Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

5 things to know about new 49ers edge rusher Samson Ebukam

Mar 15, 2021 at 3:04 PM--

So who exactly is Samson Ebukam?

This is the question quite a few San Francisco 49ers fans are asking today after the team reportedly came to terms with the soon-to-be-former Los Angeles Rams edge rusher on a two-year contract. And while we're admittedly not the world's foremost experts on Samson Ebukam, we do know enough to give fans an introduction to the newest 49er.

Ebukam (6-3, 245) comes to the 49ers after spending the first four seasons of his NFL career with the Los Angeles Rams after being selected in Round 4 of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Eastern Washington, where he posted 24 career sacks and was a third-team Associated Press All-American as a senior. Now that he's part of the red and gold, here are five facts to help fans familiarize themselves with Ebukam and what made him an attractive free agent option to the 49ers.

1. He's durable - Ebukam (pronounced "eh-BOO-com) hasn't missed a single game in his NFL career, playing in 64 regular-season games and six playoff games. There's little doubt this was appealing to the 49ers, whose pass rush was decimated due to injury in 2020. Assuming he stays healthy down the line, Ebukam will give the 49ers some reliable depth while Nick Bosa recovers from a torn ACL and Dee Ford continues to deal with a season-ending back injury.

2. He's an athlete - According to, Ebukam shined during his Pro Day, clocking 4.50 seconds in the 40-yard dash while adding a 39-inch vertical leap, a 130-inch broad jump, a 4.34-second 20-yard shuttle, and a 7.07-second in the three-cone drill. He was also a track standout at David Douglas High School in Portland, Oregon, placing second in the state in the javelin throw (205-6) and in the shot put (55-2 1/2).

3. He made a huge primetime splash in 2018. But since then... - Ebukam had a career performance in the memorable 2018 Monday night barnburner between the Rams and Kansas City Chiefs that was won by the Rams by the score of 54-51. He finished the night with three tackles, one sack, one tackle-for-loss, one pass defensed, two quarterback hits, one fumble recovery for a touchdown, and one interception returned for a touchdown.

Ebukam looked like a budding superstar in that game. But his career has been inconsistent to this point, and since 2018, he's seen his defensive snaps fall considerably. Ebukam had 14 of his 35 career starts in 2018 and played 69 percent of the Rams' defensive snaps throughout that season. He had five starts in 2019 while seeing his snaps fall to 51 percent, then was back in the starting lineup in 2020 for 14 games but played on only 36 percent of the defensive snaps. He played on 51 percent of the Rams' special teams snaps in 2020 after playing on 52 percent as a rookie, 27 percent in 2018, and 34 percent in 2019.

4. He's still young - Ebukam is set to turn 26 on May 9. It's likely the 49ers see some still-untapped potential to work with here.

"The type of kid he is, he will will himself to improve," former Rams linebackers coach and current Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry said in 2019, per "I envision Samson in Year 8 still wanting to learn, to get better. It's just the way he's wired."

So far, Ebukam has registered 14.0 career sacks, 150 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, and 28 quarterback hits. The Rams sent him on 165 blitzes over the last four seasons, and he totaled 29 hurries and 54 pressures. In pass coverage, Ebukam was targeted a total of 24 times in 2018 and 2019 and gave up 15 completions.

5. He's come a long way - Born Nnamaka Samson Ebukam in Onitsha, Nigeria, Ebukam, who is the youngest of seven siblings, moved from Nigeria to Beaverton, Oregon at age nine. Ebukam was a soccer player at first, but eventually he adjusted to three new sports -- basketball, track and field, and American football. "I didn't even know what basketball was," Ebukam said in 2019, per "I didn't know what football was. I knew about track and field, but that was just called running."

Fortunately, with the encouragement of his high school coach, Ebukam stuck with football and became a success story. He'll get his chance with the 49ers to show the best is yet to come.

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