Biggest Potential Bust
Curiously enough, even with a need at the LEO edge pass rusher position, the 49ers neglected to address the position until Round 6. They did so in the form of Utah defensive end Pita Taumoepenu at pick No. 202.
An extremely raw prospect, Taumoepenu has only seven career starts to his name. This is where the potential of bust starts to creep in. Taumoepenu has shown glimpses to be an impact player; in 13 games last season, he had 41 total tackles (12 TFL) and 9 sacks with 3 forced fumbles. But it remains if Taumoepenu is able to sustain that kind of production on a consistent basis, as he’s never been able to.
These are some of the things to watch for in Taumoepenu, from Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller:
"Could still see time as a situational rusher. He doesn’t have the base strength to be an anchor in the run game on the defensive line. Taumoepenu has a bit of a ‘tweener body without the skill set to play linebacker right away. He cannot beat blockers with length, and he struggles to come off once he’s locked up. Taumoepenu is a developmental player who will need to dive into a special teams role while learning the game and likely transitioning to linebacker full time."
It appears that San Francisco will be using Taumoepenu as their LEO, which is just where he wants to be.
“I have a great ability to get after the quarterback,” Taumoepenu said in an interview after being drafted. “That’s what I do. I have a lot of passion for it.”
With No. 3 pick Solomon Thomas projected to play interior, it seems that Taumoepenu will be competing with Arik Armstead, who has been getting reps at LEO during the 49ers’ voluntary minicamp.