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49ers to Coach South Team at 2019 Senior Bowl

A day after securing the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers found out they’d also be coaching the South Team in the 2019 Senior Bowl.

Executive director of the Senior Bowl Jim Nagy announced the news on Monday afternoon.

“Our players are lucky to have the opportunity to be around coach Shanahan and his staff for a week,” Nagy said. “He is one of the brightest offensive minds in the game today and the Reese’s Senior Bowl is excited that our fans will get an up-close look at how he prepares players. In addition, we are excited to have a great football man like general manager John Lynch around our game all week, as well.”

The week in Mobile, Ala., will give the 49ers an up-close look at some of the most notable prospects in this year’s draft class. The South Team will practice three times during the week (Tuesday-Thursday) before playing the North Team (coached by the Oakland Raiders) in the annual Senior Bowl Game on Saturday Jan. 26.

In addition to the practices, San Francisco will get to interview each player on its roster and see what each prospect is like in team and positional meetings. That extra time with the prospects will be invaluable in the 49ers evaluation process leading up to draft day.

“It’s about being around people,” said Shanahan, who will be part of a Senior Bowl coaching staff for the third time. “It’s hard to get tricked when you’re with someone for seven straight days.”

Added Lynch: “You covet time (spent with prospects). We’re not looking for rocket scientists. We’re looking for guys who can play football. We’ll get to see these guys learn football and apply it to the field.”

Coaching in the Senior Bowl, a game that is the preeminent college All-Star game, is usually an added bonus bestowed upon teams who sit atop the draft order each year. So while it’s certainly not an achievement award, there’s no denying it’s a golden opportunity in a league where every front office is always searching for an edge during draft season.

“It’s not something we’re proud of, being there, but we’re going to make the most of it,” Lynch said. “It’s a really good opportunity that we’re going to embrace.”

Kentucky pass rusher Josh Allen is among the most notable names who have accepted their invitation to play in the Senior Bowl. Allen posted 14 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss in 2018.

It will be interesting to see where the North vs. South line is drawn. There’s no doubt that the 49ers would love to get Allen on their roster for the week in Mobile. Allen is largely considered a top-five prospect in this class and as an edge rusher, would fill an area of need on San Francisco’s roster. He’ll be a player commonly forecasted as the No. 2 overall pick in upcoming mock drafts.

We will have updates when the rosters are announced as well as full coverage from the week in Mobile. Stay tuned.

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