Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Samson Ebukam wishes he started NFL career with 49ers, expects ‘big things’ from Drake Jackson

Aug 1, 2022 at 2:09 PM--

Samson Ebukam is entering his second season with the San Francisco 49ers after spending his first four with the Los Angeles Rams. The 27-year-old pass rusher racked up 4.5 sacks last season, recording 3.5 in his final five regular-season games. In the playoffs, he also reached opposing quarterbacks three times (0.5 vs. DAL, 1.0 vs. GB, and 0.5 vs. LAR). Ebukam believes he improved as the season progressed because he slowly became more comfortable transitioning back to his natural position of defensive end after years of being misused.

The 2021 season was his third consecutive with 4.5 regular-season sacks. So what are the defender's goals for the upcoming season?

"Definitely getting more than that," Ebukam admitted to reporters after Monday's practice. "I know that for a fact this season. I've got a goal in mind, but I can't share it with you all until I actually make it."

The 49ers were a miscue or two away from their second Super Bowl appearance in three years. Ebukam admits that the team has lofty aspirations as it heads into the 2022 season.

"We've already discussed it," Ebukam shared. "We know [the Super Bowl] is the goal. Now we just have to stack days and keep working for it."

Despite starting his NFL career with a talented Rams organization, after being with San Francisco for a season, Ebukam wishes his career started with the 49ers.

"I threw college out the window and went from D-end to outside linebacker, and I started playing that," Ebukam explained. "With the Rams back then, yeah, it was still a championship team. But then I came here, and I had to switch back. Once I switched back, it just took a while to get used to it. I'm sitting here, and I'm just, 'Man, I love [it].' Especially the energy that I get in this building; it's crazy.

"Every time I come here, it doesn't feel like work, and because of that, I'm able to learn so much more because I'm having fun with it. I'm just out here with the bros, just playing football, like some high school. And with the team that we've got, we definitely got an [opportunity] to get to that championship, and that's what we want."

Ebukam added: "I played my whole college career as a defensive end. So if I came here and was playing defensive end as a rookie, it would have been a different story. I wouldn't be sitting at four-and-a-half sacks."

What is it specifically about the 49ers that benefits edge rushers?

"It's just playing fast," Ebukam responded. "We don't have to think. We don't have to sit there and just take on blocks. We just go and disrupt, and then people behind us clean up."

One defensive lineman who is benefitting from starting his career with the 49ers is rookie Drake Jackson, the team's second-round pick. Ebukam took time to praise his defensive teammate.

"He's a perfect fit for this team," Ebukam said. "Every time that he makes a move, we're just like, 'Man, that dude, he can bend. He can do it all.' I'm excited for what's to come for him because he hit a couple of moves today [in practice] where I was just like, 'Damn, bro, you've got some good hips.' He's like a sponge. He just soaks up everything. ... And he doesn't complain. He just gets to it, and I love that. ... You're going to see some big things from him."

Ebukam wasn't the only one to praise Jackson. Veteran tackle Trent Williams went against the rookie a bit during Monday's practice.

"I think he's a guy with a bright, bright future," Williams said. "He's super athletic, a really strong guy, got really good hips, can bend, can get around the corner. And he's seen and not heard. He goes around, handles his business the right way. He's always got his book in his hand, or he's always doing a little extra. I notice him, and I think he's going to be an outstanding player, especially like having a coach like [defensive line coach Kris] Kocurek, and learning from a guy like Nick [Bosa], [Arik] Armstead, all those guys."

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