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Versatile Jack Colletto ready to fight for a roster spot, help 49ers win

May 12, 2023 at 8:10 AM--

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Jack Colletto didn't hear his name called during the 2023 NFL Draft. However, the former Oregon State player said he got a call from the San Francisco 49ers in the seventh round and even briefly spoke with head coach Kyle Shanahan. The team was reaching out to make their pitch. They wanted Colletto to sign with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent.

Colletto had something that San Francisco values—versatility. He played quarterback in high school and signed with Arizona Western College in 2017 to play the position at the next level before transferring to Oregon State. In 2019, Colletto was transitioning to linebacker. By 2020, he contributed all over the field, including rushing the football.

After the 2022 season, Colletto was named the Paul Hornung Award recipient, an honor given to the nation's most versatile player.

Whatever Shanahan and the 49ers told Colletto worked. He was sold and signed with the team. So what position will the versatile Colletto play at the NFL level?

"Well, it's listed as a fullback, but I can assume that we would see how things go and continue to develop and grow from there," Colletto told reporters on Thursday, as first-year players reported to Santa Clara for the 49ers' two-day rookie minicamp on Friday and Saturday.

Colletto estimates that five or six teams wanted him. They each had a different vision for how to best utilize the rookie. None of that mattered to Colletto, who just wanted to go somewhere that felt like a good fit.

"Ultimately, the 49ers are a great fit and there was discussion between other teams," Colletto explained. "That's just kind of how the cookie crumbled, really, per se. But ultimately, I knew before the draft even happened, I was like, 'Okay, this is a good organization, a good fit for me.' And that's just kind of where it ended up and got me here."

Colletto was already familiar with the 49ers offense. Like many college teams, the Beavers studied Shanahan's system. Colletto was impressed by Shanahan's play calling, and what the coach draws up for his offense. A team that puts so much stock in versatility seemed like a natural fit.

"I believe that's something that speaks to me and is something that I can go and be a part of and develop in," Colletto said.

The 49ers already have a pretty good fullback in Kyle Juszczyk, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection. However, he is entering his 11th NFL season and plays a position that takes on a lot of punishment. At some point, San Francisco will need to find a replacement for the 32-year-old.

Could Colletto be that player? Maybe. For now, he's just focused on improving and making the 49ers roster.

"I'll do whatever I can to get on a spot and help a team win," Colletto noted.

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