John Lynch discusses the draft, fighting familiarity, and more

Apr 11, 2017 at 10:49 AM--

San Francisco 49ers general manager, who has not been on the job for about two and a half months, joined Adam Schefter of ESPN on his podcast to discuss a number of topics. During the interview, Lynch discussed his transition from an analyst to a general manager, surrounding himself with the right kind of people, the NFL Draft, free agency, and more.

Below are some key points from the nearly 25-minute discussion.

Conversation with John Harbaugh

Numerous people, from general managers to other front office personnel, have reached out to Lynch since he has been hired and offered their support. Lynch also recently had a chance to speak with Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.

"John Harbaugh, last night, we were having a great conversation and he said, 'Hey, I've got a great deal of respect for the guy you're working with, for you, and I think you guys are going to be a great team,'" Lynch said. "I told him, 'You know, the conversations come up that he and [Ravens general manager] Ozzie [Newsome], that relationship that they have is something we're trying to emulate and he had a great piece of advice. He said, 'A lot of people will say on certain players – if you can't come to a consensus – you agree to disagree and you move on.' He said, basically, 'Bunk that. We're going to stay in the room long enough until we agree. That's what we've been able to do.' And they have been very successful.

"Kyle and I talked about that last night. There's little nuggets like that where that's what our instinct has done anyway. But you hear it from someone that's been successful and it makes you even more affirmed and convicted that that's the right way to go about it."

Adam Peters grew up a 49ers fan

Current 49ers vice president of player personnel Adam Peters was a surprising hire by Lynch because of his value within the Denver Broncos organization. John Elway and the Broncos didn't have to let Peters go and could have blocked the move, but decided not to. It has been long assumed that the main reason for that was Lynch's friendship with Elway.

"John Elway had invited me in years ago to do draft preparation – just as a friend, another set of eyes for him. I saw early on that [eventual Broncos director of college scouting] Adam Peters saw the game in a very similar light to the way I saw it. I happen to sit next to him in draft meetings never knowing that I was going to do this.

"And then, he's just very well thought of in this league and so I was very thankful to John Elway. John didn't do it because of our friendship. He did it because he felt like there was nowhere up for Adam to go in their organization. He has [director of pro scouting] Matt Russell and he wanted to give him an opportunity. Adam happens to be from Los Gatos. He was a Niners fan growing up so it was kind of his dream job. And so John saw that and I think it speaks to the guy that John is that he let him out."

49ers don't know yet who they will pick at number two

The 2017 NFL Draft is just weeks away and teams like the 49ers are still working hard to finalize their draft boards. The 49ers have already hosted a number of players, organized private and semi-private workouts, and held discussions with players at pro days. The team currently holds the second overall selection in the draft and with so many needs on the roster, could make any number of moves with the pick.

"We don't know yet, in all the scenarios that we've run through, who we're going to pick," Lynch said. "We're not there yet. We've still got a lot of preparation to do. We've got draft meetings coming. We've got some ideas, but we are not set in stone by any extent of what we're going to do and I think that's the case for a lot of teams. This process is fluid. There's still a lot of information to be gathered, a lot of film to be watched, and we're still very much in that process."

Fighting familiarity

During free agency, Lynch and Shanahan have brought in a number of players who are familiar with the head coach. They are players who have experience in his system. Lynch discussed the philosophy of bringing in familiar players but balancing it with players who are unfamiliar but fit what is trying to be accomplished.

"Tony [Dungy] and I had a great meeting down at the combine," Lynch said. "And one of the things he told me because he said, 'Every coach is going to want familiar guys. It feels good for a coach. They know what they're getting and that's important.' But he said one of the great things the Hall of Fame general manager Bill Polian did is every time Tony would bring in someone familiar, he'd say, 'That's great and if we end up there, here's two other options that I think.'

"Kind of one of the themes we talked about – I was taking notes – was 'Fight familiarity.' And in every one of those instances, I said to Kyle, 'Hey, that's awesome but also, let's look at these guys.' I think when you look at our free agent class, there's guys that are guys that Kyle's been familiar with from Brian Hoyer to Pierre Garçon to Aldrick Robinson. But then there's guys like Earl Mitchell and there's guys like Marquise Goodwin who is a fit because Kyle loves speed and knows how to utilize it but we had never seen him before. We've seen him on film but we had no previous experiences with him.

"I think things like that, we're going to embrace familiarity because it's great to have knowledge on someone but in every instance, we're going to challenge it as well."

You can listen to the entire interview here.

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