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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Breaking down Penn State S Ji’Ayir Brown to the 49ers

Rohan Chakravarthi
Apr 28, 2023 at 8:42 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers kicked off their 2023 NFL Draft with a trade-up, moving No. 102, No. 164, and No. 222 to the Minnesota Vikings for No. 87, where they selected Penn State safety Ji'Ayir Brown.

San Francisco appeared to be eyeing safeties during the pre-draft process and pounced on Brown, who was the highest-rated defensive back on my board after Sydney Brown was selected at No. 66.

Brown didn't have the best athletic testing, running a 4.65 40-yard dash, but had a great 1.56 10-yard split, displaying his short-area quickness that is apparent on film.

However, Brown plays faster than his 40-time, and is a great fit for the 49ers, having seen experience in single-high coverages, showcasing his ability to man the backend, while also being an integral piece near the line of scrimmage who isn't afraid to hit hard at his 5'11, 203-pound frame.

Brown's coverage skills are arguably the best part about his skillset, headlined by 10 interceptions over the past two years, as he's very instinctive with his coverage abilities, and has seen time playing as a "big nickel" in addition to his safety experience.

Brown is a great fit within this 49ers defense, and could even contribute immediately in three-safety sets on base downs, where he and Talanoa Hufanga can both work near the line of scrimmage and along the backend.

Brown's potential is filling that "eraser" role on the backend as a ball-hawking safety with good coverage skills, although he does need to improve a little more as a tackler.

In regards to fit, Brown also shares extensive experience as a blitzer, accumulating 15 pressures and 4.5 sacks on 51 pass-rushing snaps in 2022, according to PFF's Jeff Deeney.

Overall, trading up for Brown provides the 49ers with a potential future starter at the position after another season of Tashaun Gipson, who can man the backend, while playing to the system's versatility and aggressiveness under Steve Wilks.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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