Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Why 49ers rookie C Dohnovan West might’ve gone undrafted

Rohan Chakravarthi
May 12, 2022 at 4:51 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers were considered by many as one of the winners of the undrafted free agent process, signing centers Dohnovan West and Jason Poe alongside a slew of potential contributors to round out their 90-man roster.

West, a prospect many in the media believed would be drafted in the mid to late rounds, did not end up hearing his name called, making him one of the most sought-after undrafted free agents of the class. He quickly signed with the 49ers, who reportedly gave him $100,000 in guaranteed money with a $10,000 signing bonus.

Why did West go undrafted?

Speaking to the media for the first time as a 49er, West dove into the offseason surgery he underwent to repair a torn ligament in his thumb, an injury he sustained during his freshman season.

"[The thumb injury] happened sometime within my freshman season. I had a thumb injury [which] ended up being [a ligament tear]. I wasn't really knowledgeable of that extreme until [this past season], but I continued to play through it since my freshman year."

West eventually elected for surgery, missing Arizona State's bowl game as a result, but is back to full strength now.

"[The thumb is] good to go. I've been doing everything since my procedure."

While West alluded to the depth of the class at the center position as a potential reason for his drop in the draft, the thumb surgery could've been an added factor.

Regardless, West is ready to make the most of his opportunity with the 49ers, and looks forward to battling for a roster spot as an undrafted free agent.

"I had talked to the coaches leading up to the draft and whatnot. I knew there was some interest there, but we didn't exactly know how anything was going to pan out. And the way everything fell into place, I'm here at this great organization and I'm ready to go to work."

While he does not know about the veteran's plans, the rookie center would love the opportunity to learn from Alex Mack, who's been a respected veteran for years.

"Watching [Alex Mack] go through this offense. He's an athletic guy also [so] seeing his technique and his playstyle would be good to learn from."

Given the similarities in players, West believes that Mack's tutelage would be a benefit to his career, but for now, he's looking forward to competing with his versatility.

"If he is going to come back, he'd be a good guy to learn from and he could help me jumpstart my career."

West and the other 49er rookies will report to rookie minicamp on Friday for their first NFL action. The 49ers host their rookie minicamp from May 13-15, before continuing with organized team activities (OTAs) on May 23.
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