John Lynch's annual pre-draft media session provided several interesting bits of information. The San Francisco 49ers general manager led with a statement on Reuben Foster and then answered questions regarding the 2018 NFL Draft as well as the team’s current roster.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. The Grades Are in
Lynch shared that the 49ers have about 12 prospects that project to be Pro Bowlers, 30 players with first-round grades and 100 guys who are potential Day 1 NFL starters. Those will be interesting numbers to keep an eye on as the first round plays itself out on Thursday. Depending on which quarterbacks are still on the board at pick No. 9, the 49ers could find themselves fielding several trade offers from teams looking to move up.
"You better have multiple answers because multiple things could happen,” Lynch said. “We're going to be aggressive in finding the guys that we like."
Should the 49ers have their heart set on getting one of those 12 potential Pro Bowlers, it would limit how far they’re willing to move down the first round. The Buffalo Bills, who sit at pick No. 12, could be a potential bidder to move up three spots. That would still guarantee San Francisco one of its top-graded prospects.
2. Fifth-year Options
The clock is ticking on the 49ers front office to make a decision on the fifth-year options for Laken Tomlinson and Arik Armstead. San Francisco will have until May 3 to make the call on whether or not to keep either player in 2019.
“We’re getting there,” Lynch said. “Those decisions have to be made in the near future.”
Tomlinson started 15 games for the 49ers at left guard after being acquired via trade from the Detroit Lions. Armstead played in six games last year before breaking his hand against the Washington Redskins. Lynch noted that he hasn’t given up on the team’s 2015 first-round pick.
“Arik is a guy who gives us a lot of versatility,” Lynch said. “He’s probably going to line up at the ‘big end’ position on base downs, and we feel like he could move inside in pass-rush situations. We’re really excited about Arik. We feel like the light kind of went on (during) that Washington game.”
As of now, it sounds like Armstead, Earl Mitchell, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas will start on the 49ers defensive line on base downs. Thomas will be at LEO before moving inside on passing downs.
3. Late-round Gems
San Francisco cleaned up in late rounds and in free agency last year. Beyond fifth-round picks George Kittle and Trent Taylor, Lynch touched on several other 2016 rookies who he’s high on.
“D.J. Jones (sixth-round pick) is a guy we’re extremely high on,” Lynch said. “He played and contributed last year. We think he’s going to be a big part of where we’re going. Adrian Colbert (seventh-round pick) is a starter for us right now at free safety and we feel like a really good one. You go into free agency and Matt Breida played a lot for us at the running back position. We’re excited about his future. Kendrick Bourne (UDFA), we think, is a big part of our receiving unit going forward. Darrell Williams, Jr. – we’re excited about his prospects.”
4. What Can Brown Do for You?
Trent Brown is still rehabbing his surgically-repaired shoulder that put him on Injured Reserve last season. He’s going to miss “a good part” of the offseason program as San Francisco’s starting right tackle is entering the final year on his rookie contract. Lynch said he has faith in Brown getting back into form but added that there’s no rush to get a contract extension done.
“There’s no urgency there,” Lynch said. “We don’t need to do anything right away. I think Trent will work himself back into form. We like Trent as a football player, but we can take our time on that.”