49ers

Report: Beathard was only QB Shanahan wanted in draft

Report: Beathard was only QB Shanahan wanted in draft

C.J. Beathard of Iowa was the sixth quarterback picked in the draft. His selection was initially viewed as a reach.

But as Peter King of the MMQB reported, Beathard was not a stretch at all for new 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan. In fact, Beathard was the only quarterback in the draft that Shanahan wanted.

“He processes the game so well,” Shanahan told King. “Tough as s---. Got a chance. He reminds me a lot of Kirk Cousins.”

King was embedded in the 49ers draft room from Thursday to Saturday, and he wrote an outstanding behind-the-scenes look at John Lynch’s first draft as general manager.

Here are some of the other nuggets from his report, “’Ready to be a 49er? Inside San Francisco’s Draft Room”. . .

--As Lynch told the local media on Thursday night, the 49ers had three players at the top of their draft board: Myles Garrett, Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster. The 49ers were not sure whom the Chicago Bears would select after the 49ers traded back one spot to accumulate additional draft picks this year and next.

“Man, who do they want? Gotta be Solomon, right?” Lynch asked.

Paraag Marathe, the 49ers’ chief strategy officer and executive vice president of football operations, responded, “Call me crazy, but I think it’s Trubisky.”

It was Trubisky. The 49ers selected Thomas. If Chicago had taken Thomas, and the 49ers were unable to move back, they would have chosen Foster -- just as Lynch suggested to the local media when asked about that scenario late Thursday night.

--Ten minutes after Kansas City traded up to select quarterback Patrick Mahomes at No. 10, Lynch said, "Man, I’d love to go up and get that corner, (Marshon) Lattimore.” Houston took Lattimore with the next pick.

--The 49ers had the No. 34 overall pick, the second selection of the second round. King described Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt as a player of “particular interest.”

--Some combination of Marathe, Lynch, senior personnel executive Martin Mayhew and vice president of player personnel Adam Peters took or placed calls to every team from draft spots 12 to 26 – all with the intent of trading up to select Foster.

--The 49ers medical staff passed Foster, who underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in February. When someone on TV wondered how long Foster’s shoulder would hold up, Lynch yelled toward Jeff Ferguson, the team’s vice president of Medical Services/Head Athletic Trainer.

Asked Lynch, “You guys worried about his shoulder?”

Ferguson responded, “What shoulder!”

--One spot after Watt was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 30, Marathe worked out a trade -- and some tense moments -- with Seattle GM John Schneider, who took an ill-timed restroom break. The 49ers moved up three spots for Foster.

--Linebackers coach Johnny Holland said of Foster, “I thought he’d be a top five pick. He’s one of the best three, four linebackers to come out of college football in the last 10 years.”

--The 49ers no longer had a second-round pick after the deal for Foster. They had picks in the third round at Nos. 66 and 67 overall. Shanahan liked Colorado cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon and Ohio defensive end Tarell Basham. The 49ers took Witherspoon at 66. They received a second-round pick for the selection at No. 67.

Shanahan did not like trading away a chance to get Basham. But, King reported, Shanahan understood. “We’re not one or two players away,” he said. “This is about building a program.”

--There was one player on Day 3 of the draft that Shanahan wanted above anyone else – and he was not even on the 49ers’ draft board when the day began.

“I’m telling you right now: If we don’t get him, I’ll be sick,” Shanahan told King. “I will be contemplating Joe Williams all night.”

Williams was kicked off the UConn team in 2013 for stealing a teammate’s credit card. He walked away from the Utah team early last season because of stress. It took Williams a decade to realize, he said, that he had held himself accountable for the death of his 7-year-old sister because the night she died from heart condition, Williams was with her and did not call his parents or 911.

Lynch made a phone call to Williams early on Saturday morning. Afterward, he felt comfortable enough to tell himself, according to King, “Screw it. I’m going to try to jump up and get this guy.”

The 49ers traded up in the fourth round to draft Williams.

49ers GM John Lynch praises Ben Garland's contributions on, off field

49ers GM John Lynch praises Ben Garland's contributions on, off field

49ers general manager John Lynch praised the on- and off-field contributions of offensive lineman Ben Garland while announcing the official signing of a one-year contract.

The sides agreed to the deal at the beginning of free agency, Garland announced on social media earlier this month. After the deal was signed, the 49ers made the announcement on Saturday.

"Ben stepped in at a critical point in our season last year and did a great job," Lynch said in a statement.

"He is a versatile interior lineman who battles every play and gives you everything he has. Off the field, Ben is one of the most active NFL players in the community and we are privileged to have him representing the 49ers and the Bay Area."

[RELATED: 49ers Mailbag: Do 49ers approach draft as if Joe Staley won't return?]

Garland, who turns 32 next month, started the final three regular season games and all three postseason games for the 49ers last season after Weston Richburg sustained a season-ending knee injury. He entered the offseason as an unrestricted free agent.

Garland is a six-year NFL veteran from Air Force whose football career was delayed for two years while he completed his military commitment. He still serves in the National Guard during the NFL offseason.

49ers mailbag: Do 49ers approach draft as if Joe Staley won't return?

49ers mailbag: Do 49ers approach draft as if Joe Staley won't return?

The NFL offseason continues on ... sort of.

And the questions continue, too.

Thanks to all the folks who submitted their questions via Twitter for this edition of 49ers Mailbag.

General manager John Lynch seemed confident Joe Staley would be back for at least another season when he was asked last month about the six-time Pro Bowl left tackle.

I don’t know that Staley has told the team, definitively, he plans to return. Staley, who turns 36 in August, dealt with more physical issues last season than at any point in his 13-year career. Perhaps he just wants to take some time to see how his body feels later in the offseason.

The 49ers certainly would want clarity on Staley’s status before the draft. And it’s also likely they would not want word to get out before the draft because they would love for other teams to be in the dark whether left tackle is or is not a high draft priority for them.

Mike McGlinchey appears locked into right tackle, and there does not seem to be a plan to move him to the other side to ultimately replace Staley.

On the depth chart, the 49ers re-signed Shon Coleman. Justin Skule also returns after starting eight games with mixed results.

If the top available player on the 49ers’ board at any point is an offensive tackle, I think that’s the way they would go.

Weston Richburg is clearly the team’s top option at center. But after he underwent surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon in December, Ben Garland stepped in and played well enough to keep the offense rolling.

If Richburg is healthy, it’s his job. Until then, the 49ers have to feel confident Garland can keep things afloat.

Like most positions, it’s personal preference.

The Raiders also figure to be in the market for a wide receiver with the No. 12 pick. If the 49ers have one receiver ranked far above the rest, and Las Vegas takes that player, then the 49ers could look to trade back or go with a different position.

For a breakdown of the top three wide receivers, see above video.

If everyone comes back healthy, the 49ers have quite a few options at wide receiver. Of course, none of them really are proven.

I agree the 49ers must look to strengthen their cornerback position. And looking a year in advance, there is no guarantee Richard Sherman will be back in 2021. And, even for the 2020 season, Emmanuel Moseley and Ahkello Witherspoon are the only other corners with starting experience on the roster.

Cornerback is a priority, especially because the trade of DeForest Buckner likely means the pass rush will not be as dominant.

I doubt the 49ers will sign a starting-caliber defensive tackle at this stage of free agency. Maybe they bring in a player who has a chance to compete for a spot in the D-line rotation, but I doubt it.

I believe the trade of Buckner was all about the contract they were going to have to give him to keep him, as well as the draft pick there were able to pick up in a trade.

Solomon Thomas is under contract for just one more season. They certainly will not pick up the fifth-year option on Thomas, but that does not mean he is gone after this season. The 49ers could look to sign Thomas to a minimum-type contract next year, and he might be willing to accept such a deal.

Buckner rarely came off the field during his four seasons with the club. Now, the 49ers must incorporate more of a rotation to take strain off Arik Armstead and Nick Bosa. That rotation should include Thomas, Dee Ford, D.J. Jones, Ronald Blair, Jullian Taylor, Kentavius Street and, perhaps, a draft pick.

Dang, you’re making me think with this question. How dare you!

I don’t believe it signals a shift, per se. The 49ers’ stated goal is to be a contender every season. The trade was not done for the benefit it provides the team this season as much as what it will do two, three, four years down the road.

That said, Kyle Shanahan never felt like the 49ers’ offense last season was an unstoppable force – at least, not like he felt with Atlanta during the 2016 season. Still, the 49ers were fourth in the NFL in total yards and No. 2 in scoring.

So maybe the 49ers’ offensive production last season proved to Shanahan that it can become a dominant force in 2020 with some specific upgrades, such as a wider variety of third-down options.

[RELATEDThree key 49ers' position battles to watch when training camp begins]

I was shocked last month when Shanahan said, definitively, the 49ers would not release Marquise Goodwin. Of course, I can understand why he would say that. The 49ers want to see if they can trade him.

But with this draft class, I have a difficult time believing any team would surrender a draft pick and pay Goodwin $4.5 million for the upcoming season in salary and bonuses.

Let’s put it this way: I’d be surprised if Goodwin is on the field the next time the 49ers are able to get together on the field.

The NFL has put together guidelines leading up to the draft to level the playing field. General manager John Lynch said on Friday that there will be “no excuses.” I don’t know if the 49ers have an advantage over the other teams in the league, but they certainly have no disadvantage when it comes to technology.

Where the 49ers could have an advantage over some teams is that Lynch and Shanahan work well together, so the communication between the personnel department and coaching staff is very good. Not all teams are like that.

The NFL has to be planning for everything at this stage. Is it possible, under the right circumstances, that games could be played without crowds? TV ratings would be astronomical. But I’m just spit-balling. I have no idea.

What I wonder about is when it will be safe to gather in large crowds. Hopefully, the actions taken by mayors and governors will slow the spread of COVID-19. And, hopefully, we start to see a flattening of the curve within a month.

But if a vaccine is still a year or more away, does that mean we risk outbreaks that compromise our healthcare system until that point? I have no idea.