Bosa believes Kinlaw will 'kill it' in his 49ers rookie season]

Both Griffen and Matthews would present a significant upgrade for Seattle's pass rush, particularly considering Clowney is unlikely to be a part of it. The Seahawks' 28 sacks last season tied for the second-fewest in the NFL. Their adjusted sack rate also ranked 30th in the league, and that was with Clowney.

While Griffen and Matthews have both been productive, neither is the potential game-wrecker that Clowney is. Nonetheless, should Seattle add one or both of them, it should only make the Seahawks more competitive within the NFC West.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

49ers' Nick Bosa expects Javon Kinlaw to 'kill it' in rookie season

49ers' Nick Bosa expects Javon Kinlaw to 'kill it' in rookie season

Nick Bosa already had no doubts 49ers rookie defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw would be able to immediately compete in the NFL due to his strength.

And after taking part in an offseason of video meetings and seeing him for a short period of time on the 49ers’ practice field, Bosa is confident Kinlaw will not be overwhelmed mentally, either.

“Javon is a really good kid,” said Bosa, 22, who also happens to be 20 days younger than Kinlaw.

The 49ers selected Kinlaw with the No. 14 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to, in effect, take the spot of DeForest Buckner, whom San Francisco traded to the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason for a first-round pick.

“He’s really hard-working in the meeting room,” Bosa said of Kinlaw. “He knows all his stuff really well. He doesn’t seem like a rookie out there. We’ve only been out to a couple of walk-throughs so far and he knows his stuff. He doesn’t look like a rookie.”

[RELATED: Bosa Bros have talked about possibility of playing together]

When Bosa said Kinlaw doesn't look like a rookie, he also means that his body type is impressive. Kinlaw is listed at 6-foot-5, 319 pounds.

“He’s one of the biggest humans I’ve ever seen in person," Bosa added. "That says a lot when you’ve had Arik (Armstead) and Buck on your team. I’m just excited for him to have this opportunity, and I think he’s going to kill it.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]