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Quote Roundup: John Lynch, Draft Picks and More During the NFL Draft

The San Francisco 49ers drafted a total of nine players this year to help fill needs and add depth at several positions on the roster.

Take a look at what the 49ers draft picks and personnel had to say following the 2023 NFL Draft:

Pick No. 87 - S Ji'Ayir Brown

Brown on his visit to 49ers headquarters ahead of the draft:

"The visit went great. I talked to everybody around the facility and it really felt like home. It gave me a similar version of how Penn State felt, a family-oriented environment. I had a great visit in San Fran, and I knew from the time I left the visit that it was the best visit I'd been on. I knew that's where I belonged."

Brown on what it was like to be drafted:

"It was amazing. It was a great feeling, a feeling that only comes once in your lifetime, so I'm definitely taking in this moment. I'm very appreciative."

Brown on how he got the nickname "Tig":

"It started from Winnie the Pooh. When I was a baby, I would always bounce around a lot. I wasn't even a year old and I would bounce around on my mom's lap a lot, so she started calling me Tigger the Tiger. As I got older it started to stick with me. I was just like, 'You know what? Let's chop a couple letters off, call me Tig.' Everybody started calling me Tig, and it has been like my real name, a substitute for my real name, since I was a baby."

Pick No. 99 - K Jake Moody

Moody on his excitement to join the 49ers:

"I'm so fired up. I've built a pretty good relationship with Robbie Gould actually these past few months, and he's been telling me how great it is. He actually just texted me a few minutes ago saying how excited he is for me and telling me how great of a place it is. Mitch Wishnowsky and Taybor Pepper, they're great guys that I'm going to get to work with. I'm so fired up."

Moody on his relationship with Gould:

"I'm not sure if he felt the need to kind of pass the torch down to a newer guy in the league, but he's been a really good mentor these past few months. He's been helping me out with a ton of stuff, whether it was combine stuff, preparing for the draft or all the workouts, he's been there the whole way and I'm very happy that he has."

Moody on what his college head coach and former 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh had to say about San Francisco:

"From what I know, he really enjoyed it out there. He took the team really far while he was there. He's only said good things about it, so I'm just really looking forward to getting there and seeing it for myself."

Pick No. 101 - TE Cameron Latu

Latu on who he models his game from:

"I try to model my game after George Kittle. I watched him after these last two years with my tight ends coach and just tried to take tools that he's been using in the run game and passing game and apply them to my game. To team up with him and be on the same team is a blessing, to be able to learn under him."

Latu on how familiar he is on San Francisco's offense:

"I watched a lot of their tape. A lot of the stuff we did at Alabama we stole from the 49ers because their run game package is pretty phenomenal. The key factors of George Kittle's blocking and his technique, I learned a lot from him in that part of the game. Then you go to the passing game and he does the same thing just as well. YAC, after the catch, I just know they really use the tight end heavy, and I'm excited to go learn under that offense."

Latu on what he can bring to the team:

"I think I'm a balanced tight end. I think I can do it all. You can put me in any position and I think I could be excellent at it. Like I said, I have every place to improve in both passing and run blocking, but that's just technical things that I can work on. That's what I'm going to attack daily when I get there."

Pick No. 155 - CB Darrell Luter Jr.

Luter Jr. on his connection with 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks:

"I connected with him instantly. He loved everything that I was talking about. We were watching film and we connected very well. I feel like I had a real good vibe with him."

Luter Jr. on his versatility as a player:

"Being close up and in press, it allows me to put my hands on early. It allows me to be able to rough those receivers up and get them into their routes sooner than they would want to. That's something that I've done since I was little. I've been doing that coverage, especially press, my whole football career... Honestly, I'm very versatile. I play both nickel and outside corner. I can play both. Of course, a majority of my career I have played outside, but I've also been reintroduced a couple of times back at nickel since high school, so I can play both positions. It doesn't matter which one, as long as I'm able to help out the team in any way."

Luter Jr. on his strongest characteristics:

"I've got the strength, I've got the physicality, they say I've got the mental part of the game. Especially coming into the NFL, that's something that I take pride in. I always talk about, once I get drafted I'm getting into the playbook as soon as I get there. I'm connecting with a veteran because I want to get that stuff already taken care of. I want to be able to make people feel like I am a veteran, that way I'm comfortable. When I get out on the field, I want coaches to know that they can trust me on that field, so that's what I'm bringing. I'm bringing the physicality part and I'm bringing the mental part to the game."

Pick No. 173 - DL Robert Beal Jr.

Beal Jr. on his first reaction when he found out the 49ers were drafting him:

"It was a breath of fresh air. With the anticipation of the draft, waiting for your name to get called, I've been just waiting for that to happen and it finally happened. It is a breath of fresh air. I'm just ready to get to work."

Beal Jr. on his excitement to work with the team:

"I'm excited, it's crazy. The 49ers were my favorite team growing up as a kid. It is like a dream come true being able to reunite and come play for you guys... Growing up, it was between the 49ers and the Falcons but it was 49ers before the Falcons. It is crazy how it comes full circle. I'm just thankful for the opportunity."

Beal Jr. on his pass rush skills:

"I feel like my primary moves are anything off of a long arm. Long arm bull rush, speed rush. I can also switch it up, so it is things like that that really take my game to the next level."

Pick No. 216 - LB Dee Winters

Winters on his excitement to work with linebacker Fred Warner and linebackers coach Johnny Holland:

"I've been watching Fred Warner for about two years now, ever since I transitioned from safety to linebacker. I just found somebody I feel like my game kind of models. I think Fred Warner is probably one of the top linebackers in the league and that's definitely somebody I look up to. I'm definitely excited to get to work with him and kind of follow in his footsteps. I've been a little familiar with the scheme. I met with San Francisco quite a bit throughout this process. Like I said, I'm excited to get to work with Johnny Holland and those guys."

Winters on meeting Holland:

"He's actually from Hempstead, Texas, which is about 20 minutes from where I'm from in Brenham, Texas. So, kind of got a conversation started there to open up and have a little ice breaker there, but I think coach Holland is a great guy. He's definitely going to be himself, and I think he just is a great coach and he's going to put you in the best position to make plays, and that's what you want as a player."

Winters on blitzing in the defensive scheme:

"I think it just opens up the playmaker in me and it allows me to just go make plays. I think, you have one task at hand and that's to go get whoever has the ball. So, any time a coach puts you in that position, it's kind of exciting. I think that's one of the biggest strengths that I have is just going to make plays and being a dynamic blitzer."

Pick No. 247 - TE Brayden Willis

Willis on what he's most excited about when joining the 49ers:

"First and foremost, I like winning so obviously the Niners do a lot of winning and I love doing that. Also, the system fits me really well. I think I can learn a lot from George Kittle. I think I can do a lot in terms of versatility in the offense and just the way that they use their tight end in the run game and pass game, I just think I can do a lot. I think that it's a great fit for me. I think it's the best fit for me and I'm excited to get in and go to work."

Willis on playing at the fullback position:

"I'm a football player, so it's not hard to pick up. I can do it, I'm good at it and I'll do whatever they want me to do. It just kind of came by me being versatile. I can do a lot of different things that football players can and that's kind of how it came about. I'm excited to be able to do a whole bunch of different things and be a chess piece they can use. I'm excited."

Willis on his passion for run-blocking:

"Moving another man from point A to point B without him wanting to be moved, I think that's the best feeling in the world. It's just as good as scoring a touchdown. When you're able to move someone against their will, it's the best feeling. The joy he gets from it, that's the same joy I get from it. It's the violent nature of the game and I think if you're a fan of the violent nature of the game, the physicality and everything, I think you get a joy out of that too. Like I said, I think we're both fans of the violent, physical nature of the game and that's why we love to do stuff like that."

Willis on his experience recording yards after the catch:

"As my career has gone on in Oklahoma, I learned to do the yards after catch thing. Each practice, we did it. Caught the ball in practice and practiced my moves after the catch and everything. I'm excited to learn from all those guys because they're great in YAC. I'm excited to learn from all those guys, pick up some tips and tricks they have that made them so successful in college and in the league and just make me a better player. That's the biggest thing. I want to learn, I want to be a better player and I want to be able to contribute on a bigger scale. That's the biggest thing I'm excited for."

Pick No. 253 - WR Ronnie Bell

Bell on what he's most excited about after being drafted:

"I spoke with the 49ers at my pro day and throughout the combine and Senior Bowl I had spoken to them a little bit too then as well. I'm just excited to be a part of the offense, and definitely as far as where my role is, and where I'll contribute at, I'm not 100% sure. We'll see... Once I'm in the building, once I'm around the guys and pieces start to fall into place I'll have that answer, but definitely just ready to work and just really excited."

Bell on learning the 49ers offense:

"As far as the offense and everything... Once I get my hands on a playbook and start to put things together, I'm just really excited for that whole process."

Bell on joining the 49ers with his college teammate, Moody:

"We got there in Michigan the same summer, and throughout his whole career he was always very quiet, very about his business, but he always put in the work, and was always knocking down the field goals, knocking down the big ones and it was just a lot of fun to play with him and I'm excited to do that again."

Pick No. 255 - LB Jalen Graham

Graham on what it was like to get a draft call from the 49ers:

"Just very very excited. This whole process, at this point, it's been like a waiting game. Getting that call was just an exciting moment for myself and then all of my family as well."

Graham on his visit to the 49ers headquarters ahead of being drafted:

"The visit was great. Being around the building you can get the feel of why the program has been good throughout the years consistently and just some of the different things that they pride themselves on."

Graham on what he hopes to bring to the team:

"Just being myself. When I get there, just being able to contribute in any type of way and really just be a sponge and soak up the game because they're a great defense. I'm just hoping to add to it."

General Manager John Lynch

Lynch on the importance of drafting a kicker:

"They're really important and we've had a very good one here in our tenure. I think when you put this much work into making your roster as competitive as we have, you're going to be in a lot of close games and kickers matter. We knew that we'd be looking this year and our special teams coaches really got out and about and really studied this thing hard. We put a lot of thought into it. When we felt like there was one who separated themselves from the rest, we became very convicted and we were fortunate to have three third round picks. We felt like he was worthy of one and we are happy to have done it."

Lynch on why Brown stood out to the team:

"He's a baller. I think he's got the components of what I think makes up a Niner. We had a consensus, from coaches to scouts, it was all around the building. He really solidified that with this tape but then he came here on a 30 visit and he's just got this infectious personality... He's good up towards the ball. Ball production, 10 interceptions over the last couple of years. He's just a really good football player and then when you add the person, he's a team captain, like Steve Wilks said, 'that's my dude right there.' Everybody in the building wanted that guy. Our top target of the guys we identified that we thought had the best chance of being there in the third where we picked. We didn't think he'd be there at 99, and I didn't think he'd be there... We are really happy to have Ji'Ayir Brown."

Lynch on Brown adding to the the team's safety position:

"We felt like we could add to the depth at that position and Ji'Ayir is a guy who can come in, play special teams right away and learn the safety position. I think he has good versatility to his game and he'll be a great complement to (Tashaun Gipson Sr. and Talanoa Hufanga)."

Lynch on why Moody stood out to the team:

"He's an extremely confident kid, he's been through that competition at Michigan. The way he kicks, he's an extremely aggressive kicker. All the things, we just became very convinced."

Lynch on why Latu stood out to the team:

"His mentality. I think he's a versatile player in that he's good in both the run and the pass, but he went to 'Bama as a linebacker and I think he plays like that. He's an aggressive player, he's a competitive player when you're watching film with him, his recall is really good. He grew on you from that standpoint. I know Kyle got to talk to (Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian) over at Texas who had coached him right when he was transitioning over to the tight end position and got some information. We liked the skillset and we liked the mentality."

Lynch on why Beal Jr. stood out to the team:

"Beal's a really, really gifted athlete. You rely a lot on relationships in this thing and (University of Georgia Head Coach) Kirby Smart's been good to us. He's got a lot of players. Kirby was a safety and we kind of bonded over that, but Kirby said someone's going to get a really gifted and talented player if they just let this guy go hunt QBs and set edges, and when he said that, that's exactly what we do... He ran a 4.47 (40-yard dash). So, he adds speed. He's in the 6-foot-3 range but he's got 34 and 35-inch (arm length) so he's got that length you look for."

Lynch on why Winters stood out to the team:

"Johnny Holland was a huge Dee Winters fan. We trust Johnny's eye a lot. Our scouts like Dee Winters a lot... Dee kind of fits who we are. He is a player who drew some comparisons. Comparisons are dangerous because you have to go do it, but he has similar traits to Dre Greenlaw. A similar suddenness to his game. I had the advantage. TCU was a heavily scouted school by me, selfishly, because my daughter Lilly goes to school there. I got to be there on three different occasions this year and anyone who I would talk to would talk about Dee Winters as being a real leader on that team. He's another captain and the unequivocal leader for that defense and the voice of that defense. That carried weight as well and ultimately, we felt like Dee was just a guy we needed to bring in. We're really excited to take him."

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Shanahan on the team's draft strategy:

"We're trying to get a player who can make our team and we feel we have a pretty good team. We had a lot of hopes of guys who not only could just make our team, but could fill spots to potentially be a starter. It was so nice going into the draft this year that we didn't feel like we had to find a starter at any position, except kicker. Everything else, we feel like we can win with our guys, but we're going to do our best with every pick we have to first of all find someone who can make the team and then someone who can compete to make the guys we have better or to beat out the guys that we have."

Shanahan on Latu's development throughout his college career:

"That's one of the things we liked about him the most. He looked like a good player, but also how much better he got throughout the year and how much more we think is in his body. Then you look at his history knowing he came in playing linebacker the first two years I think then switched over, so he's late to the position and as you watch him throughout the year, we think he can get a lot better in the run game and the pass game. It's hard to say whether he's a run blocker or a pass game guy and we see this guy as both and he can accelerate at both and that's important to us in all our tight ends."

Shanahan on why Bell stood out to the team:

"Just how consistent of a football player he is. I believe he was a captain and a coach's son. Not that that means much, but he plays like you want that to be like. He was just so consistent. A special teams player and a good returner. He did really everything they asked. He was very good in his routes. There was not one thing that he struggled with. When you can put him into a group, and whatever his skillset is, I think he can fit into any position and he seemed like one of the more reliable wideouts that we watched in all of college football. We want guys to be good over time and I feel like he's a guy who has been as good of a football player as there is in college. We have to see how he adjusts at this level but if he can play at this level the way that he did in college, we're going to have a really good football player."

Assistant General Manager Adam Peters

Peters on his takeaway from this year's draft:

"I'd say this draft class was probably one of our most collaborative just with the coaches and the scouts and everybody together. It's gotten better each year. Last year was great, this year it got even better and there was so much talk within the draft room and getting everybody's opinions and it was really, I think it felt about as collaborative as it can be and we're really happy about that."

Peters on how Luter Jr. impressed him:

"He's a man already and he impressed the heck out of me... And that was probably the thing that stood out with Luter the most. Obviously, the stuff on the field, we love his physicality, his strength, his upside. Junior college guy who's got a lot of upside still, so yeah, we're really excited about Luter."

Peters on why a player's maturity is an important trait:

"The NFL is really hard, so you've got to be tough, you've got to be mature in order to do this. It's your job. So, we found on our team, the mature guys do really, really well. You know, the guys that are, that are physical, that are tough, do really well and he fit that bill."

Director of College Scouting Tariq Ahmad

Ahmad on what the scouting process is like for a nearly-complete roster:

"It doesn't change the process. We're evaluating everyone through the fall as if we're starting the roster from scratch to get the value exactly correct. But, as we talk about the players as we go in the winter and then, during the April meetings, we compare them to the guys on our roster and how they would fit in. Initially, it doesn't change at all, but then we have to be able to clearly communicate what their exact value is a little bit later in the process."

Ahmad on prospects having speed and being a team captain:

"Those are two things that are very important to us. What it takes to be a successful 49ers football player is something that we emphasize. We emphasize it in the preseason. We emphasize it during winter meetings. We emphasize it prior to our April meetings. Those are two things that are extremely important to us. So, it is communicated. It's something that they try to gather as much information on as possible. Like, a captain, but what is a captain? A captain is a leader that can connect, can motivate, and so, those are things that we're working on as we get into the schools and that's what we're communicating when we get into those meetings."

Ahmad on working with Wilks in the drafting process:

"Yeah, with Steve it was real seamless. I think we talked about it before, or maybe I talked with you about how seamless it was from the get-go from free agency and then going into the draft it was the same way, it was like he was part of us right away. He's a really smart guy. He communicates exactly what he's looking for - eyes, hands, hips and feet. I've heard that about 30 times but it's the real thing, but he has been about as integral as he could be in such a short time, and he's not afraid to speak his mind but he's also real respectful of everybody else's opinions, and it's been really good so far."

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