SANTA CLARA – When Jimmy Garoppolo took over as the 49ers’ starting quarterback on Dec. 3, the 49ers were in the conversation for the NFL's No. 1 overall draft pick.
But in the month of December, the 49ers got hot. And their possible No. 2 overall draft selection began to slide. The 49ers won their final five games to finish with a 6-10 record.
During the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis next month, the 49ers and Raiders will take part in a coin flip to determine which teams select Nos. 9 and 10 in the first round. The tie-breaker to determine draft slot is strength of schedule. The 49ers and Raiders had identical strength of schedules of .512.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said on the 49ers Insider Podcast that he has no regrets about all the winning that occurred down the stretch – long after the 49ers had been eliminated from playoff contention.
“I think the way it’s ended has been extremely important for us,” Shanahan said. “You never know until you get into that situation. I know that’s the dilemma every year. Everybody wants to win and then right after you do (win), everyone (says), ‘Well, you just cost yourself a draft choice’ and things like that.
“You never know until you get in it. Well, I was in it this year and there’s not any doubt in my mind that after each win we feel that’s a lot more important for this organization and what we’re doing here than whether we’re picking No. 2, 5 or 11.
“To me, what’s important is our team learning how to win; how to play together; how to care for each other; how to fight; how to play every single play, whether it’s the first play or the last play, all the same.”
The organization appears set up well for the future, in large part because of the improvement that was shown after the midseason trade to land Garoppolo. The 49ers’ offense finished the season ranked No. 12 in the NFL in total offensive yards.
The team does not have to execute an offseason plan to acquire a quarterback. And the club is expected to have more than $100 million in space under the salary cap, as well as nine draft picks, to enable general manager John Lynch plenty of options to improve the roster.
“We’re going to add free agents. We’re going to add draft picks,” Shanahan said. “We expect them to be good people and good players, and hopefully we can get them to be part of what we established this year.”