Some 49ers scouts feel powerless and are considering leaving, per report

Jul 25, 2019 at 7:00 AM

There is a lot of information to sift through in Tyler Dunne's lengthy but impressive feature on Wednesday. The writer spoke with several San Francisco 49ers players and even general manager John Lynch throughout the offseason and put together an enlightening article for Bleacher Report.

Buried within the feature is Dunne's discussion with a former 49ers staffer who doesn't paint such a rosy picture of his former team. This individual points out that several scouts still within the organization feel powerless and are considering leaving when their contracts expire.

What is the reason for the discontent? The scouts feel that no matter how much work they put in or how much input they provide, the 49ers' decision-makers, mainly general manager John Lynch, head coach Kyle Shanahan, and the rest of the coaching staff, are just going to do whatever they want regardless.

In itself, this doesn't sound out of the ordinary. The front office and coaches are typically responsible for any final decisions the team makes, especially within a structure like the 49ers'. Lynch says he and Shanahan are always in agreement before executing a roster decision.

"I can tell you with confidence that we've never made a decision here where we both haven't been all-in by the time we made it," Lynch told Dunne. "If I feel really strongly about a player and he's not quite there, that's my job to get him there or we move on. And vice versa. We enjoy being around each other."

It's a unique relationship, but nothing we didn't already know.

One of the problems, according to this former 49ers staffer, is when lines are seemingly crossed. He uses a former first-round draft pick, Reuben Foster, as an example. This individual felt Lynch and Shanahan, because of Foster's red flags, may have kept the troubled linebacker too close. This staffer felt the duo "blurred the lines" of the employer/employee relationship.

Foster was even brought into a draft meeting once to study prospects with the scouts, which they did not appreciate or even understand.

"I'm looking around like, 'What the f--k is going on right now? This is not normal,'" said the source.

Foster wasn't the only issue that caused concern among the scouts. Watching the coaching staff make snap decisions during the draft that basically throws away the years of research a scout puts in on each player is described as "demoralizing."

"Voices are being heard, but they're not the right voices," the former staffer said.

Then he goes through a lengthy list of other examples.

The 49ers scouts never saw defensive lineman Solomon Thomas as a top-five pick. San Francisco selected him No. 3 overall in 2017 without ever considering a quarterback.

The scouts didn't like Joe Williams, and the running back wasn't even on the draft board. Shanahan loved him, though, and fought to make him a fourth-round pick. Like the Foster selection, this proved to be a mistake.

There were also knocks on safety Tarvarius Moore, cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, defensive end Kentavius Street, and quarterback C.J. Beathard. It became apparent that the coaches on staff had more say on who the 49ers selected without the benefit of doing the same amount of homework on each player as the scouts.

This year, according to the report, some scouts wanted Lynch and Shanahan to at least consider defensive tackle Quinnen Williams at No. 2 overall, but the decision to select defensive end Nick Bosa was already made far in advance of the draft.

Dunne writes that such disagreements between the coaches and scouts within the Trent Baalke regime would result in an open discussion. That is rarely the case now, says the former staffer. Of course, any comparison that involves Baalke isn't likely to resonate with 49ers fans.

The bottom line is that this is Lynch's and Shanahan's team to build. They are the ones who inherited a mess of a roster, so they are free to accept or decline whatever input is provided. Lynch's career path from former player to television announcer to general manager of an NFL team, however, doesn't sit well with everyone in the scouting community.

"It's hard for guys putting in that work, working up the ranks, moving between teams to elevate your position—and being away from your family, really for all that time—and then to have someone come in who's never really done any of that before," one NFC scout told Dunne. "It's kind of disheartening to see some guy can just walk right in and take the top job that I've been working a decade-and-a-half for."

Click here to read Dunne's entire feature on the 49ers over at Bleacher Report.


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