Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

John Lynch discusses 49ers rookies, says Mike McGlinchey really surprised Texans’ J.J. Watt

Aug 21, 2018 at 7:44 PM--

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch joined 95.7 The Game on Tuesday night and discussed a myriad of topics with Damon Bruce. He went into great detail on why six-year contracts were important for him and head coach Kyle Shanahan, the team's running backs, the league's new helmet targeting rule, Reuben Foster, and much more.

Bruce also asked Lynch for a breakdown — a "quick thumbnail sketch" — of this year's rookie class. Bruce did not get a short answer there either. Lynch proceeded to share his thoughts on the entire class, starting with the first-round pick and right tackle Mike McGlinchey out of Notre Dame.

"McGlinchey, it's so fun for me to watch him here because one thing you noticed the more you honed in on him, he's a big man," Lynch said. "He's lanky, he's long-levered, all those things. One thing that J.J. Watt said to me on the field down there (in Houston) after they went against each other: 'Wow, this guy really surprised me, being a guy that's that tall and that long but he can still bend and the power that he has.'

"I think he's a guy that will continue to improve. Why did we draft him? Because we felt like he was a plug-and-play (player), could play right away, and could play at a high level and do it for a long time. I think we're even more convicted on that after spending some time around Mike. Will it be perfect? No. It never is. But I think he's made of the right stuff. He's incredibly talented. We're super high on him."

Next up was the second-round pick Dante Pettis, the receiver out of Washington. What attracted the 49ers to him was that he could play all three receiver positions.

"He has shown us that he can do that and do it with great skill," Lynch said.

Pettis can also contribute on special teams in the return game. He returned an FBS-record nine punts for touchdowns over his collegiate career with the Huskies while averaging 14.2 yards per return. Four of the nine touchdowns came during Pettis' senior year. He had 1,274 return yards in 90 attempts during his time at Washington.

The 49ers didn't settle for acquiring just one great return man. They also selected former Kansas State cornerback D.J. Reed in the fifth round. He happened to be the second-best returner in the country.

"Everybody blocks a little harder because they understand that on any given play, these guys could go the distance," Lynch said.

Rookie linebacker Fred Warner has impressed since the 49ers made him their third-round pick out of BYU. Although, Lynch admits that Warner was a bit more difficult to scout because of the position he played on the Cougars defense.

"He almost played like a nickel back out in the slot," Lynch said. "But we felt like his skills and profile really translated to the way our inside linebackers play. He hasn't missed a beat since he arrived here. He's incredibly cerebral at the position, very athletic, and a lot of people had a question about the physicality, but he's shown us that he loves the physicality and has really excelled at it."

The 49ers made Tarvarius Moore their second third-round selection. He is learning to play cornerback after spending his time at Southern Miss playing safety. Lynch and company have been impressed with his transition.

Safety Marcell Harris did not play in 2017 after suffering a torn Achilles last summer. Lynch says he was coming back and starting to play well until he tweaked his hamstring last week during a joint practice with the Houston Texans.

"We're waiting for him to get back and healthy," Lynch said.

The 49ers made safety Adrian Colbert a seventh-round pick in 2017 and hope they struck seventh-round gold for the second-straight year. This year, the team selected defensive lineman Jullian Taylor out of Temple and wide receiver Richie James of Middle Tennessee State. Lynch believes James can contribute right away and could earn a spot on the 53-man roster.

"Jullian Taylor's a guy, who [due to] some injuries, has started for us on the D-line," Lynch said.

The 49ers general manager is proud of his most recent rookie class, which follows a 2017 group that saw a significant amount of playing time last season.

While Bruce was initially looking for a "quick" breakdown, what he got instead was a detailed one, which looked at all but one (fourth-round selection Kentavius Street) draft pick.

"I think we're going to have a really strong rookie class," Lynch added. "That remains to be seen. They've got to go show us that they can do it in the regular season but we love their early returns."

Click here to listen to the entire interview with Lynch.

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