When 49ers G.M. John Lynch claimed he landed in round one two of his top three players on the board, he wasn’t lying. Unless he also did a great job of lying to Peter King of TheMMQB.com.
The 49ers welcomed King into the draft room, and he explains: (1) that the 49ers truly didn’t know who the Bears planned to take upon moving from No. 3 to No. 2; and (2) that the 49ers truly would have taken Reuben Foster at No.3, if the Bears had selected Solomon Thomas at No. 2 and if the 49ers couldn’t trade down.
King also explains that the 49ers were talking to another team about a trade up to No.2, a fact that should make Bears fans less convinced that G.M. Ryan Pace got hoodwinked to trade up for a guy the 49ers wouldn’t have taken. But the 49ers wouldn’t disclose the team, to the Bears or to King. Which should make Bears fans wonder whether Pace indeed got hoodwinked.
The 49ers also had been talking to Foster’s agent about “some contract concessions” aimed at Foster’s off-field concerns (he was kicked out of the Scouting Combine for arguing with a hospital worker, and he failed the drug test with a diluted sample), and Foster’s agent was “amenable” to those measures. (That type of pre-selection negotiation is technically a no-no, but it happens routinely.) As a result, the 49ers would have moved as low as No. 8 to get Foster, with the thinking that the Bengals could take him at No. 9.
When the Bengals didn’t take Foster at No. 9, and after the Chiefs traded up to No. 10 to get quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Saints took cornerback Marshon Lattimore at No. 11, the 49ers tried to move up to get Foster. No one was interested, but they kept trying.
The 49ers nearly swung a deal with the Seahawks at No. 26, before the Seahawks traded down to No. 31 with the Falcons, who took pass rusher Takkarist McKinley. Then, with the Seahawks on the clock at No. 31, the 49ers sprang up and nabbed Foster, just as the Saints were ready to take him at No. 32.
So the 49ers got who they wanted. Or they’re claiming they got who they wanted, and they’re doing a great job of selling that notion.
If the fans believe them, it could help solve those early-season traffic problems in Santa Clara.