Injuries was the main theme of the 2020 season for the 49ers.
Every week there was a player sustaining injury. Whether it was minor or major, the 49ers certainly had one of the unluckiest seasons in NFL history in terms of injuries. It was like they setup ladders all over Levi's Stadium and purposely ran underneath all of them. As exciting as the draft was for the 49ers, all the excitement will dissipate if they do not figure out how to best reduce future injures.
"What I've learned with some of our luck here, especially last year, also in our Super Bowl and definitely our second year too, when too many of those add up it is hard to compete," said Kyle Shanahan at his post-draft presser. "I think that hit us harder than anything last year. That hit us before COVID and that's something we can't do again."
Injuries have been a common theme since Shanahan took over. He and the rest of the staff really had to look in the mirror to figure out what they need to do differently to avoid another 2020 season.
"I think the other thing is we did tangibly change some things in our grading process," said John Lynch. "Not what the doctors are telling us, but how it is delivered just to make it clearer."
The 49ers are hoping to reduce injuries with their new grading process. It isn't the sole measure of how they are looking to prevent injuries, but it is definitely the bulk of it.
"I think that was a positive step because it made it probably easier like 'we're not touching these guys' ya know?" Lynch said. "Like the ones that were really bad, so that probably cleared some things up and like I said you learn over time. We make adjustments each and every year, but you go through what we went through last year you take a harder look, and we didn't overreact to it, but I think we responded accordingly."
Drafting Trey Lance showed just how much Shanahan has changed. He isn't deadlocked into one style of quarterback, rather he just wants a unique player. The same can hopefully start to be said with the way they look at injuries. The 49ers avoided players with any sort of injury history. Their draft class has a clean track record, so that is a start.
Now they need to stop acquiring so many veteran players who have a handful of injuries on their resume. If the 49ers' new grading process pans out, the 49ers will be able to maintain their goals of long-term success.