Immediately after coming from 2017 NFL draft, it was visible that the John Lynch (49ers' general manager) and his staff were in celebration mood after successfully completing their first draft together. Three days later, the San Francisco 49ers
had selected ten players. One hour after the final pick was done, the Niners had already signed majority of players out of their 18 free agents. In most cases, teams work till late night on Sunday to sign undrafted rookies, but this was not the case for the Niners since it took them 60 minutes to complete the signing. According to Lynch, "it was a land of opportunity", referring to the chance the Niners had since they were still at the initial stage of overhauling their roster. Looking at many betting platforms, 49ers odds to win the NFC West are still high compared to others teams in that division.<
At the end of 2018 draft class last Saturday, Lynch was more satisfied compared with the same period last year. His team was desperate looking for talent, but that has really changed this season. According to Lynch, things got out of control where they had 85 at their rookie camp, but this year they will tame and pull back on their numbers. The Niners have approached the 2018 NFL draft way after closing their last season with a 5-game winning streak. Currently, the 49ers have also cemented their position as a favorite team that many are expecting to make major milestone in 2018. However, that doesn't mean they don't have a few things to address, but you can't fail to see how far they have come in the last one year under their coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager Lynch.
Last year, 9 players of the Niners' 10 rookies featured on their 53-man roster apart form Joe William (running back) who join injured reserve. The other eight undrafted rookies spent that season on team's active roster. Three other players stuck with the team via injured reserve. Surprisingly, most of the rookies played a critical role last season. This year, many are wondering how many of these rookies will make it to the team's roster. According to Lynch, there were tougher times and as result their roster is much better this year. That means, its tougher to get a spot on Niners' roster and it might get even tougher next year. It was evident on the third day of the 2018 draft how these changes have impacted on team's approach to the draft.
Armed with 5 picks in the rounds 4 through to 7, 49ers didn't appear to get instant contributors like what happened last year with Trent Taylor (slot receive) and George Kittle. It was not fun last Saturday, but it has clearly indicated a big difference between 2018 and last year where they now have 53 and not 90. They're now focusing on looking at those who have come for the game and the depth chart on the entire process. The numbers this year have been reduced and players have to complete for slot regardless of how talented they're. All these plans were designed to achieve this goals. It's expected that things might harder and harder every year because that is way your develop depth.
Despite reducing the numbers, the 49ers' roster has some issues that need to be corrected. Lynch and Shanahan are not denying that issues, but they feel that the team has made a major milestone. In 2017 season, it was evident that the Niners had some spots, their coach had to include players he thought had great opportunity. Niners are looking at a very competitive roster where they'll have to fill each position with short and long-term players.