John Lynch pleased with 49ers' roster, as key injured starters return


The 49ers made their move a week ago and had no more deals to make on Tuesday's NFL trade deadline.

“We don’t have any draft choices left,” general manager John Lynch joked on 49ers Game Plan on NBC Bay Area.

The 49ers were 6-0 when they traded picks in the third and fourth rounds of the 2020 draft to the Denver Broncos for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and a fifth-round selection. Sanders made an immediate contribution, catching a touchdown pass on the opening drive of the game for the first points in the 49ers' 51-13 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Was the idea that an experienced, productive wide receiver was what the 49ers needed to push them over the top?

“We’re hoping so,” Lynch said. “What we knew is he’d make us better. We’ve long admired Emmanuel, for his talent but also his will. He’s a guy who loves the game and you see that come through the screen in the way he plays.

“He plays with heart, he plays with passion and he’s very skilled at what he does. And I think he’s a great fit for what we do offensively.”

Although the 49ers picked up a player who is under contract for just the remainder of the season, part of the attractiveness of adding Sanders was his familiarity with the offensive system. Denver’s offensive coordinator, Rich Scangarello, spent the past two seasons as 49ers quarterbacks coach under Kyle Shanahan. Sanders immediately stepped into the starting lineup and played more snaps than any other 49ers wide receiver.

Lynch said the addition of Sanders should also help the development of some of the team’s younger players, such as Dante Pettis and Deebo Samuel, the 49ers’ second-round picks from the past two drafts.

“Dante Pettis, I think a work in progress,” Lynch said. “He’s been challenged. At times, he’s stepped up. There’s more in there. We want to bring it out.”

Pettis has been unable to carry over the momentum from a strong finish as a rookie into this season. He caught 27 passes as a rookie for 467 yards and five touchdowns in 12 games. Thus far, he has just 10 receptions for 88 yards and one touchdown.

Samuel has been the 49ers’ top wide receiver. He has 18 catches in six games for 187 yards and a touchdown. He also has gained 37 yards on five rushing attempts, including a 20-yard touchdown against the Panthers.

“Kyle and his staff have been tremendous in finding ways to utilize his talents,” Lynch said of Samuel. “We believe he can be a complete receiver -- a guy who can do everything and has no limitations. I think that’ll come in time. They’re doing a great job of the explosive plays and finding creative ways to get him the ball.”

The 49ers head into Thursday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals in first place in the NFC West by two games. They expected to have their roster bolstered in the coming weeks by the returns of offensive tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, fullback Kyle Juszczyk and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon.

Lynch said he is hopeful -- but not necessarily optimistic -- that the 49ers can also get wide receivers Trent Taylor (foot) and Jalen Hurd (back) on the field this season. Both players are on injured reserve and eligible to return later in the season.

[RELATED: Lynch knows Jimmy G can put 49ers on his back when needed]

Lynch mentioned he had phone calls with executives around the league, but did not engage in any substantive trade talks at the deadline.

“We’re very happy with where our team’s at,” Lynch said. “In fact, we’re really pleased that pretty soon here we’re going to be getting some reinforcements back.”

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