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4 things to know about 49ers seventh-round pick LB Jalen Graham

Apr 29, 2023 at 6:54 PM--

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The 49ers ended their 2023 draft class on Saturday with the selection of Purdue linebacker Jalen Graham, who was chosen in Round 7 with the 255th overall pick.

Graham was the fifth defensive player selected by the 49ers and the second linebacker they selected on Day 3. Here's a quick look at some things to know about Graham as he begins his time with the 49ers.

Stats and accolades

Graham enjoyed a productive career at Purdue, starting 35 of the 36 games he played and playing as a safety/linebacker hybrid. He finished with 169 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, three interceptions, and 16 passes defensed.

Graham won All-Big TE honorable mention honors as in 2021 after posting 64 tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack and two interceptions. He followed that up with another All-Big Ten honorable mention performance in 2022, totaling 52 tackles and five tackles for loss while missing four games due to a tibia impact fracture.

Graham opted out of Purdue's Citrus Bowl matchup against LSU last season and passed up his final year of eligibility to declare for the draft.

Liked 'em both, got 'em both

The 49ers had their eye on two linebackers on Day 3 of the draft -- Graham and Dee Winters of TCU. They decided to go with Winters in Round 6. Then, when Graham was available in Round 7, they decided to bring him aboard as well.

"The reason we drafted Jalen Graham when we already had a linebacker was because we were kind of torn," general manager John Lynch said Saturday. "All right: Dee Winters (or) Jalen Graham? Ultimately, Dee Winters won out, and so when he's still there at the end, you go get Jalen Graham. We liked them both."

He'll be coming to the Bay Area bulked up

Graham has been at work on his body in recent months, putting on ten pounds according to the Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier. He now stands at 6-2, 226.

"With my weight going up, being at 226, I can still move around fluidly and move around the way they see me on tape," Graham told the Journal & Courier recently.

It remains to be seen where he'll fit in with the 49ers but he sounds ready to jump in anywhere he's needed.

"(Teams have) been asking me, how do I feel I would be used?" Graham told the Journal & Courier. "I just let them know that any type of linebacker or rover type position that they will have, I'm willing to go there and show that I can compete for the spot and be able to play."

Graham ran a 4.64 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine at a listed 220 pounds.

A high school quarterback?

Graham converted to linebacker after being a quarterback and defensive back in high school at Detroit Cass Tech. He was a decorated player in high school, winning first-team All-State honors from the Detroit News in 2018 and honorable mention All-State honors from the Associated Press.

Graham was rated as a three-star recruit by various outlets and had scholarship offers from Kentucky, Missouri, and Pittsburgh, among others, according to the Detroit Free Press.


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