Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

John Lynch on 49ers’ draft secrecy: “We just wanted to see how far it could go”

Apr 30, 2021 at 11:20 AM--

It was maddening for San Francisco 49ers fans. It was maddening for all NFL fans and even much of the media. Social media has not been a fun place since the team traded up to the No. 3 overall pick on March 26. There was so much rampant speculation surrounding what the 49ers might do, and the team's brass was playing it close to the vest, refusing to offer any hints.

There were reports that even those inside the building, like coaches and some front-office personnel, didn't even know which direction head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch were leaning. Even CEO Jed York joked on Thursday that he had no idea. That, of course, turned out to be a lie as York proceeded to further mess with the fanbase with some cryptic tweets.

"We were in the bunker," Lynch said on Thursday night. "Apparently, there's been some entertaining stuff going on. He writes the check, so tweet away."

Trey Lance of North Dakota State ended up being the selection. Even he didn't know until receiving a call from the 49ers minutes before NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell officially announced the pick.

So what was the deal with all of the secrecy? We know the 49ers don't like to leak information, but this was on another level. Everyone knew who was going No. 1 and No. 2. Why not just offer up some hints rather than allow rampant media speculation to infuriate fans?

"We just wanted to see how far it could go, and we didn't think it would go this far," Lynch told 49ers team reporter Keiana Martin during a one-on-one conversation. "Now, look, ultimately, we've had our eyes on Trey for quite a while. Kyle's better at timelines, I kind of live in the moment, but I know it's been some time."

Lynch and Shanahan did commit to finalizing their decision by Monday. A week ago, on Friday, Lynch told Shanahan who his choice was. It was Lance, the prospect they loved all along.

"I told him who I liked, but I said, 'I'm ready to ride with any of them, and it really comes down to you, Kyle. You're our head coach. You're our offensive play-caller,'" Lynch shared. "And Kyle came down Monday, said, 'You ready to go with Trey Lance?' And I said, 'You're not messing with me, are you?' And it was an awesome feeling. So that kind of finalized it.

"Although, like I said, we've known for some time. And then, I believe Wednesday, we shared it with Jed. Our wives were privy to it, and they did very good at being vaults, like they always are."

Lynch also shared the information with Dr. John York, Jed's father, and the 49ers' co-chairman. It turns out Lance was the elder York's choice all along too. He was excited to hear about the decision.

Lance is in Santa Clara today, having arrived at the 49ers' facilities this morning.

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