Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


“You’ve got to get that guy!”: Nick Bosa pushed for 49ers to acquire this rookie

May 13, 2021 at 2:35 PM--


The San Francisco 49ers officially announced the signings of five undrafted rookies. Four had already been reported on May 1. The other, offensive lineman Alfredo Gutierrez, was assigned to the 49ers as part of the NFL's International Player Pathway program, which had also already been reported.

San Francisco didn't draft a linebacker this year. In the sixth round, the team considered doing so but opted to select running back Elijah Mitchell out of Louisiana. Even DeMeco Ryans, the team's defensive coordinator, advised the team to draft Mitchell over a linebacker.

"Well, you should take this guy. He's pretty good," Ryans said, referring to Mitchell, according to assistant general manager Adam Peters.

RELATED 49ers officially announce signings of five undrafted free agents

Two linebackers are part of the 49ers' undrafted free agent class. One is Elijah Sullivan of Kansas State. The other is Justin Hilliard of Ohio State. The latter had one of San Francisco's young defensive stars, a former Buckeyes teammate, campaigning for him.

"When we were interviewing (Hilliard) at the Senior Bowl, I took a photo and sent it to Bosa," Peters told Matt Barrows of The Athletic, "and Bosa (responds), 'You've got to get that guy!' And we were able to do that."

Bosa and Hilliard were college teammates for three seasons (2016-18), so there is a good deal of familiarity.

Hilliard appeared in 50 games with seven starts during his six years with the Buckeyes. He registered 84 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, three fumble recoveries, two interceptions, and a forced fumbles, according to information provided by the 49ers.

In 2020, Hilliard appeared in six games with four starts. He racked up 33 tackles, five tackles for a loss, three fumble recoveries, a forced fumble, and an interception after being granted a sixth year of eligibility.





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