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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

10 impactful undrafted free agent signings for the 49ers over the past five seasons

May 7, 2022 at 3:54 PM--

Undrafted free agents play an integral role these days for every NFL team, with the San Francisco 49ers certainly being among the teams to have gotten some significant contributions from the undrafted players they've discovered over the past few years.

The 49ers haven't hit on all their draft picks during the Lynch-Shanahan era at a level they would have liked, but their undrafted free agent signings have played a large enough role to help make their roster one of the most talented in the NFL. Here's a look at ten undrafted players the 49ers signed and developed during the Lynch-Shanahan era who went on to make a mark on Sundays.

10. RB JaMycal Hasty (2020, Baylor) - Hasty has helped on offense and on special teams over the past two seasons. He appeared in eight games as a rookie, rushing for 148 yards and one touchdown on 39 carries, while adding 16 rushes for 68 yards and a touchdown in 2021. Hasty has contributed in the return game with 12 kick returns for 202 yards (16.8 average) while playing a total of 177 snaps on special teams in two seasons.

9. LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (2019, Arizona) - The 49ers converted Flannigan-Fowles from college safety to linebacker -- a move that is proving to be a successful. After a stint on the practice squad in 2019 followed by what was primarily a special teams role in 2020, Flannigan-Fowles saw his defensive snaps rise in 2021 and was on the field for all 17 games, totaling 29 tackles overall. He seems set for a similar role in 2022.

8. DL Kevin Givens (2019, Penn State) - Givens was singled out by some analysts as a possible steal for the 49ers when he went undrafted. He's since proven to at least have the ability to stick around in the NFL. After appearing in one game in 2019, Givens went on to become part of the defensive line rotation in 2020 and 2021, playing a total of 626 snaps in 26 games while totaling 33 tackles and one sack. Givens heads into 2022 likely to once again be in the thick of things in the middle of the defensive line.

7. TE Ross Dwelley (2018, San Diego) - Dwelley is entering into his fifth season as a backup option at tight end. He's fought off competition to remain on the roster and has appeared in 60 games with 17 starts over his first four seasons and has 40 catches for 401 yards and four touchdowns. Dwelley has had some good moments with the 49ers and is set to carry on for at least another season.

6. LB Azeez Al-Shaair (2019, Florida Atlantic) - Al-Shaair is certainly trending upward after a quality showing last season. A torn ACL helped knock him out of the draft in 2019, then after splitting time between defense and special teams over his first two seasons, Al-Shaair stepped up in place of injured linebacker Dre Greenlaw in 2021 by starting 13 games and racking up 102 tackles, one interception, and two sacks. It'll be fun to see Al-Shaair and Greenlaw in action this season with both of them healthy, and it'll also be interesting to see what the 49ers decide to do in the long-term with each of them due for free agency in 2023. It wouldn't be a surprise if Al-Shaair goes on to have as good of a career as any of the players on this list.

5. Jeff Wilson (2018, North Texas) - Wilson hasn't always been healthy, but he's proven to be a capable and potent back for the 49ers when he's been on the field. Wilson has 1,265 yards and 13 touchdowns in four seasons with 35 catches for 296 yards and four receiving touchdowns. He'll be part of a crowded backfield this season that for the moment includes Hasty, Elijah Mitchell, Trey Sermon, and third-round pick Tyrion Davis-Price.

4. QB Nick Mullens (2017, Southern Miss) - The 49ers didn't win enough games with Mullens behind center, but his story was fun to watch unfold nonetheless. Mullens had one of the more memorable debuts in recent 49ers history when he went from being an unknown who got his shot while Jimmy Garoppolo and C.J. Beathard were dealing with injuries to being the team's starter for the remainder of the season after throwing for 262 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-3 win over the Raiders on November 1, 2018. Mullens started 16 total games for the 49ers but won just five of them, and he and the 49ers parted ways after the 2020 season.

Mullens played one game with the Cleveland Browns in 2021, during which he was given an unexpected start while quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum were out with COVID-19. Mullens almost pulled off an improbable prime-time win over the Raiders in that game, but the Raiders came out on top 16-14 after a late field goal. The Raiders went on to sign Mullens to a free agent deal in March of 2022.

3. RB Matt Breida (2017, Georgia Southern) - Breida definitely made an impact for the 49ers in his three seasons with the team, rushing for 1,902 yards on 381 carries (5.0 average) and seven touchdowns with 67 catches for 561 yards and four receiving touchdowns. His most productive season came in 2018 when he ran for 814 yards on 153 carries (5.3 average) with three touchdowns in 14 games. But with a stacked backfield that included Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon, Wilson, and Hasty, the 49ers traded Breida to the Dolphins during the 2020 NFL Draft for a fifth-round pick that was used on offensive lineman Colton McKivitz. Breida ran for just 254 yards on 59 carries with the Dolphins before moving on to the Buffalo Bills in 2021, during which he ran for 125 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries. Breida is now with the New York Giants.

2. Kendrick Bourne (2017, Eastern Washington) - Bourne has had the most overall NFL success and production of any of the recent 49ers undrafted free agents, even if some of that production happened elsewhere. Bourne played in 58 games for the 49ers while solidifying a key role among the receiving corps that saw him produce 137 catches for 1,769 yards and 11 touchdowns. Bourne was lured away from the 49ers in 2021 by a three-year, $15 million deal from the New England Patriots, which he responded to by catching 55 passes for 800 yards and five touchdowns.

1. Emmanuel Moseley (2018, Tennessee) - After an injury limited him to just three snaps as a rookie, Moseley became a key contributor on the 49ers' defense, starting 28 of his next 39 games with 140 tackles and three interceptions. His success turned into a nice payday when the 49ers gave him a two-year, $10.1 million contract in 2021. Injuries continued to pop up on occasion from 2019 to 2021, but Moseley has proven to be a find overall. He likely still has a long career ahead of him in the NFL.


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