Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch looking at every option to improve 49ers this offseason

Feb 26, 2020 at 7:57 AM--

On Tuesday, general manager John Lynch expressed how happy he is that his San Francisco 49ers don't own a higher first-round draft pick. It means their 2019 season was (mostly) a success. Of course, the team would rather be selecting at No. 32 rather than No. 31, but that's the hand it's been dealt, and it is better than selecting near the top.

The 49ers are also used to having a lot more draft picks at their disposal. They have just six this year. After San Francisco selects at No. 31, assuming they don't trade down to gain more picks, the team will not select again until the fifth round. That means, as of now, it has the entire second day of the three-day draft off.

Around this time last year, the 49ers had already set their minds on selecting defensive end Nick Bosa. They didn't need to do a lot of in-depth research into too many of the players who figured to go high in the first round after their own selection. That definitely isn't the case this year.

At No. 31, anything can happen, and the 49ers plan to be prepared. Team decision-makers won't rule out anything.

49ers 2020 Draft Picks
Round 1 No. 31 overall pick
Round 5 Two picks
Round 6 One pick
Round 7 Two picks

"It's different, definitely," head coach Kyle Shanahan said Tuesday. "I mean, you can eliminate a lot of people at number two. You don't have to put as much time into everyone. You still do it, but when you're at 31, you've got to be ready for anything.

"I also know long enough that you don't just sit there and look at your draft and say, 'Alright, we've got to know one through 31, but then we can just chill until the fourth round or fifth round, whatever we are, take a day off,' because things change.

"There's always trades. There's always different draft picks, so you've got to still go through the same process. But there's not as much pressure on getting to know all the top guys in the draft."

Despite already owning a talented roster and seeing success this past season, the 49ers aim to improve further. That has been the mindset since Lynch and Shanahan arrived in Santa Clara, and it will remain the mindset moving forward.

"I think the important part right now is that we're prepared for all scenarios," Lynch said Tuesday. "So, the best way to do that is to do our due diligence in terms of getting ready for the draft class, the free-agent class, and evaluating our own players. That's where our mindset is.

"I think those things will take care of themselves as our plan and our vision for making our team better this year develops further."

What direction will the 49ers go with the No. 31 selection, assuming the team stays put at that spot? Shanahan isn't quite sure yet. After all, he just returned to the team on Monday after taking some time off following the heartbreaking Super Bowl LIV loss.

Nothing is off the table, right now.

"We're looking at every option this week," Shanahan responded when asked if he planned to get a good look at offensive linemen this week. "There's not a position we don't look at."

With less equity — both in the draft and available salary cap money — at their disposal, the 49ers might have to get more creative while attempting to improve.

Added Lynch: "The ultimate goal, and I do think it gets more tricky, is how do you improve your team? We like where our team was this year. We've got the right kind of guys. We're a very talented football team, but (Raiders) coach (Jon) Gruden, Kyle, they all subscribe to it, I've heard it so many times, you never stay the same. You're either getting better or getting worse. We're into getting better. It becomes trickier with less draft equity and things of that nature, but we've got a lot of good players that are part of us moving forward, as well."

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