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49ers make Georgia EDGE Robert Beal Jr. a 5th-round draft pick

Apr 29, 2023 at 12:24 PM


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The San Francisco 49ers selected Georgia edge defender Robert Beal Jr. with the 38th pick (No. 173 overall) in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Beal registered 25 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, and a forced fumble through 15 game appearances as a senior in 2022, per Sports Reference. He recorded 72 tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, two passes defensed, and two forced fumbles through his five collegiate seasons.

"Beal has been missed out on snaps to more talented players and doesn't have a history of production that will excite teams, but his size, length and athletic ability are all moldable elements that could attract a team on Day 3," Lance Zierlein wrote within the player's NFL.com scouting report. "He lacks awareness as a run defender and possesses just average range as a tackler, but he can hold his ground against power. As a rusher, the tape can be a little uneven, but he flashes moves and counters that appear to be instinctive and potential fuel for development. Beal is a developmental edge defender who needs to prove himself on special teams while he continues learning the position."

Beal is from Duluth, GA. He earned a pre-draft grade of 5.87 from NFL.com, which equates to an "average backup or special-teams player," per the site's 8-point grading scale.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, the 6' 3 3/4" and 247-pound Beal had a 40-time of 4.48 seconds, a vertical jump of 30 inches, and a broad jump of 123 inches. His other measurables include an arm length of 34 5/8 inches and hands measuring 10 1/8 inches.

NFL.com projected Beal to be a seventh-round draft pick.

Below is the NFL.com draft profile bio on Beal:

The five-star recruit stayed in Georgia for college after his standout senior season at Peachtree Ridge High School, but it took him four years to break into the Bulldogs' deep defensive rotation. He played in 11 games as a freshman in 2018 (15 tackles, one sack) but just six in 2019 (eight tackles) and seven contests in 2020 (no statistics) as a reserve. Beal finally received his opportunity to play consistently in 2021 and wound up leading the national champions with 6.5 sacks among 23 total tackles and two pass breakups in 15 games (two starts). He then helped the Bulldogs repeat as an eight-game starter with 26 tackles and three sacks in 15 appearances. -- by Chad Reuter

Damian Parson of The Draft Network wrote the following about Beal within his scouting report:

Robert Beal Jr. is a defensive end/outside linebacker for the Georgia Bulldogs. He was a highly-regarded and recruited high school prospect—a former 5-star recruit and a top-10-ranked defensive end. It took a few seasons for Beal to receive a significant amount of snaps, but he's been a constant part of the Bulldogs' rotation since 2021.

Beal's arm length and reach stand out immediately when watching the tape. When used properly, Beal can assume leverage control during his one-on-one battles. Combined with his hand placement, his bull rush is effective. Beal transitions from speed to power well to stress the OL's balance and ability to anchor. He uses the length and hand power to soften rush angles outside and inside. His power creates an effective push/pull technique to overtake OL when their feet have died in the rep.

Beal plays with a hot motor that does not stop his pursuit of the football until the play is over. His athleticism and burst help contain and chase down mobile quarterbacks. He works as the read defender in the zone-read game and uses the halfway leverage to play the mesh point honestly. As a run defender, he can hold his ground and shed once he located the football. He meets pulling and lead blockers with physicality to stop the RBs momentum.

Beal has the frame, length, and traits, but his sack production has not quite lived up to expectations. His pad level can be a little high and negatively affect his leveraging. His pass-rush arsenal is not overly diverse at this stage of his career. Beal lacks consistency with his hand counters in pass rush sequences outside of speed to power. Beal's instincts and play-diagnosing skills are not advanced. He can be a step late on plays which sometimes lessens his effectiveness. Despite his overall power and strength, Beal does not consistently trigger from stacking blocks and shedding when the ball is run in his direction. He does not rush with a plan to defeat blockers from snap to snap.

Beal projects best as a 3-4 outside linebacker/edge defender. He is underdeveloped as a pure pass rusher. He has never received the bulk of the snaps to assist or accelerate his development. Instead, he's been mostly a rotational piece. He can stand up or play with his hand in the dirt. He could operate in a rotational role with tools to become a more prevalent option for a defense.

Top Reasons to Buy In:

Top Reasons For Concern:

Measurables


Height: 6' 3 3/4"
Weight: 247 lbs.
Arm length: 34 5/8 inches
Hand length: 10 1/8 inches

NFL Scouting Combine


40-time: 4.48 seconds
Vertical: 30 inches
Broad jump: 123 inches

College Statistics
Year School Class G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk
2018 Georgia FR 7 7 8 15 1 1
2019 Georgia SO 3 1 7 8 0.5 0
2020 Georgia JR -- -- -- -- --
2021 Georgia SR 12 12 12 24 7.5 6.5
2022 Georgia SR 15 16 9 25 2.5 2.5
Total Georgia 36 36 72 11.5 10


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