SANTA CLARA (AP) — Even before speaking with his new boss after being selected by San Francisco with the ninth overall pick, Mike McGlinchey had a pretty good idea of what to expect from 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan.
McGlinchey’s cousin, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, spent two seasons working closely with Shanahan from 2015-16 when Shanahan was the team’s offensive coordinator. So who else for McGlinchey to go to for advice about his new gig?
“I’ve heard quite a bit about Kyle,” McGlinchey said on a conference call with reporters. “He’s done obviously a great job both with the Falcons and the 49ers. My cousin Matt has said nothing but great things about Kyle. I’m really excited to get to work with him.”
Ryan wasn’t among the 150 family members and friends who joined McGlinchey at a restaurant near his hometown in Pennsylvania to celebrate being drafted. The Falcons quarterback was home tending to a pair of newborn twin boys but repeatedly reached out to his cousin throughout the day.
“He’s been calling me and texting me all day and making sure I’m OK,” McGlinchey said. “He’s given me all the support I’ve needed.”
McGlinchey was the consensus top tackle available in the draft. He started 29 games on the left side over the past two seasons but will most likely play on the right side in the NFL. San Francisco has six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley, who is the longest-tenured player on the 49ers.
“The more we watched him, the more we liked him,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “Every time Kyle and I kept watching him, he just kept getting better. Last week we decided that if he’s there at nine, he’s the guy we’re taking.”
Lynch called McGlinchey a game-changer, an athletic offensive tackle who repeatedly showed up on film blocking for running plays well down the field.
“He’s got a special presence to him,” Lynch said. “He’s real, he’s authentic and he’s a bad-ass. And we like that.”
Shanahan was asked if he reached out to Ryan to get information. The 49ers coach smiled and said no, out of fear of tipping the 49ers’ intentions.
“I didn’t want to blow our cover,” Shanahan said. “I didn’t trust Matt to keep a secret.”
The pick was somewhat surprising because many speculated that Lynch and Shanahan would continue to target the defense.
For a while, it appeared that middle linebacker Roquan Smith might fall into San Francisco’s lap, one year after the 49ers grabbed Reuben Foster with the 31st overall pick. Foster is currently facing domestic violence charges, although his girlfriend recently said she had lied to authorities about the situation.
But Smith was drafted by the Chicago Bears with the eighth pick and the 49ers went with McGlinchey.
“We considered linebackers throughout this process because there were some very good ones in this draft,” Lynch said. “Ultimately we came to the decision that McGlinchey was the guy we wanted at our spot. Mike was the guy at nine.”
Even McGlinchey was caught off guard. After being picked, he told reporters that he hadn’t spoken with the 49ers since a formal interview at the scouting combine. Their first interaction since the combine came when Lynch, Shanahan and owner Jed York got on the phone to speak with their newest rookie.
“I had no idea,” McGlinchey said. “It’s definitely a shock but absolutely thrilled to be a part of the San Francisco 49ers organization. My family and I couldn’t be happier.”
The 6-foot-8, 309-pound McGlinchey played both tackle positions with the Irish before settling in at left tackle as a junior. He was projected to be one of the top left tackles in 2017 but he returned to Notre Dame and improved his stock.
With the 49ers, McGlinchey is expected to push Trent Brown and Garry Gilliam for the starting right tackle job. Brown, a seventh-round pick in 2015, has had an up-and-down career with San Francisco and suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder last November.
Brown is expected to be healthy in time for training camp, leaving McGlinchey and Gilliam to handle the reps at right tackle until then.
“No matter where they put me or see fit, that’s what I’m going to do and give my best effort,” McGlinchey said. “I feel like I’ve mastered both sides and I’m ready to go at either one.”
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