It was a bit strange to see Notre Dame linebacker Te’Von Coney fall all the way into Round 5, where the 49ers don’t have their own pick, but land one from Denver. Maybe Coney’s draft stock is falling a bit, but that still doesn’t negate San Francisco’s need to address this position.
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Why? Well, the Niners essentially have one linebacker poised to be a starter in 2019, Fred Warner at MIKE. Veteran linebacker Malcolm Smith could be an offseason cap casualty, while exclusive-rights free-agent backer Elijah Lee is probably best suited for both special teams and reserve duties.
The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Coney amassed an astounding 239 combined tackles the last two seasons for the Fighting Irish.
This suggests he’s around the ball a lot — he is — yet there are plenty of concerns about his coverage abilities. He’s more of a run-stopping linebacker, which could be another reason his stock appears to be falling.
That said, the 49ers already have a pass-coverage linebacker in Warner. Putting Coney at a weak-side (WILL) spot wouldn’t be the worst of moves, given how many teams prefer to run behind left tackles on this side of the field.