Back in February, when 49ers’ general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan were first outlining their visions for their new team and their working relationship, both expressed confidence they could work together.
“Everything we do wants to have the sense of being a partnership,” Lynch said. “That’s the way we feel and it’s how we’re rolling with this thing.”
Since then, the 49ers leadership tandem has worked together to bring in about a dozen free agents, including high-profile veterans such as quarterback Brian Hoyer, wide receiver Pierre Garcon, fullback Kyle Juszczyk and linebacker Malcolm Smith.
But now, with the NFL draft less than 100 hours away, the Lynch-Shanahan partnership will get its first big test under pressure. In the past, rifts that developed between general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Jim Harbaugh on draft day when Baalke wanted one player and Harbaugh another. But Lynch told reporters Monday, in a pre-draft get-together, that he and Shanahan have continued to work as a cohesive talent-evaluating team, along with vice president of player personnel Adam Peters and senior personnel executive Martin Mayhew. They’ve compiled a draft board of some 200 players and have a list of two to three prospects in play for the No. 2 overall choice (if the 49ers can’t move down to collect extra picks).
Lynch acknowledged that when the 49ers do make their first pick Thursday in the first round, it will be he and Shanahan that make the decision as a team. He said, though, that if he and Shanahan have a difference of opinion, they’ll have a method to hash it out.
“It’s a good question,” Lynch said. “It’s one that we forced ourselves to talk about and discuss. I’m not trying to cop out, but it’s going to be collective. Kyle and I made a commitment early on that we’re going to come into this thing, and we figured out our own way to have our tiebreaker. It’s not something that we’ve just kind of put aside and come Thursday night like, ‘What do you want to do?’ ‘I don’t know. What do you want to do?’ We’ve got a plan. I can tell you that.”
The 49ers are set to have 10 picks in this draft, one each in the first three rounds, followed by two in the fourth, two in the fifth, two in the sixth and one in the seventh.