For nine months after general manager John Lynch brought him to the 49ers as vice president of player personnel, Adam Peters and the team’s scouting department were consumed with evaluating quarterbacks.
“Leading up to October 30th, we were diving deep into the quarterbacks,” Peters said on The 49ers Insider Podcast. “After that, not so much.”
It was obvious the 49ers would attempt to add a franchise quarterback to the organization for the 2018 season. The smart money was on Kirk Cousins.
But New England, in essence, made the decision easy and stress-free for the 49ers with the trade offer of Jimmy Garoppolo for a second-round draft pick. The deal was struck one day before the Oct. 31 trade deadline.
So the 49ers find themselves in a much different position than a year ago. The 49ers did not have a quarterback under contract at the start of the first free-agent signing period of the new regime.
“We had to find somebody to take the snaps,” Peters said. “That was the first thing last year. It’s very different now. We can build around Jimmy, and we don’t have to force anything.
“So, it’s great, and I think it helps us a lot for free agency, as well. I think players are going to want to come here. It’s a great place to be, a great place to play, great ownership, great coach. So we’re kind of tooting our own horn, but it is a good place to be right now.”
A lot has changed since late-October. The 49ers were 5-0 with Garoppolo as the starter. And he is now under contract for five years with a deal that could pay him up to $137.5 million.
The 49ers are no longer interested in Cousins or investing a first-round draft pick on a quarterback. Peters, who oversees the college and pro scouting departments under Lynch, can now shift most of his attention to positions other than quarterback.
“We did a lot of work (on quarterbacks) early,” Peters said. “After that, we still did the work. You still want to do everything you need to do in case they come up in the future, but you try to focus your energy at other positions at that point – focus your time and energy at positions of need.”
For the 49ers’ scouting department, it’s not only about finding players at positions of need. It’s more important to find players with specific skills that fit the vision of Kyle Shanahan and his coaching staff.
“There are no absolutes, but you look for the traits that they look for and you can really identify what you’re looking for and why,” Peters said. “And that’s the other thing. They tell you why they’re looking for these traits and that helps you hone in on those specific skills, so you can find guys – or hopefully find players – that are maybe less-valued for other schemes but are really valuable for you.
“In free agency, Marquise Goodwin was a great example of that. I think he was undervalued, but the traits we saw in him really fit well in Kyle’s scheme.”
After a pedestrian four seasons with the Buffalo Bills, Goodwin had a breakout season with the 49ers. He caught 56 passes for 962 yards. The 49ers signed Goodwin last week to a three-year extension, through the 2021 season, worth up to $20.3 million.