After the NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers came away with 12 collegiate athletes to add to their squad. Within the last few weeks, the 49ers’ front office was able to sign each and every one of them to multi-year deals.
Unfortunately, this does not make them a lock to make the final roster, and this article will take a look at which players fit the 49ers’ scheme best and will have the best chance to make the 53-man roster right before the regular season begins.
There are high profile players such as first round pick Jimmie Ward and second round pick Carlos Hyde who are obvious locks to make the team, so this article will target players that have not gotten a lot of hype, but will be impact players for the 49ers.
A proven player at the University of Wisconsin, Borland had “future 49er” written all over him. This kid was a tackling machine during his college days and has a love for contact. His tape from his three years as a starter portrayed his rare football instincts that you cannot coach that could make him very valuable to the 49ers this upcoming season, particularly with the gruesome injury to NaVorro Bowman that took place during last season’s NFC Championship loss to the Seahawks.
Although it is near impossible to fill Bowman’s shoes on the field, I can see Borland making a huge impact as a rookie filling in for Bowman to start the season so the team does not feel the need to rush the All-Pro linebacker back into the starting lineup and risk injuring their defensive star unnecessarily. And, you know, playing alongside a future Hall of Famer in Patrick Willis can usually be pretty beneficial to a rookie as well.
An undrafted rookie free agent out of Stanford, Skov has been one of my favorite college athletes to watch over the last few years.
Of course, the first thing most people think of when they hear that Skov is on the 49ers is the obvious Stanford connection between him and Harbaugh. This is a good indication that Skov will have a learning curve over the other rookies while learning the 49ers’ defense and the similar aspects of how Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio used to run their defense together at Stanford. But Skov could also become very vital to the 49ers due to his versatility at the linebacker position.
We already brought up the injury to Bowman, but the Aldon Smith legal troubles still linger as well. If Smith does not end up doing some jail time, the league is sure to issue a suspension to Smith after his constant offseason arrests. Skov is such a dynamic player that he could add depth to the inside linebacker position in relief of Bowman’s injury, or he could slide over to Smith’s spot at outside linebacker and excel there too.
Picked by San Francisco in the final round of the draft, this fullback epitomizes what it means to be on a Jim Harbaugh coached football team. Hard-nosed, smart and willing to do anything necessary to help the team, Millard will be a great fit in the 49ers system.
While NFL teams seldom use a fullback anymore, the 49ers love putting as many big bodies in for the running game as they can. Bruce Miller, the 49er’s starting fullback last year, ended up needing season-ending surgery near the end of the regular season, which was a huge blow to the organization who was prepping for their playoff run. When Miller was forced out of the starting lineup, it obviously hurt the 49ers production in the running game, so adding depth to one of their most important offensive positions is key for San Francisco.
Oh, and Bruce Miller was picked in the 7th round as well a few years back. I’d say he turned out alright, so don’t overlook Millard as a key cog to the Super Bowl hopeful offense just because he was picked late.
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