Why 49ers targeted Mike McGlinchey with first-round pick

Why 49ers targeted Mike McGlinchey with first-round pick

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers signed quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a $137.5 million contract in February.

On the first night of the NFL Draft, the organization took out an insurance policy.

The 49ers used the No. 9 overall pick Thursday night to add Notre Dame right tackle Mike McGlinchey. The club selected him over pass-rusher Marcus Davenport, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. The 49ers opted to strengthen Garoppolo's supporting cast on offense.

“This was a guy, and last week, we decided that if he's there at nine, he's the guy we're taking,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said of McGlinchey.

The addition of McGlinchey indicates the 49ers have no intention of retaining right tackle Trent Brown, who has one season remaining on his contract. Pro Football Talk reported Friday morning the 49ers are discussing a possible trade of Brown to the New England Patriots.

Lynch said the addition of McGlinchey has short-term and long-term benefits. He will work at right tackle, along with Garry Gilliam, during the offseason program. McGlinchey could also switch to left tackle when Joe Staley’s career comes to an end. Coach Kyle Shanahan said McGlinchey will have to earn his starting job, though.

It is clear the 49ers believe McGlinchey will leave no doubt that he will be a starter from Week 1.

The 49ers decided early in the draft process that McGlinchey gave them everything they wanted with their top pick. The organization’s only contact with him came during a 15-minute formal interview at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February. After that, the 49ers gave him the silent treatment.

“There's some people who command a room and who own a room,” Lynch said. “I think there were probably two guys that stood out from the pack. We have 60 interviews at the combine and he 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.”

McGlinchey (6-foot-8, 315 pounds) impressed the 49ers with a commitment to the game that the 49ers remain unconvinced Brown possesses. Brown is currently rehabbing from a shoulder surgery that will keep him out for the entire offseason program.

“To me what separates Mike from everyone else is the person you're getting,” Shanahan said. “It always starts with the film, always, and he has that ability. He has that talent. But, the soldier, how committed he is to football -- his football character. He's an O-Lineman who has started 39 straight games. I'm sure he has some injuries, but we haven't seen it because he doesn't talk about them and he just plays.”

McGlinchey is the first tackle the 49ers have selected in the first round since Anthony Davis (No. 10 overall) in 2010. Staley was a first-round pick (No. 28) in 2007.

“Lots of people are looking for tackles, and they are very hard to find,” Shanahan said. “We felt that we had an opportunity to get the best tackle in the draft, and I think a lot of people in the league felt that way.

“When you're in that situation, a lot of people are desperate for him, and that's why you have to keep it somewhat of a secret because people will jump you and take them because they are limited. So you don't find many sleepers later in the draft when you're talking about that position.”

Shanahan was so determined to not allow word to get out of the 49ers’ interest in McGlinchey that he did not even contact his first cousin, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, to ask any questions. Shanahan was Atlanta's offensive coordinator in 2015 and '16.

“I didn't want to blow our cover,” Shanahan said. “We haven't talked to Mike since the combine, and I definitely would have checked in with Matt if we were worried about something. But we felt very good about the guy and the person. I got a text right from Matt after we drafted him.

“But, trust me, I had to keep it a secret.”

Lynch said one of his learning moments in his first year in his position with the 49ers was the Week 8 game against the Philadelphia Eagles when Brown was out with an injury and Gilliam, his backup, sustained a season-ending knee injury early in the second quarter. Zane Beadles entered at right tackle and moved to left tackle when Joe Staley sustained a fractured orbital bone. Undrafted rookie guard Erik Magnuson was forced into action at right tackle.

“I think a great lesson for me,” Lynch said. “It will scar me for life, really.”

Four 49ers players to watch in Saturday's preseason game vs. Texans

Four 49ers players to watch in Saturday's preseason game vs. Texans

HOUSTON – When the 49ers face the Houston Texans on Saturday night in the second preseason game for both teams, it will represent the final setting of three important days of work in the Lone Star State.

The starters for both teams will play as much as a quarter. It's another opportunity to make favorable impressions after two fruitful joint practices on Wednesday and Thursday.

“We just ran about 150 plays in two days (of practices) in 100-degree heat,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “Most of those guys got probably 50 reps in two days. So that’s just really good work.”

Still, the game under the lights will serve as an important evaluation for both teams. Here are four 49ers to watch...

RB Jeremy McNichols

The 49ers expect to be without their top two running backs until Week 1 of the regular season. Jerick McKinnon is out with a calf strain, while Matt Breida sustained a separated shoulder. That will provide a big opportunity for the other running backs in camp.

McNichols tops the list. A fifth-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year, McNichols will likely get his best opportunity on Saturday after gaining 15 yards on three carries against the Dallas Cowboys last week. He ran with the starters this week in practice.

McNichols is competing for a roster spot, along with Joe Williams, Raheem Mostert and veteran free-agent pickup Alfred Morris.

CB Jimmie Ward

Ward had a short day of practice on Wednesday when he and Texans All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins got into a fight and were ejected. Ward should get plenty of playing time as he makes the transition from free safety, where he opened last season as the starter.

Ward will again start at left cornerback in place of Richard Sherman, whom the 49ers are bringing along slow after a hamstring strain. Ward struggled, giving up a touchdown, against the Cowboys last week. He figures to be be tested against Hopkins.

RG Joshua Garnett

Garnett returned to practice this week and appears to be moving well after sitting out two weeks of practices after banging his surgically repaired right knee against a teammate early in training camp.

The onus is on Garnett to prove he has what it takes to earn a starting job. Currently, the 49ers believe they can trust veteran offensive lineman Mike Person. Garnett needs to earn his way into the good graces of the coaching staff. Veteran Jonathan Cooper has also been slow to work his way into the competition, as he is coming back slowly from a knee injury of his own.

LB Fred Warner

The door is open for Warner to open the regular season as the starter with Reuben Foster set to serve a two-game suspension. Warner, a third-round draft pick, has played with a great deal of physicality. He also has the skillset to be a standout in coverage.

Warner did not play in the exhibition opener due to a chest injury. He practiced fully against the Texans this week and should be able to gain the kind of experience in this game that will help him in his quest to be Foster’s fill-in.

How Dwight Clark's idea for 'Letters to 87' caught on with 49ers fans

How Dwight Clark's idea for 'Letters to 87' caught on with 49ers fans

Dwight Clark considered it a shared experience.

He came down with the most improbable, important and well-timed pass reception in 49ers history, but the impact of the play was more than he could have ever imagined.

The story of the NFL would be incomplete without a large section devoted to “The Catch.” But Clark always seemed to feel he was not alone as he leaped and fully extended his 6-foot-4 frame to make a finger-tips grab of Joe Montana’s pass on Jan. 10, 1982.

And, sure enough, the story of many lives would be incomplete without mention of Dwight Clark, too.

“The way he connected with the fans, personally, really brought them together,” Montana said. “Once you met Dwight, it was hard not to like him. His personality was fun, upbeat and jovial -- always.”

Through the years, Clark enjoyed hearing the perspectives and stories of fans -- many of whom had not yet been born when the 49ers beat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game and went on to the organization’s first Super Bowl.

As Clark battled ALS, he made a request during the final interview of his life.

“I’ve often thought if I could get the word out somehow to get the stories, I should put a book together of the stories that these 49ers fans lived through at that moment,” Clark said on The 49ers Insider Podcast on Feb. 27. “Hopefully, long after I’m gone, 49ers fans will still enjoy that play and that year, that team that started it all off.”

The word got out that Clark wished to receive letters from the public, and his fans did not disappoint. The letters poured in. Some were hilarious. Some were emotionally moving. Some recounted the personal experiences of that day. Others described the wide-ranging impact that Clark’s play had on a life, a family.

Each of the letters conveyed a sense of love and appreciation for Clark as a player but, mostly, as an individual.

Clark died on June 4, 2018. Two weeks before that, a group of friends visited him at his ranch in Whitefish, Montana. The group sat around Clark’s bed and read letters to him for nearly two hours.

“Letters to 87,” a documentary that explores Clark’s unique bond with his fans, will premiere on NBC Sports Bay Area on Tuesday, Aug. 21, at approximately 8 p.m. (following Giants Postgame Live).

“He really seemed to understand from a fan’s perspective how it felt, what it was,” former 49ers teammate Keena Turner said. “And he seemed to really want the fans to walk away feeling good about the interaction in the moment.

“He felt a genuine love that came, and he wanted to reciprocate. He wanted the fan to understand that it was a shared feeling.”

The impact of listening to the letters was something Clark carried with him. Former 49ers owner and close friend Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. was not in the room that day, but he heard plenty about it from Clark himself.

“He was thrilled,” DeBartolo said. “Getting the letters made him very, very happy. He was sick, but he was just thrilled to know he wasn’t forgotten.”

Ronnie Lott was among the people in Clark’s bedroom on Sunday, May 20, when the letters were read to Clark.

“When he wanted fans to express their feelings, he was trying to capture the same feeling that he had when he did it and how did they feel?” Lott said. “Were they as excited as he was?

“When fans write their letters, there’s a spirit there. There’s a connection. That connection was something we can take for granted.”