49ers roster: Wide receiver Taysir Mack needs to play the long game

Taysir Mack #11 of the Pittsburgh Panthers (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Taysir Mack #11 of the Pittsburgh Panthers (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Not overly flashy, 49ers rookie wide receiver Taysir Mack is a long shot to make the roster his rookie season, but elongated development may produce more down the road.

It’s not a good year to be a San Francisco 49ers undrafted free-agent wide receiver, at least in terms of actually having a chance to make the 53-man roster in 2022.

Yet that’s exactly what former Pitt wideout Taysir Mack is looking at after going undrafted this year, then being one of the 14 UDFA players the Niners brought aboard shortly after day three of the 2022 NFL Draft.

At a lean and lanky 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, Mack enjoyed some modest yet consistent production over his four years with the Panthers after transferring from Indiana, serving as a reliable go-to target for now-Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett.

Taysir Mack Receiving & Rushing Table
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And while there may not be a ton that stands out about him, some further development for the 23-year-old first-year pro might end up resulting in a decent NFL career, should he continue on an upward trajectory.

It likely won’t happen in regular-season settings in year one, at least not with San Francisco. But let’s play the long game and see what’s in store for Mack in 2022.

What there is to like about 49ers WR Taysir Mack

There are three elements worth pointing out about Mack’s profile from NFL Draft Buzz, namely his strong hands, willingness to be a blocker and how Pitt used him to run deep routes over the middle.

Those are traits that’d be endearing to any pro-level offense, and getting Mack into a position where he can at least make an impact even if the ball isn’t going his way will surely aid in his prospects for hanging around in the NFL.

Like another 49ers wide receiver, Jauan Jennings, Mack might have to start off by being a depth target only who either serves as a decoy or a blocker.

Fortunately for him, he does this well enough.

Why Taysir Mack doesn’t wind up impressing 49ers in 2022

As noted, Mack does have that lean frame and good height for the position, but there isn’t exactly a lot of room for him to add functional weight, which will call into question his ability to withstand the regular rigors and physicality he’ll experience at this level.

Despite lining up all over the formation for the Panthers, Mack’s slim frame might relegate him solely to slot duties. And while having a “big slot” option is never a bad deployment idea, his route tree is fairly limited.

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And with a 4.47 40-yard time from his pro day, we’re talking about merely OK speed and nothing overly spectacular to separate him from the rest of the pack.

Chances Taysir Mack makes 49ers’ 53-man roster

The Niners already have a stocked wide receiver room entering 2022, headlined by All-Pro Deebo Samuel and supported by players all but guaranteed to make the cut like Brandon Aiyuk, Ray-Ray McCloud, Jauan Jennings and fellow rookie Danny Gray, a third-round draft pick.

There is some fluidity after that, likely competing for a sixth and final spot on the wide receiver depth chart.

To have a chance, Mack will also have to vastly outperform another undrafted rookie, Tay Martin, as well as established veterans like Marcus Johnson, KeeSean Johnson and Malik Turner, which won’t be easy.

San Francisco likely understands this, though, and realizes Mack’s best shot to make an impact with the team could be in 2023 or later when the ranks at the back end of the roster are cut thin.

As such, the likely play for Mack this season won’t be on the 53-man roster but as a top candidate for practice-squad duty his rookie year, hopefully then using that experience as a segway into a depth role next season and beyond.

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