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John Lynch on new draft dynamic, 49ers’ chances of trading from No. 31

Apr 22, 2024 at 1:50 PM

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As customary, NFL teams engage in preliminary discussions about potential draft trades during owner meetings. The San Francisco 49ers currently hold the No. 31 spot in the first round but appear receptive to moving either up or down. The 2024 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday night.

General manager John Lynch addressed reporters on Monday and acknowledged the wide range of possibilities. However, he noted that any potential discussions about trading spots with other teams will likely intensify later in the week.

"It's going to be an interesting year," Lynch stated. "I think it's an interesting draft class. I was just looking at my notes and one interesting thing to me, dynamic, and the way of the world right now, we put a grade on players in the fall if we think there's more than a 50 percent chance that they're going to be in this draft.

"So [there's] 83 players from this year's class that we put grades on—so, thinking there's more than a 50 percent chance they're entering the draft—are back in college because of NIL (name, image, and likeness deals) and things like that. There's now a different route these kids can take. [We may have had] 35 of those with starter grades. So that's a significant amount.

"And how that affects this draft, it's going to be interesting. I think the later rounds are probably going to be lacking. So it's a new dynamic, one that I imagine we're going to be faced with each year."

Lynch disclosed that the 49ers have assigned first-round grades to 22 players in this draft, slightly more than in the previous two drafts. Additionally, they have identified 16 players with the team's "gold helmet" designation, reserved for individuals deemed exemplary in several areas, including performance, leadership, and intelligence.

When questioned about the possibility of trading down from the No. 31 overall pick, Lynch noted that the 49ers traded down one spot in Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan's first-ever draft.

"And so we've traded back, we've traded up," Lynch remarked. "And I just think you have to be flexible. I think, having said what I just said, sometimes trading back gets you later-round picks or mid-round picks, and I think maybe your thought process, if that, then that pick you gain allows you to move back up someplace else, then maybe that's a good thought.

"But those are the things you gotta prepare for, all these scenarios, and we'll see where that goes. I think 31 is an interesting spot. ... I think at the end of Day 1, teams are eager to go get someone. So I would imagine there'll be some calls, and we'll be open and flexible. We've done it both ways, in a variety of ways, and been successful doing some. And the big thing is just be prepared for every scenario."

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