It started with a phone call in January.
Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers' coach, called general manager John Lynch on a Sunday that month, telling his colleague he was "getting obsessed" with North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance.
Shanahan sent Lynch tape of Lance, which the GM watched until 2:30 A.M. the following Monday.
"I was in the office, and everybody was saying, 'You look really tired,' " Lynch recalled Thursday on "SportsCenter" in an interview with Scott Van Pelt.
"And it's because I stayed up 'til 2:30 in the morning after Kyle had sent me this tape. I just got enthralled with watching him. On the field. Off the field. It just kept getting better and better."
Shanahan and Lynch's late-night obsession in January led to their April reality.
The 49ers selected Lance with the No. 3 overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, committing to the 20-year-old to be their franchise QB moving forward.
Shanahan revealed Thursday that Lance was the 49ers' preferred choice all along, well before they traded up in March to the No. 3 pick. The 49ers' subsequent evaluation of Lance and the 2021 draft's other top quarterbacks only solidified that early assessment.
"We knew we felt very good about two guys that we wanted, who we knew we'd be happy with [on] our team wherever we got 'em," Shanahan told Van Pelt, seemingly referring to Alabama's Mac Jones, whom the New England Patriots selected No. 15 overall.
"So we tried to decide where we had to go, and we knew we'd have to be pretty high, and if we did get there, we could do our due diligence and do a lot more than just the film. We could talk to all of 'em, get close with 'em and Trey, just from the beginning with his tape, that's where we fell in love with [him] the most."
Three months after Shanahan called Lynch about his draft crush, the 49ers are now in a full-on courtship with Lance.
He's only the third QB the franchise has selected in the first round -- Jim Druckenmiller and Alex Smith are the other two -- since 1970, and the 49ers traded three first-round picks (No. 12 this year, as well as selections in 2022 and 2023) and a 2021 third-round pick in order to bring Lance to the Bay Area.
No matter what happens next, Shanahan's phone call to Lynch and Lynch's subsequent impromptu film session represent a real turning point in their 49ers tenures.