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How Isaac Yiadom quickly impressed the 49ers

Jun 6, 2024 at 11:16 AM

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In March, the San Francisco 49ers signed Isaac Yiadom to a one-year deal, betting on a cornerback who had impressed them during his time with the New Orleans Saints. Last season was clearly Yiadom's best. His 81.1 overall grade and 80.4 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus were career highs. Opposing quarterbacks completed 50 percent of their passes (22 of 44) and had an 84.4 passer rating when targeting him in 2023.

Yiadom made such a strong impression that Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle reported the 49ers viewed him as the "leading candidate to start opposite All-Pro cornerback Charvarius Ward."

This week, defensive coordinator Nick Sorensen revealed that Yiadom made a fantastic first impression.

"I think, with Ike, he came into the league, and he kind of bounced around for a while," Sorensen said. "But everything we had heard about him and you see is what he's been when he got here. He's kind of self-made. He works. He's very serious. I think when he came to sign, he actually went and got a workout after he signed. I've never seen that, but that's him.

"I think that's what's kind of shown up with who he is, and he's very meticulous. And the stuff that showed up later in the year with him, and how he competed against a lot of really good receivers, I think it's been awesome that we're seeing that now, too."

With Ward sidelined as he works his way back from offseason core muscle surgery, Yiadom has received some reps with the first-team defense. If the 49ers have landed a cornerback who can significantly contribute to their Super Bowl run, and at a minimal salary, it would be a significant boost to a pass defense that ranked 14th in the NFL last season.

Yiadom finished last season with 37 tackles, one interception, 14 passes defensed, and a fumble recovery in 17 game appearances (eight starts) while playing 47 percent of the defensive snaps. He also contributed on special teams, playing 57 percent of the unit's snaps.

"He's very technical. He's very strong," Sorensen continued. "I think he's a guy that's also—like we talk about Mooney (Charvarius Ward) being strong and a tackler—he's got that in his history as well. He's a tough guy. He's physical. He plays with his hands. He's violent. He communicates. He sees things before they happen, and that stuff has shown up."
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