Peter King: Draft proved that Paraag Marathe is ‘pretty invaluable’ to the 49ers

May 2, 2017 at 2:01 PM--

San Francisco 49ers chief strategy officer and executive vice president of football operations Paraag Marathe has received his share of scrutiny from the media and fans over the past few years. He has been seen as a man within the organization who has overstepped his bounds, particularly with two of the 49ers' previous three coaching regimes. However, that perception may be changing.

New 49ers general manager John Lynch loves working with Marathe. He has said so. Lynch finds him invaluable. Despite the general manager's assurances, fans were still skeptical. That perception may be changing following a fantastic article by Peter King of The MMQB that posted on Monday. It gave fans an inside look at the crazy three days from within the 49ers draft war room and created so much positive buzz.

On Tuesday, King joined the NBC Sports Bay Area podcast "The 49ers Insider," hosted by our friend Matt Maiocco. Within the podcast, King shared many of the stories from within his acclaimed article. Maiocco asked King about Marathe, who, according to his article, played a pivotal role within the John McVay Draft Room. Without Marathe, it is very likely that the 49ers draft class would not have been so well received and reviewed by the media.

What did King have to say about Marathe's role throughout the draft?

"I think there's a decent chance – not an overwhelming chance – I think there's a decent chance that without Paraag, really, prodding, goading, continually calling [Seattle Seahawks general manager] John Schneider, that the Niners would not have obtained the 31st pick in the draft and, in fact, would not have gotten Reuben Foster seeing that obviously, [New Orleans Saints head coach] Sean Payton was on the phone with Foster to tell him, essentially, 'If we get through this 31st pick unscathed, you're our pick at 32,'" King said during the interview. "And I can tell you this: Paraag has what I would call an almost encyclopedic knowledge of this draft trade chart. Very quick, Shanahan would say, 'Paraag, what do we have to trade right now to get up to pick X?' And he would say, 'Uh, that would be our second seven' or 'That would be our six' (or) 'That would be our low five.' Whatever. And I'm making that up. I don't know what they have.

"My point was that he's just extremely fast and almost to the point where -- when we were at the end of this, I had to go back and ask him, 'You've got to translate the following, okay? I wrote this down. I don't know exactly what it means. You've got to translate exactly what happened,' which he did.

"Matt, there was 19 seconds left on the clock with the 31st pick when the 49ers turned in the card with Reuben Foster's name on it. Again, I'm not saying it would not have gotten done but if you're 19 seconds late, I guarantee the Saints would have been up at the table to turn in the card of Reuben Foster.

"So, the next time everybody comes crashing down on Paraag Marathe and basically says, 'Get this bum out of here,' just remember that. And remember that -- look, honestly, I'm Switzerland -- I could(n't) care less -- I'm a total neutral party. All I know is that, from what I have heard, that Paraag is one of these guys that everybody is down on. But essentially, I found a guy and I saw a guy who I think is pretty invaluable and you can tell.

"You know who was in the room? Here's who's in the room 20 minutes before the draft when they're trying to get their last, best deal done with the Bears and when they're trying to find out if there are going to be any other suitors for the number two pick. Who's in the room? John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan, and Paraag. That's it. That should tell you what you need to know about the importance of this guy."

"You can tell how people talk to him," King continued. "You can tell that they value him quite highly."

King went on to speculate what was going on in Seattle while Marathe was constantly harassing them on the phone to try and get a trade deal done. The Seahawks had to wonder who the 49ers, a division opponent, were desperately trying to get. Did they really want to make a deal with a team that they were going to face twice a year? Marathe somehow pulled it off and the 49ers ended up getting two of the top three players on their draft board (with the other being Solomon Thomas).

You can listen to the entire podcast interview with King over at NBC Sports Bay Area.

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