A good chunk of the linebackers the 49ers may have been interested in this NFL Draft saw their stock values rise at the NFL Scouting Combine.
But there is a sleeper pick here in Round 3, Florida’s Vosean Joseph, who would be worth the look to pair with the Niners’ own third-round selection from a year ago, linebacker Fred Warner.
Warner is essentially the only player essentially guaranteed a starting spot at the position entering 2019. Both the strong-side (SAM) and weak-side (WILL) spots are up for grabs.
Here is where Joseph comes into play.
At 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, Joseph is awfully explosive and showcases some excellent coverage techniques, not unlike Warner. But it is what The Draft Network’s Trevor Sikkema had to say about Joseph that should be intriguing:
"Joseph is an interesting case for this linebacker class because he’s likely one of the best smaller linebacker the draft will have to offer. Bigger bodies can give him trouble, at times, just due to the nature of bigger is better — see his tape versus Kentucky RB Benny Snell. But, even with bigger assignment, he’s never too overwhelmed. It may appear as though Joseph runs like a mad man, but his tape, as a whole, suggests that he is in control, he just does his job with energy, effort, eye discipline and impact. As long as he can get the concept of coverages down at the next level, Joseph could be a nice starter in the NFL."
Joseph is a bit undersized, yes. But putting him at the WILL spot, formerly occupied by Reuben Foster, would give a team like the 49ers a serious upgrade.