Undrafted rookie linebacker Segun Olubi has a long way to go to make the 49ers’ 53-man roster in year one, but his hybrid abilities should help.
On the other, the UDFA faces an arduous task of trying to survive in a regular-season role.
In fairness, Olubi was probably a long shot to be drafted, likely one of those fringe prospects who might receive an undrafted free-agent contract and stay with a team through training camp and the preseason. That’s it.
However, some of Olubi’s traits and abilities could point him in the right direction towards hanging around a little while longer.
|2020||San Diego State||MWC||SR||LB||5||5||10||15||0.5||0.0||1||71||71.0||1||0||0||0|
|*2021||San Diego State||MWC||SR||LB||14||28||24||52||2.5||1.0||0||0||0||1||0||2|
|Career||San Diego State||33||34||67||3.0||1.0||1||71||71.0||1||1||0||2|
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound defender does have a decent physique for an off-ball linebacker and someone who can make plays in space. And he has some ranginess, too, which he’ll need to make a dent at the pro level.
Can he do so in year one? Niner Noise takes a deeper look.
Why Segun Olubi does enough to impress 49ers in rookie year
A bit undersized for the traditional linebacker mold, Olubi is much closer to the hybrid backer common in today’s pass-happy NFL.
As far as coverage is concerned, his 4.45 40-yard time at his pro day suggests he can keep pace with many a wide receiver and not just running backs and tight ends, although that frame could also work against him a bit when facing off against bigger bodies.
While there’s not a ton out there as far as scouting reports are concerned, this pre-NFL Draft breakdown of Olubi from Sons of Montezuma is encouraging:
"Now the range of skill that Segun possesses will try to translate into the NFL game where he will now be focused on becoming an everyday linebacker.Which is ideal for him in our minds. The trend in NFL defenses is now turning to more of a pass defensive oriented game. The kind of linebacker that can cover a tight-end and still have the run stopping ability is a huge plus. Segun has all of that."
If Olubi truly shows that hybrid-type skill set, he’ll have a chance.
Why Segun Olubi has a tough time making a dent with 49ers
The numbers don’t favor the undrafted rookie, at least as far as body count goes on the Niners’ offseason roster.
San Francisco already has a quality trio of starting-caliber backers, including All-Pro Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw and Azeez Al-Shaair, and there’s probably only room for one, maybe two more, likely those spots going to veterans like Oren Burks and Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles based on their special teams prowess.
Instead, Olubi will likely be seeing plenty of third-string reps with other depth linebackers such as Jeremiah Gemmel, Marcelino McCrary-Ball and Curtis Robinson.
Even if Olubi winds up shining above that final trio, it’s probably not going to be enough for him to scratch the 53-man roster.
Chances Segun Olubi makes 49ers’ 53-man roster in 2022
Whatever the upside Olubi possesses, the reality is he has to push out a player like Flannigan-Fowles at the bare minimum.
Barring injuries to other linebackers, there’s no way the rookie overtakes someone like Burks, considering the 49ers’ offseason priority to upgrade special teams, and even that would have to come in the wake of outperforming the remaining cast of depth linebackers, too.
The likeliest of outcomes, at least as far as Olubi sticking around with the Niners in some capacity, is on the practice squad where he can hopefully wait for San Francisco’s depth chart to thin out a bit in upcoming seasons.
Until then, Olubi is one of those players who’ll likely see some time late in preseason games where he can hopefully show enough signs of why he’s worth keeping around.