NFL

49ers pull off trade that’ll make an unpopular figure a lot more popular, take Thomas No. 3 overall

They 49ers didn’t end up with the most exciting player in the draft, but John Lynch is already the toast of the Bay Area after the heist he pulled on Chicago. Instead of “Trader Trent” trading late-round picks like kids used to swap baseball cards, the 49ers got an avaLynch of picks.

Oh, but hold the war room phone. Lynch is an unselfish chap, and in a KNBR interview after the 49ers made their pick, he gave credit to Trader, uh, Paraag for the deal that shook up the early part of the first round. Apparently Marathe is in charge of trades throughout this entire process.

I guess, after years of wondering what the Yorks see in Marathe other than an ability to avoid free agent contracts that contain much guaranteed money, now we know. Marathe’s popularity is probably going to soar after today.

The trade: 49ers gave the second overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft to the Bears, who gifted the 49ers a third-rounder (No. 67) and a fourth-rounder (No. 111) this year, and a third round pick next year, just for the opportunity to move up one measly spot. Chicago drafted Mitchell Trubisky, the quarterback from North Carolina who only started one season in college.

That left the 49ers with the guy it appears they wanted all along, defensive end Solomon Thomas from Stanford.

Marathe might have been the point person with the Bears on Line 1, but Lynch probably had some say in who they chose. Unless we’re to believe that we should ignore this interesting factoid: Lynch took a class at Stanford with Thomas.

During Thomas’ freshman year, Lynch returned to Stanford to finish his college degree after a successful 15-year NFL career. One of the classes he took that semester was a Management Science and Engineering class on how to make good decisions. Not only was Thomas in his class—they worked together on a project.

The topic: Should the Washington NFL team change its name? Thomas says he can’t remember their verdict; the project was more about the decision-making process. “He was on top of all the stuff, coming back as an older person, compared to us young people,” Thomas recalled of Lynch. “He was on top of discipline, very studious and diligent.”

This is all probably a coincidence, but who knows. Maybe Lynch is both crazy and prepared enough to stalk Thomas a few years before he left FOX’s broadcast booths. Skeezy college coaches make contact with the top eighth graders all the time.

Some info on Thomas:

  • He doesn’t have a lot of miles on him — just two years at Stanford (12 sacks total, 8.5 in 2016). He turns 22 in December.
  • He had a great Sun Bowl against UNC (and Trubisky). NFL.com says “he was all over the field in the Cardinal’s win in a way that isn’t even reflected in an impressive stat line (seven tackles, two for loss, sack).” That’s from the same draft profile that compared him to Justin Smith.
  • The biggest knock on him is size, because he doesn’t have extraordinarily long limbs and his weight puts him in the “tweener” zone (6′ 3″, 273, 33″ inch arms).
  • Great athlete — he finished 11th among defensive linemen with a 4.69 40-yard dash at the combine. (Carlos Hyde ran a 4.66.)
  • He finished top-5 among defensive linemen in the bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone drill, and 20-yard shuttle.
  • He jumped offsides seven times in 2016, so he may be the new Ahmad Brooks in more ways than one.

He checks off all the boxes for me: Productive in college, good athlete, healthy. If he has 75% of Justin’s fire, the 49ers should be happy with this pick.

The only bummer: You’d expect a guaranteed star with the third overall pick. Problem was it seemed like this draft was Myles Garrett and a lot of depth, but not much to go on that would push one non-Garrett guy above the rest (unless you’re the Bears and you loved Trubisky).

So, what now? The 49ers still need defensive help, mainly at middle linebacker. But if they’re going to wait until next year to take a quarterback in a much better draft class for that position (or figure out a way to get Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo), they need to stock up on skill position players. The league makes rules seemingly every year that almost scream at teams to create high-flying offenses. The 49ers have had the most boring offense over the last two seasons in part because of the coaches they settled upon, but also because their personnel was so amazingly average.

  • Round 2: Pick 2 (No. 34 overall)
  • Round 3: Pick 2 (No. 66 overall)
  • Round 3: Pick 3 (No. 67 overall)
  • Round 4: Pick 2 (No. 109 overall)
  • Round 4: Pick 4 (No. 111 overall)
  • Round 4: Pick 37 (No. 143 overall)
  • Round 5: Pick 2 (No. 146 overall)
  • Round 5: Pick 17 (No. 161 overall)
  • Round 6: Pick 2 (No. 186 overall)
  • Round 6: Pick 18 (No. 202 overall)
  • Round 7: Pick 1 (No. 219 overall)

In other words, it’s 2017 and they have several picks over the next couple of days: GET SOME GUYS WHO CAN SCORE THE TOUCHDOWNS. They didn’t hire Kyle Shanahan to finish in the top half of the draft and pick Pac-12 defensive linemen every year into perpetuity.

***

Since 49ers fans are hoping like hell that their team will start to resemble the great squads of the past, and NFL Draftmas is the time when hopes really flourish, we’re giving you guys a deal.

All football apparel (Men, Women, and Kids) in the BASG SHOP is 16% off — from now until the draft concludes on Saturday — with code DRAFT.

https://youtu.be/qoJP2nFFH_k

 

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