The new ShanaLynch regime wasted little time in adding their kind of players to the Niner roster via Free Agency and the Draft to make-over the team. They have a definite strategy and long term plan to turn this franchise around for the better. With the hiring of Robert Selah as the Defensive Coordinator, the mission is to create and develop a defense similar to the very successful Seattle Seahawks. Fast, versatile, tough, and instinctive players will thrive under the Saleh defense. Shanahan will act as both Offensive Coordinator and Head Coach. He will look for players that allow him to pound the rock and run the ball with power and speed. His philosophy is that a successful running game will lead to an equally effective passing game. As he grew up in the Bill Walsh era and studied under his Dad, his philosophy is no surprise.
Let’s take a look at what ShanaLynch have already done.
In Free Agency:
DT Earl Mitchell
CB K’Waun Williams
CB Don Jones
LB Malcolm Smith
LB Brock Coyle
LB Dekoda Watson
LB Jayson DiManche
QB Brian Hoyer
QB Matt Barkley
FB Kyle Juszczyk
RB Tim Hightower
RB Kapri Bibbs (trade with Broncos)
WR DeAndre Carter
WR Pierre Garcon
WR Marquise Goodwin
WR Aldrick Robinson
TE Logan Paulsen
C Jeremy Zuttah (trade with the Ravens)
G Brandon Fusco (Visiting the Niners on 5/1 with expectations of signing)
K Robbie Gould
In the 2017 NFL Draft with how they fit into the ShanaLynch system:
DE Soloman Thomas – Tough, fast and versatile. Goal is to play like Michael Bennett of the Seahawks.
LB Reuben Foster – Tough, fast and versatile. Goal is to play like Patrick Willis or Booby Wagner of the Seahawks.
CB Ahkello Witherspoon – Tall, fast and athletic. Goal is to be like Richard Sherman of the Seahawks.
QB C.J. Beathard – Tough, smart, accurate passer and leader. Developmental QB with the goal is to be like Kirk Cousins.
RB Joe Williams – Tough runner. Carlos Hyde is entering last year of contract and has been injury prone.
TE George Kittle – Tough blocker, good hands, runs good routes and fast. Also can play fullback.
WR Trent Taylor – Tough, fast, runs great routes, and has great hands. Also can return punts. Goal is to be like Julian Edelman of the Patriots.
DT D.J. Jones – Stout run stopper and will rotate with Earl Mitchell and Quinton Dial.
DE/OLB Pita Taumeopenu – Fast edge rusher with not much bulk but has quick speed to get around the edge. I see him replacing Ahmad Brooks or Eli Harold.
DB Adrian Colbert – Not much experience so will be a developmental project. Big Ronnie Lott type hitter who could play both CB and Safety.
Counting both Free Agency and the Draft, ShanaLynch have brought in 13 Defensive players and 17 Offensive players for a total of 30. I expect most of these 30 players to make the 53 man roster which translates into a more than 50% turn-over in their first year. That is eye opening.
It is way too early to evaluate these signings and picks but I have a strong feeling that ShanaLynch have set a solid foundation. Their coaching staff will develop sound players and some can even become impact players.
My belief is that success in the NFL is dictated mostly by a sound and consistent system. Look at the Patriots. Most of their players are/were not highly rated draft prospects. But they are coached to know their roles and thus, they play their roles very effectively. If ShanaLynch can stay true to their philosophy and system, they can begin competing again with the goal of being like the Patriots.