49ers

Lynch identifies three prospects who were most impressive in interviews

Lynch identifies three prospects who were most impressive in interviews

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers were not interested in trading out of the No. 9 slot on Thursday night because the person they targeted, Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey, was still available.

McGlinchey impressed the 49ers with his size, ability and potential. And he also made a strong impression when he met with the 49ers during a formal interview at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

But McGlinchey was not alone.

Lynch said on Thursday that McGlinchey was one of two draft prospects that stood out. On Saturday, he told NBC Sports Bay Area that after giving it some more thought, he had to make a correction.

“I was thinking about it, there were actually three guys who stood out from everyone else,” Lynch said.

McGlinchey, Florida State safety Derwin James and Georgia running back Sony Michel were the players who impressed Lynch more than any of the others he met during the draft process, he said.

“Those were the guys,” Lynch said. “That’s no knock on all the others, but those guys were – yeah, they were great.”

James was the Los Angeles Chargers’ selection at No. 17 overall. Lynch indicated it was difficult to pass up James with the 49ers' first-round pick.

“Derwin James was just phenomenal,” Lynch said. “That was a hard one because he’s special in his presence, let alone his play.

“And Sony Michel was the same way, just in terms of owning the room.”

The New England Patriots selected Michel in the first round with the No. 31 overall pick.

In discussing the team’s selection of McGlinchey on Thursday, Lynch explained how he and coach Kyle Shanahan weigh the importance of player interviews in the 49ers’ draft process.

“Kyle and I, just as a general philosophy, you didn't want to put too much stock in that because it's 15 minutes,” Lynch said. “I will say, however, just in my life experience, there are some people who command a room and who own a room.

“We have 60 interviews at the combine and he (McGlinchey) was a guy that came in and just kind of owned the room and everyone felt it. It wasn't just me. Kyle felt that way. Our coaches that were in the room felt that way, our scouts in the room. He's got a special presence to him. He's real. He's authentic and he's a badass and we like that.”

49ers should benefit from Rams' poor choices, Jalen Ramsey extension

49ers should benefit from Rams' poor choices, Jalen Ramsey extension

The Los Angeles Rams are stuck between a rock and a hard place, and it's unlikely to get any more comfortable any time soon.

Forget the fact that they've been passed up by the 49ers and the rest of the NFC West. Ignore the fact that they're spending nearly $30 million in dead money this coming season to have running back Todd Gurley and receiver Brandin Cooks play for other teams. Gloss over the fact that quarterback Jared Goff might have the most burdensome contract in the NFL. Overlook the fact that they rank dead last in available cap space, and pay no mind to the fact that the Rams don't have a first-round pick in next year's draft.

Instead, let's focus on the move that arguably put them in such a terrible position, and likely will keep them there for several seasons to come.

Make no mistake, Jalen Ramsey is an amazing player. He might be the best cornerback in all of football, which is why it cost Los Angeles such a pretty penny to acquire him last season. To get him, the Rams sent their 2020 and 2021 first-round draft picks and a 2021 fourth-round selection to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags never intended to sign Ramsey to the lucrative contract extension he surely would command, which was the main impetus in trading him. The Rams appeared ready to do what Jacksonville would not, particularly considering all the value they gave up in trading for Ramsey.

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

Well, the time to pay the piper is fast approaching, and it doesn't sound like the Rams should be expecting any sort of a discount.

"The Rams know where I stand," Ramsey said Tuesday on a video conference call with reporters (H/T ESPN's Lindsey Thiry). "I think that's all that matters at the end of the day. It will be handled. They know where I stand. They've been in contact with my agent. They're on the same page as my agent."

"I feel like everybody knew what type of situation it was gonna be once they traded for me," Ramsey added, "so I think it doesn't really need to be talked about that much. It'll get handled."

Ramsey's next contract is expected to reset the cornerback market, and deservedly so. He has all of the leverage, as Los Angeles cannot afford to let him go. They don't want to, but the hefty annual salary they'll be forced to pay Ramsey inevitably will make it much tougher to fill out the rest of their roster.

"The anticipation was to acquire him with the hope that he's a Ram for a long time," Los Angeles coach Sean McVay told reporters. "You want to figure out, 'How do we get him taken care of the way that he deserves and still make sure we're mindful of the entire team?"

McVay is considered one of the brightest minds in all of football, but even he is going to be extremely challenged to solve that quandary. The Rams can't afford to let Ramsey go, but they can't really afford to pay him, either. The most likely outcome is that they ultimately sign Ramsey to a record-breaking extension, but upon doing so, they'll be squeezed even tighter than they already are.

Los Angeles had its window. The Rams took their shot, and they missed. Trading what they did for a player of Ramsey's quality is far more defensible than giving an unproven Goff $110 million guaranteed, but combined -- along with some other moves that backfired -- they appear likely to put the Rams in the NFC West cellar, and to keep them there for the foreseeable future. 

[RELATED: 49ers stand to benefit from Seahawks' questionable moves]

The 49ers' division currently is considered perhaps the toughest in the NFL. But thanks to the Rams shooting themselves in the foot, that could change relatively soon.

49ers UDFAs Salvon Ahmed, JaMycal Hasty making most of odd offseason

49ers UDFAs Salvon Ahmed, JaMycal Hasty making most of odd offseason

Salvon Ahmed and JaMycal Hasty were always going to face an uphill battle to make the 49ers' roster, but the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has made the hill a little steeper.

Under normal circumstances, the 49ers' undrafted free agents would have a chance to make a good first impression on the field at rookie minicamp. That's how Matt Breida won his roster spot in 2017. But instead, Hasty and Ahmed spend four hours on Zoom meetings with their position group and coaches, trying to learn everything about the 49ers' offense. The first two hours are spent with the entire group, while the final two hours are just Ahmed, Hasty and undrafted fullback Josh Hokit with assistant coach Bobby Turner.

While it's been unusual, the rookies think it's been a productive start to their NFL careers.

“You don’t have to worry about practices, you don’t have to worry about anything but that one, four-hour window to meet,” Hasty told The Athletic's Matt Barrows. “So there are a lot of things you can cover. There’s a ton of information to learn and pick up on. I mean, the rookies help each other out, the vets bring us along. It’s been a great experience, man.”

The 49ers have built a strong culture and that plays a big role in helping new blood catch up to the rest of the group.

“I think it’s showing what it’d be like even if we were there,” Ahmed told The Athletic. “And I think the culture is strong enough to show through our Zoom meetings. I think how we’re acting now is definitely how everyone would act if we were at the facility.”

The 49ers are likely to carry five running backs in total between the active roster and practice squad. Pencil in Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman for two of those spots. Jerick McKinnon, Jeff Wilson, Ahmed and Hasty will have to battle for the final three spots, with McKinnon and Wilson likely having a leg up.

The final roster spot likely will come down to a position battle between Ahmed and Hasty.

Ahmed, 5-foot-11, 197-pounds, never became the game-breaking back he was projected to be when he committed to Washington out of high school. He has quick feet and can be explosive, but he needs to work on his vision and decisiveness to stick in the NFL.

As for Hasty, the Baylor product was misused during his time in Waco, Texas. He's an elite athlete who profiles as a third-down back who can uncover out of the backfield and make plays in the passing game. He's a tough, hard-nosed back who has the explosiveness to fit well in the 49ers' zone-rushing scheme. He's an electric, change-of-pace back who has the potential to morph into a dynamic weapon for coach Kyle Shanahan.

[RELATED: Nine 49ers facing make-or-break season in 2020]

The 49ers might be able to hold a full-squad minicamp in June if Governor Gavin Newsom allows it. That will be the first time Ahmed and Hasty will take the field as 49ers. They must make the most of every opportunity in order to make the roster.

They've already been doing that in the Zoom classroom. The field world comes next.