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49ers make Wake Forest S Malik Mustapha a 4th-round draft pick

Apr 27, 2024 at 10:18 AM


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The San Francisco 49ers selected Wake Forest safety Malik Mustapha with the 24th pick (No. 124 overall) in the fourth round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

RELATED 5 things to know about 49ers 4th-round pick S Malik Mustapha

College Statistics:
Mustapha registered 80 tackles, including five for a loss, 0.5 sacks, two passes defensed, an interception, and a forced fumble through 12 game appearances as a senior in 2023, per Sports Reference. Throughout his collegiate career, he recorded 175 tackles, including 15 for a loss, four sacks, seven passes defensed, three interceptions, and four forced fumbles over the past three seasons.

Statistical Rundown
Year School Class G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int
2021 Wake Forest FR 13 28 9 37 2 0 2
2022 Wake Forest SO 10 32 26 58 8 3.5 --
2023 Wake Forest SR 12 45 35 80 5 0.5 1
Total Wake Forest 105 70 175 15 4 3

Lance Zierlein's NFL.com scouting report:
Two-year starting safety lacking desired height and length but carrying a compact, muscular frame for the rigors of the position. Mustapha will be in consideration as a down safety who can help support against the run and handle short and intermediate zone coverages. He's not overly instinctive, but he does play with a good burst on throws and well-timed challenges. He struggles against bigger targets and might not be the best option to handle single- or two-high safety looks. There are occasional mistakes made with aggressive downhill angles to ball-carriers, but he's generally in position and maintains tackle-ready posture when the time comes. He projects as an average backup but does possess some quality play traits.

NFL.com Draft Bio:
  • 2020-21 (Richmond): Started all 4 games of the team's spring season (17 tackles). School did not play in the fall due to COVID-19 concerns.
  • 2021: Played in 13 games with 1 start (37 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 INTs, 2 PBUs, FF).
  • 2022: Started 10 games (58 tackles, 8 TFL with 3.5 sacks, 3 PBUs, 2 FFs). Missed the final 3 regular season games due to injury.
  • 2023: Second-team All-ACC. Started all 12 games (80 tackles, 5 TFL, INT, 2 PBUs).

Pre-Draft Grade:
Mustapha earned a pre-draft grade of 6.14 from NFL.com, which equates to a "good backup with potential to develop into a starter," per the site's 8-point grading scale.

Projection:
NFL.com projected Mustapha to be a fourth-round draft pick.

NFL Scouting Combine:
At the NFL Scouting Combine, Mustapha posted 22 reps on the bench press.

Measurements:
Mustapha is 5' 10 1/8" and 209 pounds. Additionally, he boasts an arm length of 30 1/8 inches and hands measuring 9 inches.

Hometown:
Charlotte, NC

Pro Football Focus Draft Profile:
Mustapha is a throwback tone-setter over the middle of the field. His measurables and mentality are reminiscent of Bob Sanders. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the plus athletic ability — specifically, fluidity and top speed — of Sanders. He does his best work coming from a two-deep safety shell where he can keep the play in front of him and fire downhill when needed. He is an all-out blitzer, even from a deep safety spot. His shorter arms can cause problems when wrapping up tackles, but when he hits players, they feel it.

Pro Football Focus Big Board:
Mustapha ranks 148th on Pro Football Focus' big board.

Pro Football Focus Grading:
Mustapha earned an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 79.6 in 2023.

NFL Draft Buzz Summary:
Malik Mustapha's presence on the field is unmistakable, showcasing a hard-hitting, aggressive style that is tailor-made for the physical demands of the NFL. He's proven himself capable of dominating near the line of scrimmage, excelling in run support with an ability to disrupt plays before they develop. His leadership and energy elevate team performance, making him a valuable asset in the locker room and on the field. However, his transition to the NFL will require refinement in coverage skills and decision-making, as his aggressive nature sometimes leads to blown assignments and missed opportunities. Mustapha's versatility and football IQ allow him to be plugged into various defensive schemes, especially those prioritizing physicality and run support. His capability as a box safety and special teams contributor cannot be overlooked, providing immediate value. While he may not have the ideal range for a deep safety role, his instincts and play recognition can compensate to some extent. The path ahead for Mustapha is clear: focus on enhancing his coverage techniques and mitigating over-aggression. With proper coaching and scheme fit, he has the potential to evolve into a well-rounded safety who can challenge both the run and pass. All of this makes him a solid mid-round pick with the upside to outperform his draft position.

Dane Brugler's draft profile at The Athletic:
Modeling his game after Budda Baker, Mustapha delivers immediate stopping power as a tackler and does a great job balancing power and poise to stay under control as a finisher. Though he reads play development well in coverage, he lacks the twitch to stay connected in man-to-man or overlap zones. Overall, Mustapha doesn't have the tape of an instinctive ballhawk, but he is a passionate competitor with outstanding range versus the run and disciplined movements in coverage. With a skill set similar to Jordan Whitehead, he should shine on special-teams coverages in the NFL and will push for defensive snaps early in his career.

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