San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch destroyed the 2017 NFL Draft, taking Day 1 by storm and finishing strong with quality undrafted free agents.
San Francisco 49ers fans have finally met general manager John Lynch: The Draft Mason. Former general manager Trent Baalke was called the “draft ninja” for his draft manipulation. If so, Lynch too deserves a nickname befitting of the marvelous work he did in his first draft.
Entering the draft, everyone was curious to see how Lynch (an undrafted personnel rookie in his own way) would do in his first NFL draft. Many expected his first draft to range anywhere from unspectacular to disastrous.
Instead, the San 49ers (and the entire fan base) were treated to a show of draft wizardry. From Day 1 on through Day 3, Lynch was simply diabolical in his execution. In each trade and maneuver, Lynch left a trail of scorched earth.
It was as if Lynch needed to exorcise the 49ers personal “demons” right out of 4949 Centennial. In the process of this exorcism, Lynch wreaked draft havoc on the Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace, fleecing him out of multiple draft picks while taking a top-five prospect, Solomon Thomas.
Later in Round 1, Lynch once again engineered a trade into the back of the first to take another top-five prospect, Reuben Foster, at the No. 31 spot. This was an incredible move as the 49ers essentially gave nothing for the trade up, as the pick they received from the Bears was used to complete the trade.
This is important to note because Lynch was not going to take the player that the Bears ended up drafting. Another critical point in this move is that the New Orléans Saints were on the phone with Reuben Foster. In the foreground, the Saints were informing him that they were selecting him with the No. 32 selection except Lynch had already stole him away.
Nov 25, 2016; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback C.J. Beathard (16) warms up on the sideline during the first quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
One foul ball…maybe
Every move made by Lynch has been a value-added move in the eyes of the draft media. The sole exception being that of third-round selection quarterback C.J. Beathard. Beathard played quarterback at Iowa and was rated on most evaluators boards as a very late Day 3 player.
However, Lynch (with the influence of head coach Kyle Shanahan) traded up to snatch Beathard earlier than most projected. Aside from that one move, all other moves bring in players with incredible upside at positions needing an influx of talent. Even Beathard is still an unknown. If he pans out, he immediately becomes the best selection in this draft class.
Notably, each prospect seems to fit the defensive and offensive scheme the 49ers seek to employ next season. All in all, the San Francisco 49ers ran away with the top draft grade from all the top sites. NFL.com, Bleacher Report, Sporting News, and NFL Spin Zone all gave the 49ers an A.
Brick by Brick
John Lynch’s mantra “Brick by Brick” describes exactly the foundation he is building for the team’s roster. His masterful draft plan was that of a true team architect. Each move was well planned and each decision was crafted to extract the greatest value possible at that position.
As an illustration, Lynch made decisions that a rookie GM should not be capable of making, echoing the masons, a secret shadow organization believed to be pulling the strings of society. Similarly, Lynch too pulled the strings in his first draft.
From Solomon Thomas in the first round, to signing undrafted tight end Cole Hikutini right after the draft ended, Lynch has the makings of an exceptional general manager. Markedly, Lynch’s ability to communicate his team’s vision to the organization and fans while simultaneously not releasing state secrets is a complete departure from his predecessor.
His engineer-like method for devising a roster filled with skill, athleticism, and scheme fits is a perfect balance of free agency risk and draft reload.