49ers roster: 5 players most likely to have a breakout season in 2021

Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Samson Ebukam, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Samson Ebukam (56) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers Breakout Candidate No. 4: EDGE Samson Ebukam

With Dee Ford’s immediate future in the wake of last season’s back injury unclear, it made more than enough sense for the Niners to ink former Los Angeles Rams EDGE Samson Ebukam as a free agent this offseason.

True, Ebukam was more of a situational pass-rusher over his four years in Los Angeles, but Ford’s injury questions open up the door for the former to assume a much larger role in San Francisco.

Like Ford, Ebukam has speed to burn, and he’ll have his opportunities as a legitimate speed rusher, doubling on either the weak or strong ends of the formation depending on his opposing offensive line’s alignment. And while that speed only netted Ebukam 4.5 sacks in each of his last two seasons, one might see just how that number could increase now that he’s with the 49ers.

Nick Bosa’s return from his ACL tear, combined with the hopeful second-year maturation of Javon Kinlaw, effectively makes Ebukam a favorite to see many more one-on-one matchups. Additionally, the Niners’ wide-9 alignment should allow Ebukam to use his speed much more to his advantage than what he was experiencing with the Rams.

Most importantly, however, Ebukam has a clean slate of health, never having missed a game over his four-year career.

Should he be able to take advantage of his new situation, Ebukam might get himself into the range of boasting eight or nine sacks in 2021.