2021 NFL Draft: 5 injury-risk players 49ers should avoid
By Peter Panacy
The 49ers don’t want to go down the 2020 road where injuries decimated the team, and steering clear of these NFL Draft injury risks would be wise.
No team dealt with more injuries in 2020 than the San Francisco 49ers.
And that’s not just hyperbole.
According to Football Outsiders‘ adjusted-games lost metric, which accounts not only for full games missed but also for absences in the middle of games, the Niners had an AGL mark of 166.6. Not only was that the worst in the league, but the next closest team in the rankings, the New England Patriots, were nearly 32 AGL points lower in the standings.
It was the widest gap between any team’s AGL rankings in the entire league.
So it’s no surprise general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters they’d revamp their rostering process to guard against further injuries while taking into account individual players’ injury histories when constructing the roster.
And when it comes to the 2021 NFL Draft, one can all but assume Lynch and Shanahan are going to take into consideration which players are significant injury risks.
With that as a backdrop, San Francisco would be wise to avoid these five injury-risk prospects during the draft.
No. 5: Defensive Back Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida State
On the surface, Florida State defensive back Hamsah Nasirildeen is an enticing player the 49ers should be considering to add to their defensive backfield.
At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Nasirildeen has the physique to be a quality strong safety or big-nickel defensive back, potentially emerging as a long-term replacement for the incumbent, Jaquiski Tartt, or an upgrade over backup safety Tarvarius Moore. Nasirildeen’s size alone makes him a good cover option against opposing tight ends, and he’d be a mismatch against most wide receivers and running backs, too.
Being a regular team leader in tackles also points to his abilities being around the ball, too.
Yet the problem for this mid-round prospect is Nasirildeen’s 2019 ACL tear late in the season, which ultimately forced him to miss all but two games last year. The lengthy recovery period, which lasted nearly 12 months, makes his ACL tear a bit more concerning than others, and that could ultimately cut into his ability to acclimate to life at the NFL level.
While the Niners have a need here, the gamble on a player coming off a serious knee injury probably isn’t a risk Lynch and Co. should be willing to take.