Sakamoto: 49ers John Lynch delivers first-round knock out!

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch wasted no time in making his presence known. The former All-Pro player on the field was knocking out trades like he used to knockout players. Consequently those moves set the tone for not only the remainder of the 2017 NFL draft but 2018 as well. 

Below is a breakdown of the team’s first-round picks in my 

1. First-round pick (No. 3): DE Solomon Thomas

Analysis: If you read my article back on March 25, I listed three reasons why the team should draft Thomas. Fast forward to today and they did just that. Thomas’ skill set allows the team flexibility in how they will manipulate their defensive alignments under new DC Robert Saleh

In my honest opinion, the Stanford product is best suited to play the 4, 5, and 6 technique in base. On money downs and obvious passing situations, I see Thomas kicking inside in sub-packages. My draft crush all along was Tennessee DE Derek Barnett, but that was too high for the 49ers blood to take the Volunteer at that spot.

Making the selection of Thomas the safer bet. Any general manager will tell you at the top of the draft, you want to minimize as much risk as possible. Sure, that can be said of every selection, but top 10 picks are on a different level. In the end, it will prove to be the smart move. 

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But what really made this selection a home run pick was not so much the selection of Thomas. Instead, it was the 4-for-1 trade they were able to swing with the Chicago Bears. 49ers GM John Lynch and Executive VP of Football Operations Paraag Marathe orchestrated arguably the best draft day trade of 2017.

The Bears basically gave up the farm to move up just one spot in the pecking order (see my tweet above). From the trade you can clearly see who got the sweeter end of the deal. It’s not even close.

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The 49ers still landed their targeted player while picking up three additional draft picks in the process. A slam-dunk for Lynch and HC Mike Shanahan

Grade: A

2. First-round pick (N0. 31): MLB Reuben Foster 

Analysis: The 49ers greatly benefited from multiple teams reaching for need. It happens every year. 

The Bears reached for QB Mitchell Trubisky, the Tennessee Titans reached for WR Corey Davis (No. 5) and CB Adoree Jackson (No. 18), the Cincinnati Bengals reached for WR John Ross (No. 9), the Kansas City Chiefs traded up for QB Patrick Mahomes (No. 10), the Houston Texans reached for QB Deshaun Watson (No. 12), and the Oakland Raiders took a high-risk flier on CB Gareon Conley (No. 24). 

Those moves allowed the 49ers to profit. 

Special shoutout to the Bears for giving the Niners the capital needed to move up with the Seattle Seahawks. A trade that saw the 49ers relinquish their second-round pick (No. 34) and fourth-round pick (No. 111) in exchange for securing the best middle linebacker in the draft–the move was a no-brainer. 

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The Seahawks ended up trading the 49ers second-round pick (No. 34) to the Jacksonville Jaguars. In that deal they moved down just one spot (No. 35) to select Michigan State DT Malik McDowell. Two rounds later the Seahawks then used their fourth-round pick (No. 111) to select S Tedric Thompson

Grade: A

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.