Many believe that the connection between Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch begins with Lynch, a Hall of Fame safety, having played for Shanahan’s father in Denver. However, the 49ers general manager believes their team-building philosophy actually started with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While there was no overlap between Lynch’s time playing for Tampa Bay and the 49ers head coach’s time as a quality control coach there, time with the Buccaneers helped shape how the two would create San Francisco’s roster when he took charge in 2017.

“In Tampa, clearly, things started at the front,” Lynch explained during the 49ers franchise status an event. “That was really the philosophy, and it’s easy to have that philosophy when you have guys like Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice. It helped us win a Super Bowl, and so that’s something I I always believed.”

The 49ers have drafted at least one defensive lineman in five of the six drafts Lynch and Shanahan have led. They’ve used their first pick on a defensive lineman in four of those drafts.

“And I think in the days of football it’s expected that the attack will be so successful,” admitted Lynch. “I really believe that’s the great equalizer to have a dominant defensive line. It’s the only thing you can dictate from, and Kyle has the same philosophy. So we kept adding to it. We We’ve had some great bits when we’ve continued to add more every year, and it’s served us well.

The 49ers used their first pick this year, a second-round pick, on defensive end Drake Jackson. He’s a player they hope can one day serve as a long-term anchor against phenom Nick Bosa.

“Drake was great, just got him in,” Shanahan said. “OTAs are always different. We don’t do as many O-lines, D-lines and such, so you don’t see as many of these guys as you would like. But when he came in he was exactly as advertised I mean, the movement, what it can do.

“I like to joke that we like to stock D-line players here, and we’ll just worry about offensive plays and everything else later. Like, ‘Are you sure we need our 18th player from line D?’ But if they’re that good, yes you are, nothing else matters.

“When you’re sitting there [at] choose 61, the chances are very low. You don’t see a lot of guys jumping off the screen that don’t make it into the top 20 picks. … The first time we watched Drake, he was like the 10th D-line we watched because we were coming out of their projection [of] where they could go. But his tape was better than the nine we saw before him.”

Shanahan adds that he sees Jackson’s ability to be one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL.