The Niners are sitting on 10 picks, so they have some decent ammunition to wiggle up and down the draft board. San Francisco has a ton of needs, especially defensively, so stockpiling will be preferred over settling for picks.
This is Lynch’s first chance to establish his smarts and mindset. Given the offseason of patience so far, the 49ers could end up with a boatload of selections in the end, trying to take advantage of this class’ good combination of quantity and quality.
The only way the Niners will come away with a quarterback after No. 2 overall is if they make a blockbuster trade involving that pick with Washington (for Kirk Cousins) or New England (for Jimmy Garoppolo). Otherwise, they’re staying put, likely taking Thomas and figuring out when to take a QB. There are some things they like about North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson above the rest, but not enough to think either is worth such a high first-rounder.
San Francisco’s best-case scenario would be three QBs coming off the board between No. 3 and No. 33 — Trubisky, Watson and Texas Tech’s Pat Mahomes — and one goes to the Browns at No. 12. That would give the 49ers a clear shot at either Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer, whom Lynch loves, or Cal’s Davis Webb, the rising local prospect, at No. 34. Otherwise, the 49ers can take a sleeper such as Tennessee’s Josh Dobbs later in the draft knowing Cousins is in the cards as a free agent in 2018.
The Steelers reached another Super Bowl in 1995 and, after Rooney handed over day-to-day operations of the Steelers to his son, Art Rooney II, the Steelers went to three more Super Bowls and winning in 2005 and 2008.