San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch sat down with reporters on Monday for his annual pre-draft media session. He would not show anyone the team's draft board (the nerve) or reveal how many first-round grades the team's decision-makers had this year (they had 30 last year), but he did reveal one significant fact.

"I'll tell you that we have 184 draftable players on our board," Lynch said. "That's actually a little less than last year."

Why is that significant? Because it shows how much Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan feel the team has progressed since taking it over in 2017. Several rookies from that first draft class saw a great deal of playing time in their first NFL season. For those wondering, 254 prospects will be drafted by Saturday night.

Lynch doesn't envision rookies getting a lot of playing time this year and that's why their draft board has fewer names on it.

"It's going to be harder to make this team," he said. "It's going to be tougher for draft picks to make our team. We wanted that reflected in how we graded players."

Since taking over the team, Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have brought in a franchise quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, seen George Kittle emerge as one of the league's best tight ends, brought in a veteran cornerback and former rival in Richard Sherman, and created an abundance of wealth at running back.

The 49ers are expected to add some pass-rushing, receiving, and defensive-back help during the draft while adding some quality future depth.

The NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday from Nashville, Tennessee.