President of Football Operations and General Manager John Lynch and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

General Manager and President of Football Operations

John Lynch & Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – April 25, 2024

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center


Opening Comments:
John Lynch: “You guys have fun? Yeah. Long day. Long day. Excited about our pick. Go ahead. Shoot.”

Just the rationale. Why did you pick him? You guys have a lot of needs and what made you guys focus in on him?
JL: “We know we do well when we have consensus in our group. And that’s from scouting, coaching, R&D, and we really had that with [WR] Ricky [Pearsall]. He’s a guy who, throughout the process we liked early, and it kept getting stronger and he does a lot of things well. He does a lot of the things we covet at that position well. We believe we have a real strong group there and we wanted to add another player. And you know, Ricky is a very versatile player. Also has some punt return value that we think will come in handy. So, it just felt like it was the right guy at the right time and really excited about it.”

How does he fit your system?
Kyle Shanahan: “He just plays the position real well. I mean, whether he was outside, inside, either receiver, all three of the positions, he can separate down the field, he can separate underneath. He’s got really good hands, extremely smart, very well developed. You can tell he is, I guess I’d call it a gym rat or something because you can just see he’s worked on his routes, put in a lot of hours because you can see it on tape and there’s really nothing he can’t do. He can fit in whatever role based off the other guys.”

There was a catch he had in college, I think, against the University of Charlotte, where I guess it showed his contact courage, I guess, as you like to say. Is that a trait that kind of won you guys over too?
KS: “There’s not one play that you see him turn something down. He’s going to go over the middle and do everything he can to catch that ball and not worry about anything else. When he is on the sidelines, he’s not taking the easy way out. He makes guys tackle him. He is not looking for a place to fall. And when he doesn’t have the ball, he plays just as hard when the ball’s not in his hands.”

JL: There’s the highlight ones, but then there’s just subtle in his day-to-day, game-to-game play. Kyle and I were watching a play today where he broke a tackle, he gets through and just gets popped. He’s equipped to take those hits almost like he likes the physicality of the game. He enjoys run blocking, our kind of style.”

There were a number of reports today on potential trades for WR Deebo Samuel or WR Brandon Aiyuk. Are those true? Is that still in play and does this pick indicate anything?
JL: “Why is it always us? I don’t know. I know that we’re continuing to have positive talks with [WR Brandon Aiyuk] B.A. and we are really efforting to get something done with him. And we’re excited about continuing down that path. And Brandon being a part of this team. [WR] Deebo [Samuel] is a part of this team and a big part of this team. So, like I said, we feel great about that group and we feel like we just made it better with another really good addition to it who complements the group real well.”

Does it close the door on a trade?
JL: “Never close the door on a trade. I mean, we’ll always listen and we have. But we like our group as it stands.”

Is it at least logical to think that it would’ve taken something in the first round for you guys to consider trading Brandon? And now the first round is over, that’s unlikely that you would move him?
KS: “Yeah, I thought it was unlikely going into it, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. So, I mean, you listen to everything. Everything’s about trying to improve our team as much as we can for 2024 without with jeopardizing 2025 as much as possible. So, that’s everything you look into and whenever that opportunity comes, whichever way, if you can improve your team, you do that. It’s sometimes, it’s hard to picture improving your team though without him.”

The run on receivers getting big money, Philadelphia Eagles WR AJ Brown, Detroit Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown from Detroit. Is that concerning when it comes to bringing in WR Brandon Aiyuk or was that something you just expected from the market?
JL: “Yeah, you expected that the market would take a bit of a leap this year. I think it surely has and I think it tells you it’s a premium position in our league right now. The ball is being thrown a lot and we’re asking these players to do a lot. So, it’s the reality and you deal with that.”

Was WR Ricky Pearsall one of your 22 first round grades? Do you feel he makes your team better now?
JL: “Yeah, we had a high grade on Ricky and for all the reasons we’ve told you, we’re really excited to have Ricky as part of our team.”

You hear the word ‘comp’ thrown out pretty much in all draft scenarios. Can you give us a comp on WR Ricky Pearsall? Who does he remind you of?
KS: That’s tough. I don’t know if I want to do that. He reminds me of myself just a lot faster, a lot better, much better hands, can jump, can just do everything much better. I don’t want to be held to that forever. I’ll let him do that.”

Do you see him as an outside receiver in the NFL, Kyle, or do you see him more as a slot?
KS: I see him as both. I mean, he’s got the 40 to still get on top of people on the outside, which is where that starts a little bit. I mean, you just got to have a threat of that to scare guys in a go route. And if you can do that, you can separate on the other routes, but he can get in and out of his break very well. He’s not huge, but he’s still got a good body to where he can handle it on any side or at any length of a corner. So, I mean, all of our receivers who play outside, they also play inside. So we kind of want a guy who can do it all.”


JL: “Yeah, part of the process, you know, when we go through, we ask our guys coaches, scouts, to build these highlight tapes and we usually ask the coaches to give us their best stuff and then show some plays that have some of their perceived weaknesses. The one really impressive thing with Ricky, his highlight tape just kept going and going and going. And you saw it when you watch games, but Kyle and I were sitting there and we’re like 85 plays deep and consistently really, really solid plays and some wild plays as well. So, I think he’s an extremely consistent player who makes a lot of plays at a high rate and does so week in, week out. So that’s exciting to add a player of that quality to our group.”


Was there a visit?

JL: “Ricky did not come in on a visit, no.”


He was teammates with WR Brandon Aiyuk at Arizona State. Did you guys get his feedback at all?

JL: “Brandon just texted.”


KS: “We got it on the way in. ‘Fire Pick, can’t lie.’


JL: “Yeah. ‘Can’t lie.’ I talked to [Former ASU head coach] Herm [Edwards Jr.] though, a lot. Herm and I are close. I remember when he was a true freshman at A State, he started telling me about this kid and how excited he was about him. He spent his time there and then moved over to Florida. He even upped his game against as good of competition as you’ll find in college football.”


You always value what receivers do when the ball isn’t in their hands. What stood out about when he didn’t have the ball in his hand?

KS: “That he makes guys tackle him. You watch so many guys that just, they get what’s there and they go down. And sometimes, people are cool with that and sometimes a guy just isn’t like that. You kind of want to not have to ask guys to fight for every yard. You’d rather have to pull them back. When you watch a guy that just fights for everything he can do and makes people tackle him. Regardless of your make-miss ability, just with your hands and how good they are, so you can transition and get up field with fearlessness, you can be good after the catch. But then, you watch some of his cutting ability, which makes him a punt return option and things like that. Knowing that he does have the ability to make some guys miss and create edges with his hands, with the kind of mindset he has of being fearless, you feel he’s going to be good after the catch. We got some pretty good guys to be in that group in that way.”


If teams didn’t know you were open for business at receiver, they definitely do now. Are you going to get calls through the night? Do you plan on this going through to when teams are on the clock tomorrow? Is this kind of the reality now for you guys?

JL: “I can’t predict what we’re going to get. I’m going to go home, go to bed, wake up, come in here tomorrow, and fire it up. Try to add some more really quality players to our team. This is always an exciting process and I’m looking forward to it.”


Did you think you were close on any trades at all to move up or down?

JL: “No.”


If I remember correctly, two years ago when you got through the first round with WR Deebo Samuel, you said nothing came close. I think you said we’re not going to trade him. Is this a little different with Brandon Aiyuk? Is this still kind of on the table?

KS: “I’m becoming more mature. I think as I get older, everything is always on the table. I think that’s a better answer for me. No, it doesn’t seem that likely, to be honest. But I’m still on the table. If someone offers [CEO] Jed [York] and John some good stuff for me, I’m going to be out of here, I’m sure.”


What is the effect of knowing you have two receivers that could be very expensive?

KS: “All that comes into play, but I think the hardest thing when guys look at needs and rosters, especially when it’s a position that’s not quarterback, where lots of guys play and you have different personnel packages, needs aren’t always so obvious for just that year. They can become a lot bigger in the second year, but they can be better in the first year. You never know how someone is going to play out. So that need can be extremely important right now or come training camp. But you also know we have to get some draft picks in here of some younger guys that are for sure going to contribute just as these years go. And especially with [QB] Brock Purdy and things like that. So, all that plays into it. That’s why it is not like you go in and say, ‘Hey, we need one now because of A, B, and C.’ There were four positions that we were interested in being the right pick at 31. We have arguments for every single one and it changes each day because they all do make sense. Then when it gets to there, you have to take the one that makes the most sense and that is just not as simple as what is totally obvious right now. It is kind of over a three-year window, over a four-year window. When it comes to a first-round pick and a fifth-year option it’s over a five-year window. You think about what that can do for a roster from a salary cap standpoint, from personnel, to how you package these guys. Whether it’s one wideout, two wideouts, three. Some go four on the field at once. And then especially you take it as a punt returner, who we lost. There are just a lot of factors that go on that aren’t as obvious as it is when you just look at a need for that day.”


You said you can’t close the door on a trade for Aiyuk, is that the same for Deebo?

KS: “Like I said, we don’t close the door on anything, I think is what we said.”


Brock and Ricky played high school football pretty close by. Is there a familiarity there? Any relationship?

KS: “I’m not sure, we didn’t ask him. We didn’t want to tip our hand. We thought Brock might tell one of you guys. No, we didn’t ask him.”


Did Brandon text you or did he text Kyle with ‘fire pick’?

KS: “I think it was John.”


JL: “Yeah, he texted me on the way in here.”


Is that nice to get?

“Yeah. BA we have a tremendous relationship.”


KS: “It’s a group text.”


JL: “It’s group text. Both of us. Good clarification.”


Is can’t lie part of the text?

KS: “I think that’s just how people younger than you talk. Fire pick.”


JL: “Fire pick, can’t lie. Next one was from Herm, ‘That’s a great pick. He won’t let you down.’”