San Francisco 49ers: 5 rookies who’ll impress most in 2020 training camp

Running back JaMycal Hasty #6 of the Baylor Bears (Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images)
Running back JaMycal Hasty #6 of the Baylor Bears (Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images) /
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Jared Mayden, Alabama Crimson Tide
Jared Mayden #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

49ers Safety Jared Mayden, Undrafted

This is the guy I am most curious, and dare I say, excited about.

Defensive back Jared Mayden had to wait until his senior year at Alabama to see significant playing time. As a senior in 2019, he played in 11 games, recorded 59 tackles, four interceptions, and added three pass breakups. He is one of the guys we will look back and pinpoint this global pandemic as a reason why he was not drafted. He was not invited to the NFL Combine, which was a surprise to some.

He had hoped to answer any questions about his talent at the Alabama pro day, which was canceled. 247sports reported in an interview with Mayden his goal was to run a 4.36 40-yard time on that day, and was obviously disappointed when he did not get the opportunity. There aren’t many undrafted free agents who can run that fast, and he could prove to be an absolute steal for the 49ers if he can show that type of speed in camp.

Mayden played four years for arguably college football’s most elite program for arguably the greatest college football coach of all time in Alabama head coach Nick Saban. It is true he only saw significant time in his final year, but I love that he chose to stick it out, work hard, get better and make the most of his opportunity when his time came.

And that much time in a Saban-led program is going to pay dividends for a hard-working individual.

Mayden will have a hard time seeing a lot of snaps at the safety position this year. Safeties Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward seem to have the position locked down, with Marcell Harris seeing meaningful snaps in 2019 as well. But if Mayden has a strong camp where he picks up the defense and can earn a spot on special teams, the Niners may turn to down the road when they have to make a decision about Tartt’s unrestricted free agency in 2021.