Did John Lynch just give away 49ers' plans in 2024 NFL Draft?

John Lynch spoke to reporters just days before the 2024 NFL Draft, and when explaining the draft class, he may have given away what the 49ers' plan of attack will be over the weekend.
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers enter the 2024 NFL Draft in a unique but enviable position: holding a roster with little to no apparent weaknesses.

This level of depth and talent should allow the Niners to approach the draft more holistically rather than be forced to select a particular player.

But, days before the draft, general manager John Lynch met up with reporters, and his comments may have given away how San Francisco will approach this draft.

John Lynch: 'It's a new dynamic'

Lynch mentioned to reporters that there were 83 players, including 35 they considered starter quality, that "unexpectedly" chose to return to college for an additional year. Because of this, Lynch claimed, "I think the later rounds are probably going to be lacking."

For a 49ers team that has made their living off mining the later rounds, the lack of talent could prove to be a huge deal.

But that alone doesn't give any insight into what the 49ers will do.

Lynch also stated that they had given first-round grades to 22 players in this draft, a slight increase from previous years. The 49ers have a special designation -- a "gold helmet" -- given to individuals who are exemplary in several intangible areas, and the Niners have handed that out to 16 players.

What does it all mean?

The 49ers have a couple of clear needs, especially at offensive tackle. But the consensus heading into the draft is that most of the first-round caliber players will be gone by pick No. 31.

A recent first-round mock by Jeremy Wolfhart on Niner Noise had the Niners selecting the fifth or sixth tackle in the draft. They also could be looking to draft a cornerback, and the 49ers can never be counted out when it comes to defensive linemen.

Because the Niners have identified a certain number of first-round players -- they enter the draft with a multitude of draft picks, and the later rounds seem to lack the same punch as years prior -- Lynch may have given away that the 49ers will be looking to trade up to secure a particular player that they like.

The 49ers have done this only once in the first round (excluding the quarterback Trey Lance trade in 2021) which was a particularly unique experience when they traded up in 2020 to select wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

That worked out pretty well.

With the 49ers being in win-now mode and needing only a few players to take them over the proverbial hump, expect them to be aggressive in getting their players.

Hat tip to 49ers Webzone for the find.

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