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Why ESPN views 49ers as a perfect fit for Malik Mustapha

May 10, 2024 at 7:51 AM

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ESPN's Matt Bowen recently analyzed 16 rookies from the 2024 NFL Draft whom he believes landed in perfect scenarios. Bowen considered traits, scheme, playcalling tendencies, and coaching in his assessment. One player from the San Francisco 49ers' recent draft class made the cut.

The Niners selected safety Malik Mustapha out of Wake Forest in the fourth round with the 124th overall pick. The pairing of Mustapha with the Bay Area team, known for its physical defense, has Bowen intrigued.

"Mustapha will compete for playing time in the 49ers' secondary," Bowen stated, "where he'll fit as an instinctual split-field safety with an urgent play demeanor that shows up at multiple levels of the field. Mustapha is an absolute rocket to the ball as an alley runner, and he's a strong tackler at the point of attack."

The 49ers are on their third defensive coordinator in as many years, with Nick Sorenson taking over for Steve Wilks, who lasted just one season following the departure of DeMeco Ryans. While Wilks tried to adapt to the 49ers' defensive style, Sorenson is very familiar with the system.

"Under new San Francisco defensive coordinator Nick Sorenson, he has the range to work off the numbers in Cover 2 or match vertically in quarters," Bowen continued.

Mustapha tallied 80 tackles, including five for a loss, 0.5 sacks, two passes defensed, an interception, and a forced fumble through 12 games 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.

Bowen added that Mustapha possesses the skills to "start his pro career as an immediate producer on special teams coverage units."
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